A recent analysis shows that the University of Iowa has suffered a larger drop in licensing revenue than almost all other U.S. universities in recent years. Income from UI inventions was at $43 million in 2009; last year it was $6 million, and it increased only slightly to $7.3 million in 2012.
According to Richard Bendis, CEO of Philadelphia-based nonprofit Innovation America, the sharp 2009-2011 decline came as all universities were hit by a “perfect storm” of destabilized state and federal funding. For UI, however, that was made all the more painful with the expiration of a major patent that helped create 16 drugs to combat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other chronic conditions. The patent had been licensed to 120 different parties.
David Hensley, interim associate vice president for economic development at UI, says that to keep licensing revenue flowing, universities must invest in both technologies that hit the market fast and those that take years to be realized.
One potential project the school hopes to cash in on is a collaboration between researchers at UI and Iowa State — a bone implant technology that allows surgeons to pinpoint missing bone fragments. Applications could include repairing bone damage from gunshots or explosives, and treating bone cancer.
If the product is a hit, the universities’ royalty revenue could fund a whole generation of research and start-ups, even if federal funding falls short. “When you hit a home run,” says Zev Sunleaf, executive director at the UI Research Foundation, “you run with it as long as you can.”
Source: The Des Moines Register
Posted November 28th, 2012 under Tech Transfer