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University Research Helped Launch 671 Companies in 2011, Reports AUTM

August 29, 2012

University licensing and commercialization activity remained steady in 2011, with modest increases in most areas of technology transfer activity, according to the most recent edition of the Association of University Technology Managers' (AUTM) U.S. Licensing Activity Survey. AUTM released a preview of its 2011 survey results this week, with a full report to follow later this year.

Deals with existing small companies increased 24 percent and the number of licenses executed grew by 14 percent, ranking among the few data points that showed significant increases over 2011. The number of new commercial products created with university technologies fell by 10 percent to 591.

Participating universities and colleges (including affiliated hospitals and research centers) reported 671 startup companies were formed based on their institution's research in 2011, up 3 percent from the previous year. Of those startups, 487 listed the institution's home state as their primary place of business.

The survey results are limited to the 186 U.S. institutions that participated in the study. Respondents include 157 universities, 28 hospitals and research institutes and one third-party technology investment firm. Though the results provide solid data that commercialization activity has remained relatively steady, the numbers cannot be considered comprehensive.

Among the participating institutions, Northwestern University leads in licensing revenue, with $191.5 million in 2011. Northwestern has led the list for several years due to its development of the Pfizer drug Lyrica. The University of California System leads in number of startups with 58, followed by the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. Those institutions also lead in patents issued and new patent applications.

Highlights from this year's survey are available on AUTM's site, along with institution-specific data from the survey appendix. Non-members must pay a charge for access to the appendix, though a sortable table based on the data has been prepared by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Note that the Chronicle's totals are based only on the institutions included in their table, omitting some university hospitals and research institutions. Some universities also have asked that their data remain confidential.

The complete AUTM U.S. Licensing Activity Survey: FY2011 and the AUTM Canadian Licensing Activity Survey: FY2011 will be published in December.

higher ed, commercialization