Oregon Health & Science University’s Technology Transfer and Business Development team completed a record number of industry-sponsored research agreements, 118, during fiscal 2011. Those agreements provided more than $12 million in awards for scientists, the highest amount recorded by the university’s research community. In the past five years, industry-sponsored research has resulted in more than $44 million in awards from more than 475 completed agreements.
“The increase in industry collaborations paralleled the expansion of our business development efforts,” said Tim Stout, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., OHSU vice president for Technology Transfer and Business Development.
Stout added that these efforts, which were led by Abhijit Banerjee, Ph.D., M.B.A., “have engaged our research community in active partnerships with industry and, through the research consortium program, our business development team has identified and matched internal expertise, optimizing cooperative resources for potential business partners.”
Stout also noted that in addition to the industry collaboration agreements, the office processed a record number of material transfer agreements (466) and nondisclosure agreements (117). Breaking down the numbers that means the office, which has recently expanded its staff to handle the growth of innovation at the university, processed nearly 750 agreements during the year, averaging about three agreements each business day.
OHSU recognizes the value of commercialization for its technologies and intellectual property with the ultimate goal of bridging the gap between promising research and public benefit. The TTBD office licenses OHSU's intellectual property, links business with OHSU-developed technologies and expertise, negotiates industry research collaborations and launches companies based on the work done at OHSU. Discoveries from OHSU laboratories expand the economy and improve overall health and quality of life.
Among the achievements during the 2011 fiscal year was the creation of three start-up companies based on OHSU research. These companies pushed the total number of OHSU startups to nearly 75 since the early 1970s. In the past five years, an average of nearly four start-up companies per year has developed out of OHSU research. Of the 18 companies that emerged during that time, 15 currently operate in Oregon, bringing new discoveries to market and contributing to the region’s economic development.
The three OHSU startups created in fiscal 2011 are:
- UbiVac CMV – a biotech company that develops therapeutic vaccines to treat cancer. A major hurdle in the development of effective cancer vaccines is to induce a robust immune response against a broad spectrum of tumor antigens. UbiVac CMV's primary technology is a recombinant, replication-deficient cytomegalovirus vaccine vector that it believes will allow for the delivery of numerous tumor antigens simultaneously in a vector with capacity to amplify T cell responses, resulting in a broad spectrum tumor-destructive immune response.
- TomegaVax – a biotech company that will develop novel prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for unmet medical needs in infectious disease and cancer. TomegaVax’s core technology is the spread-deficient cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine vector. This vaccine was initially developed to address human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), one of the greatest global public health crises of the last century. Currently, more than 33 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. In 2009 alone, the disease was responsible for 1.8 million deaths, including 260,000 children. The core technology can be leveraged to develop vaccines for other forms of infectious disease, such as malaria and tuberculosis, as well as to develop novel anticancer vaccines.
- Viti – a biotech company developing tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics for adults and also young children. TB remains the most prevalent infectious disease in the world. More than 40 percent of the world’s population, or about 2 billion people, are infected with Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTb) alone. Young children bear the burden of developing TB disproportionately. Children are not only more susceptible to TB than adults, but also are more likely to develop a severe form of the disease. The worldwide resurgence of multiple drug resistant MTb has underscored the importance of TB diagnostics, especially in the pediatric population where the current TB diagnostics used for adults do not work. Viti's core technologies include a series of novel TB antigens and T cell clones as well as unique expertise in T cell expansion that will contribute to the development of successful TB diagnostics.
Included among the university’s other commercialization successes in the past fiscal year were:
- Twelve U.S. patents issued to OHSU innovators, contributing to a total of more than 70 patents in the past five years.
- One hundred twenty-eight invention disclosures, resulting in more than 600 disclosures for the past five years.
- Forty-nine commercialization agreements for products developed from intellectual property created at and owned by OHSU.
- Four hundred sixty-six material transfer agreements (MTAs) were reached with corporate researchers or researchers at other nonprofit institutions. MTAs are short-term contracts governing the exchange of research materials ranging from cell lines, cultures and proteins to pharmaceuticals, reagents, software and data. Nearly 2,000 MTAs were completed at OHSU in the past five years.
One hundred seventeen nondisclosure, or confidentiality agreements, were signed. Nondisclosure agreements govern how recipients, generally businesses, can use proprietary information provided by an OHSU researcher to protect patent rights. The increase in nondisclosure agreements reflects the open and collaborative nature of OHSU faculty in working with colleagues in industry as well as other academic institutions.
The OHSU Office of Technology Transfer and Business Development compiled the university’s fiscal 2011 results. TTBD supports the university’s research community by collaborating with industry to facilitate research, license promising discoveries and create new companies. For more information about TTBD and Innovation at OHSU, go to www.ohsu.edu/techtransfer.
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