Among Ohio publics, UA tops in tech transfer


The University of Akron produced more revenue in technology licensing in 2007 than any other year in its history, bringing in $6.33 million - more than all other Ohio public universities, according to a newly released survey by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). Second in line was Ohio University with $4.41 million, followed by Ohio State University with $1.25 million.

This licensing amount gives UA a ranking of seventh in the nation among public and private U.S. universities without medical schools, just behind such notables as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology and the University of Texas. When normalized with respect to research expenditures, UA ranks No. 1 in the country. This is the first time UA has achieved a top national standing in licensing efficiency.

A 2007 report supported by the National Science Foundation identified UA as one of 10 exemplars for technology transfer, commercialization and industry partnership.

Engine for growth

"Our faculty should be commended for this extraordinary national recognition in technology transfer," says UA President Dr. Luis Proenza. "Our researchers are constantly developing new knowledge and applying it in the market environment, thereby creating new opportunities for employment and capital formation - key anchors for urban revitalization and regional economic development."

Technologies such as a polymer coating for cardiovascular stents developed by distinguished professor of polymer science and chemistry Dr. Joseph Kennedy and his research team, and a specialized polyimide invented by Dr. Stephen Cheng, dean of the UA College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering and Dr. Frank Harris, emeritus distinguished professor of polymer science, represent the top revenue generators for 2007. These technologies were licensed to Boston Scientific and Nitto Denko, respectively.

Advances in pharmaceuticals

Dr. George Newkome, UA vice president for research and president of the University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF), anticipates that the university and UARF will see continued tech transfer success in coming years with the promise of licensing such technologies as silver-based pharmaceutical candidates to treat infections and cancer, developed by UA's Dr. Wiley Youngs, professor of chemistry and biosciences. Newkome notes that this particular research was highlighted in AUTM's newly released licensing activity survey report for fiscal year 2007.

"Emerging technologies such as Dr. Youngs' silver compounds and Drs. Joseph Kennedy and Mukerrem Cakmak's artificial pancreas give us strong indication that we will continue to be successful with our technology licensing efforts," Newkome says.

The Association of University Technology Managers is a nonprofit organization with an international membership of more than 3,000 technology managers and business executives. AUTM members - managers of intellectual property, one of the most active growth sectors of the global economy - represent more than 300 universities, research institutions, teaching hospitals as well as numerous businesses and government organizations. 

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