Emory Report
March 5, 2007
Volume 59, Number 22

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March 5, 2007
Emory ranks first in survey of commercialized research

BY holly korschun

A recent report released by the Association of University Technology Managers ranked Emory first in commercialization revenue in 2005 among reporting universities, with more than $585 million in licensing revenue. That year Emory sold its future royalties from the Emory-discovered HIV/AIDS drug Emtriva to Gilead Sciences and Royalty Pharma for a one-time payment of $525 million. Emtriva, along with another Emory-invented HIV/AIDS drug, Epivir, is among the most commonly used HIV/AIDS therapies, in combination with other drugs.

Emory also created four start-up companies in 2005, executed 30 licenses, filed 54 new patent applications, received issuance of 17 U.S. patents, and had total research spending of $345.7 million. Over the past 15 years commercialized Emory research discoveries have resulted in revenues in excess of $720 million to the University.

“Part of the mission of Emory is to create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in the service of humanity, and our technology transfer program does exactly that,” said Todd Sherer, director of Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer. “Our robust pipeline includes world-class products in all stages of development and regulatory approval, and will continue to ensure that outstanding discoveries from our faculty become available for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, as well as other consumer needs.”

The most widely used drugs for HIV/AIDS, diagnostic tests for genetic disorders, a technology to improve angioplasty, and imaging software for diagnosing cardiovascular disease are among Emory discoveries now commercially available for patients and physicians. And dozens more Emory-discovered products are on their way to the marketplace. Emory’s successful technology transfer program, formed in the mid 1980s, has become one of the nation’s leading programs for guiding technology developed in the laboratory — through the patenting and licensing process — to the marketplace and into the hands of consumers.

The Bayh-Dole Act, passed by Congress in 1980, was aimed at stimulating investment in and commercialization of scientific inventions from universities. Under this law, universities are allowed to take ownership of inventions made at their institutions using federal funding, provided they assume the responsibility and expense to diligently pursue commercialization of the invention. In return, the university is entitled to any revenues it receives from licensing these inventions, but the university must return the proceeds to scientific research and education and share a portion of the funds with the inventors.
Emory continues to return the funds it receives from its technology transfer successes back into a variety of programs in research and science education.

“A large proportion of recent royalties, including those from Emtriva, are being used to implement the relevant components of Emory’s new strategic plan, which includes faculty recruitment, financial aid, and new initiatives in predictive health, global health, neurosciences, and computational and life sciences,” said Mike Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration at Emory. “Technology transfer proceeds also will help fund a new Emory School of Medicine education building, psychology building, chemistry building addition, and additional research space in pediatrics.”