Emory Report
September 6, 2005
Volume 58, Number 2


Emory Report homepage  

September 6 , 2005
New matching fund meant to spur outside investment
in research

BY holly korschun

Emory has announced a new Investor Challenge Fund that will match funding from qualified investors who invest in technologies discovered by Emory scientists. The eligible technologies, including promising drug candidates, medical devices and diagnostic tests, will have the potential for commercialization through licensing to start-up companies.

A total of $500,000 in matching investment funds will be available each year through the fund, which became available on Sept. 1. Potential investors will conduct their own due diligence on technologies in which they have interest.

“Emory is challenging investors to look closely at the discoveries being made in the University’s laboratories and to identify promising investment opportunities,” said Todd Sherer, director of technology transfer. “This fund allows Emory to participate at yet one more stage along the pathway to commercialization of University research.”

Emory already provides proof-of-concept funding, in-house services for licensing new technologies, assistance for new start-ups in the creation process, and some physical space for new start-ups. The University also participates as a limited partner in venture capital funds, such as the newly created $3.5 million Georgia Venture Partners Fund established by Emory, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia.

“By supporting private investment in Emory’s research, we can help enssure that the work of our biomedical scientists reaches patients as quickly as possible,” said Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs. “Although the government provides the majority of research funding for universities, we believe industry partnerships can be another important source of funding to drive life-saving research.”

“This new matching fund will allow us to reach out to industry partners in a way that has not been available,” said Vice President for Research Frank Stout. “We believe this kind of opportunity demonstrates Emory’s commitment to helping translate the pioneering discoveries in our laboratories into products that will benefit the greater good.”

The goal of Emory’s technology transfer program is to bring the results of biomedical research more rapidly to the public through assisting with technology commercialization. Tech transfer provides additional funding sources to support continued research, and partnerships with industry contribute knowledge, equipment and technology that might not be available to individual researchers.

Transferring university research to industry also spurs economic growth in Atlanta, Georgia and the Southeast by creating new companies, new jobs and new funding streams. The National Institutes of Health’s recently released research roadmap cites expanded relationships among academia, industry and government as a necessary component for translating laboratory discoveries into usable therapies and technologies.

“Technology transfer gives us the opportunity to turn groundbreaking research discoveries into products that improve the quality of life and save lives,” Sherer said. “These discoveries may not reach the public without a strong commitment by the University to sound technology transfer practices. In addition, licensing and royalty income received by Emory is used to support research and education.”

Emory has made great strides in tech transfer, launching some 33 start-up companies in the past decade. The University currently has 21 licensed therapeutic products in various stages of drug discovery, clinical development or regulatory approval.