Seeking to address an imbalance in U.S. medicine, two dozen medical schools have opened or are set to open, according to today’s article in the education section of the New York Times. On a related note, the latest survey by the Association of University Technology Managers in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education article, reports that universities generated more than $2.3-billion in licensing revenue for 154 colleges. “Academic inventions in medicine, plant genetics, and alternative energy helped to spur the creation of a record 543 new university spinoff companies in the 2008 fiscal year,” writes Goldie Blumenstyk.
For example, Johns Hopkins University, which created a record (for that institution) of 12 spinoff companies in 2008, including one called Amplimmune, is developing biologics drugs that train the immune system to kill cancers. Columbia University, which ranked third in revenues with $135-million, said licenses on 10 to 15 inventions accounted for the majority of its income. “Most of the revenues industrywide come from the life sciences, and we were no different,” said Orin Herskowitz, vice president for intellectual property and technology transfer.
Although Columbia has reaped hundreds of millions in the past from a single set of patents widely used by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, Mr. Herskowitz said the university’s philosophy is to “move as many things out of the lab as possible and see what sticks.” Consequently, the proliferation of these companies is driving an urgent need for global cooperation of research with the goal of not just being able to compete better, but also to offer solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. As Nigel Thrift, the vice chancellor of the University of Warwick, in Britain, wrote in her commentary for the Chronicle and posted on Valentines Day:
“Universities, whether they like it or not, are the world’s primary intellectual firefighters. But for all the entirely laudable commitments to global challenges that are a commonplace in American and British universities’ internationalization strategies, too much of the international cooperation around research and teaching still seems to be concerned with strengthening each institution’s competitive advantage. Surely our grandchildren will not thank us for this desiccated view. The world is faced with some truly terrifying dilemmas around climate change, economic inequality, institutionalized violence, and numerous cultural misunderstandings. And, at least in some cases, we cannot wait much longer to find the solutions.”
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The Chronicle of Higher Education
University Inventions Sparked Record Number of Companies in 2008
February 15, 2010
By Goldie Blumenstyk
Academic inventions in medicine, plant genetics, and alternative energy helped to spur the creation of a record 543 new university spinoff companies in the 2008 fiscal year, while generating more than $2.3-billion in licensing revenue for 154 institutions and their inventors, according to a survey released on Monday.
To view this entire article visit www.chronicle.com