About the Institute
The Edison Biotechnology Institute (EBI), established in 1984, is both an interdisciplinary biomedical research institute of Ohio University and an economic development organization dedicated to assisting bioscience companies and entrepreneurs in southeastern Ohio. EBI is one of the nation’s few research entities established in a university setting that includes technology development and commercialization as well as business assistance as part of its mission.
As a research institute, EBI has a dual mission:
• Basic discovery research and development of new technology and
• The transfer of technology to the private sector for economic benefit in Ohio
We seek to understand the molecular/genetic basis of diseases that disproportionately affect the people of Appalachian Ohio and that also are major worldwide challenges. EBI investigators pursue internationally recognized research programs in:
• Growth disorders
• Diabetes and obesity
• Infectious diseases
Through our increased understanding of these diseases, our goal is to develop diagnostics and therapeutics for health care.
As an economic development organization, EBI seeks to develop venture-ready companies that will contribute to a growing biosciences cluster in southeastern Ohio and provide jobs for the region’s residents. To accomplish this goal, EBI provides business assistance that includes development of business plans and funding strategies, access to capital, and advice on corporate strategy and technology commercialization pathways.
The technology upon which the institute was founded— the microinjection of exogenous genes into laboratory mice, resulting in the production of transgenic animals—was pioneered in the early 1980s by an Ohio University research team led by Thomas Wagner. This team made worldwide headlines in 1981 by successfully producing the first ever animal expressing a transgene.
The Ohio University Board of Trustees established us as an institute in 1984. Our organization was founded as one of the six original technology centers funded through the Ohio Department of Development's Thomas Edison Program, a nationally recognized program promoting technology based economic development. EBI continues its affiliation with this program as a part of the Edison Incubator Program and as a regional affiliate of BioOhio.
In 1987, senior scientist John Kopchick, nationally known for his study of growth hormone genes and growth biology, and graduate student Wen Chen developed growth hormone antagonist technology that was licensed to a start-up company, Sensus. Successful clinical trials were followed by acquisition of Sensus by Pharmacia and then Pfizer. The antagonist technology was approved for use as a treatment for acromegaly in 2003, and Ohio University began receiving royalties later that year. To date, SOMAVERT® royalty payments to Ohio University and its inventors have exceeded $73 million. EBI is the top source of the university’s licensing revenue.
The Edison Biotechnology Institute is supported by the Ohio Department of Development, the Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar Endowment, Ohio University, federal agencies, foundations, corporate sponsored research agreements, royalty revenues, and gifts.
If you are interested in giving to support our academic, research, or economic development missions, please contact Ohio University Advancement at 740.593.0217.
Edison Biotechnology Institute
Konneker Research Center
172 Water Tower Drive, Building 25, The Ridges
Athens, Ohio 45701
A map of The Ridges can be found here.