A report released last week by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) 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 University is to create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in the service of humanity, and our technology transfer program does exactly that," says 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 University discoveries now commercially available for patients and physicians. And dozens more Emory-discovered products are in the pipeline 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,” says Michael 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.”
"Emory is extremely fortunate to have the vision for a comprehensive and wide-ranging strategic plan, and the funds to carry it out as well," says Emory president James W. Wagner. "University technology transfer, when used responsibly, can provide an additional source of funding that can further strengthen and fuel a university's research and educational enterprise. We are confident that the science portions of Emory's new strategic plan, funded in part by the discoveries of our eminent scientists, will result in a new set of research breakthroughs and educational initiatives that will benefit our students and faculty and all of humankind for many years to come."
Emory's technology transfer program has resulted in 16 licensed therapeutic products already in the marketplace and 38 licensed products in various stages of drug discovery, clinical development or regulatory approval. In addition, 37 companies have been started around Emory’s technology, leading to seven publicly traded companies and seven companies selling product on the market.
Start-up companies formed last year based on Emory discoveries included: • Metastatix, Inc., located in Atlanta, is developing small molecule drugs to block a protein on the surface of cancer cells that promotes cancer metastasis. • NeurOp Corp., located in Atlanta, is developing small molecule drugs that can protect brain tissues from damage following stroke and other diseases. • SiGen Pharmaceuticals, located in San Ramon, Calif., is developing therapies that enhance the efficacy of siRNA-bases therapeutics. Existing Emory-based start-up companies and licensees have reached significant milestones over the past two years: • Atherogenics formed a partnership with AstraZeneca valued at $1 billion in fees and milestones alone. The partnership will fuel the development of Atherogenics' lead product, AGI-1067, an anti-atherosclerotic drug currently in a Phase III clinical trial, with results expected in 2007. • GeoVax Labs, Inc., is developing an HIV/AIDS vaccine discovered at the Emory Vaccine Center, located at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. GeoVax last year received funding through a reverse merger with Dauphin Technologies. Human Phase I clinical trials are being conducted through the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN). Additional clinical trials are continuing. • Cougar Biotechnology, a start-up that licensed Emory research on an anti-tumor drug, completed a merger resulting in $47.5 million in gross proceeds. • Along with its British-based start-up company GT Plus, Emory completed sublicensing arrangements with Nutramax Products and Insight Pharmaceuticals for its glutathione anti-oxidant technology. Insight has incorporated this technology into its well-known Sucrets brand and launched a new product -- Sucrets® DEFENSE. The AUTM 2005 survey report can be downloaded from the website: http://www.autm.net/surveys/dsp.Detail.cfm?pid=191