December 22, 2010

Missouri universities generate new patents, royalties

Jefferson City - The University of Missouri System and Washington University generated more than $16 million in royalties and license fees in 2009, according to a new report by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). The Chronicle of Higher Education published a summary of the report on Monday.

The four campuses of the University of Missouri System generated $10.4 million in royalties and other payments for rights to academic inventions, five start-up businesses and 48 new patent applications. Washington University earned $6.3 million, created two start-up businesses and filed 106 new patent applications during that period. Universities nationwide received a total of $1.8 billion.

The Association of University Technology Managers conducts the survey each year. "The report is intended to help measure the impact universities have on their communities," says Chrys Gwellem, who coordinated the survey for AUTM. "In FY2009 alone, 181 institutions formed 596 startup companies. Seventy-three percent - or 435 of them -- were located in the licensing institution's home state."

Mike Nichols leads the Research and Enterprise Development Office for the UM System. He says the four campuses of the University of Missouri have active research and development programs that nurture new scientific and technological enterprises.

Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla developed a glass-based coating that helps control rust and strengthen rebar used in construction. The university licensed the technology to a company in St. Louis, which is partnering with a Rolla firm to manufacture the coating commercially.

"The goal is to take innovations like this out of the laboratory, team up with partners and make an economic impact," says Keith Strassner, director of technology transfer and economic development at Missouri S&T.

Washington University generated its largest research-based revenue stream in 2009 from a medical test that has become standard procedure in emergency rooms around the world for diagnosing patients with chest pain. Doctors administer the troponin test, developed at Washington University, to help diagnose heart attacks, to evaluate heart injury, and to distinguish chest pain that may be due to other causes.

Evan Kharasch, vice chancellor for research at Washington University, says the troponin test is more sensitive and specific than previous methods to diagnose chest pain, resulting in quicker and more targeted treatment.

Kharasch says Washington University's Office of Technology Management serves Missouri and the world through innovation and entrepreneurship. "Commercialization of our faculty's inventions and innovations helps to create jobs, grow the economy, and improve the health and daily lives of millions of people," Kharasch says.