Technology commercialization

Jay Schrankler

The Minnesota DailyâÄôs Nov. 24 article âÄúU struggles to market technology,âÄù creates an unfortunate misperception about the efforts of the Office for Technology Commercialization (OTC) to commercialize the UniversityâÄôs intellectual property. Contrary to the articleâÄôs headline, those efforts have been quite successful, as evidenced by results from the most recent fiscal year. Technology commercialization revenue increased nearly 10 percent to a total of $95 million. Excluding royalties from Ziagen âÄî the AIDS drug marketed by GlaxoSmithKline âÄî revenue still grew by 11 percent to $8.6 million. These results should be considered against the steady stream of dismal business news during the same period, when the Dow plummeted 25 percent. Another key metric is invention disclosures from faculty and staff, which increased by 12 percent. This is a clear indication that faculty have confidence in our commercialization efforts. Although we utilize a much more selective process than has been the case in the past, the number of patent filings increased by 25 percent. The number of revenue-generating license agreements âÄî a good measure of commercialization productivity âÄî showed a healthy increase of 9 percent. The article correctly reported that venture capital markets have been extremely challenging in recent years, making the formation of University-based start up companies more difficult. But we also license technology to start up companies independent of the University, and over the past two years this dual approach has resulted in the formation of 11 new companies. In fact, OTC is now being sought out by peer institutions as a benchmark for best practices. Recent visitors include the University of Nebraska, Michigan State University and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Rather than âÄústrugglingâÄù to market the UniversityâÄôs intellectual property, all of the above facts show that OTCâÄôs efforts are delivering results and have the University well positioned for the future. Jay Schrankler, Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization