Thanks to the federal Bayh-Doyle Act, passed in 1980, universities now play a major role in turning basic research into products that benefit both the institutions and the public. As a result, offices of technology transfer have sprung up throughout the country.
Todd Sherer, PhD, director of technology transfer, and his staff in Emory's Office of Technology Transfer currently manage more than 800 active technologies developed through basic research.
The goal of Emory's technology transfer program is to bring the results of biomedical research more rapidly to patients by transferring discoveries to the marketplace, as well as to contribute additional sources of revenue for continued research. Research partnerships with industry also can contribute knowledge, equipment and technology that might not be available to individual academic researchers.
"Basic research doesn't often have implications for new products on the market, but when it does, companies can take a product and market it," says Sherer. "And when they do that the money cycles back to the university and fuels the activities that generated that invention in the first place. When that knowledge has potential to benefit society, we have an obligation to transfer that technology so the public can benefit."
A recently released report from the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) ranks Emory University 16th among universities in revenue received from commercializing research discoveries. In fiscal year 2007, the year of the most recent report, Emory received nearly $17.7 million in licensing revenue. In 2008, Emory received more than $19 million in licensing revenue from drugs, diagnostics, devices and consumer products.
Emory's robust product pipeline includes more than 50 products in all stages of development and regulatory approval, with 27 having reached the marketplace and 12 more in human clinical trials.
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