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Research Communications

Licensing revenue at an all time high 

Innovation Center also yields record impact

Sept. 18, 2008

Research discoveries at Ohio University are making a record impact on the regional economy and the marketplace, according to two new reports.

The university announced its highest level of licensing revenue — $5.9 in fiscal 2008, nearly double the fiscal 2006 figure of $3.2 million. In addition, Ohio University’s Innovation Center contributed $15 million in labor income and 386 jobs to the region in 2007 — its biggest economic impact to date. Many of those jobs are in energy and biotechnology firms that stemmed from faculty research.

Forbes
magazine recently ranked Ohio University fourth in the country for the amount of license revenue it generates in relation to its research funding based on 2006 data from the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). The university had a 13 percent return on investment, according to the study.

About 90 percent of that revenue stems from a license for a 1988 research discovery at the Edison Biotechnology Institute. The work led to the development of a drug, marketed by Pfizer, for people with acromegaly, a form of gigantism that creates excessive growth of bones and organs in adults.

The university also reported income from commercial licenses for several other discoveries, including an algae bioreactor and technologies for air pollution control, carbon mitigation and renewable biofuels. Those inventions originated from the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

“Ohio University is a leader in moving innovations from the research laboratory to the marketplace,” said Rathindra Bose, vice president for research and dean of the graduate college at Ohio University. “Our robust licensing revenue reflects years of hard work by faculty and staff committed to contributing to the knowledge economy.”

Ohio University is continuing to build its research commercialization pipeline, said Lisa Rooney, director of the Technology Transfer Office. The institution has doubled its number of patent applications, from 15 in fiscal 2007 to 32 in fiscal 2008.

“The state of Ohio is looking to its universities to cultivate innovations in fields such as medicine and clean energy,” Rooney said. “Ohio University is actively meeting that challenge by commercializing research discoveries that can have a positive impact on society.”

The Innovation Center, a business incubator, plays a key role in research commercialization, working closely with the Technology Transfer Office to help researchers launch businesses based on new life science and energy technologies.

In 2007, the Innovation Center marked its biggest economic impact on the region to date, according to a new study by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Six businesses housed in the incubator created an estimated 386 jobs and $15.2 million in labor income. The Innovation Center businesses also generated an estimated $1.5 million in state and local tax revenues.

Businesses included in the study were Diagnostic Hybrids Inc., a cell culture company; American Hydrogen Corp., which develops hydrogen fuel cells; Environenergy, an energy consultant; Media Brite, a Web design firm; Results OnShore, which offers an alternative to business processing done offshore; and Third Sun Solar and Wind Power, a renewable energy systems dealer. The first three companies are based on Ohio University biotechnology and clean energy research or related faculty expertise.

“These companies pay higher-than-average wages, which diversifies the economy from university, government, health-care and retail jobs,” Innovation Center Director Linda Clark said.

The state of Ohio recently recognized the Innovation Center’s record of economic development by admitting it into its Thomas Edison Technology Incubator program, which potentially will provide $100,000 to $200,000 in new funding annually to the business incubator. The Innovation Center, the only Edison member in Southeast Ohio, is part of a vibrant network of 10 state incubators the Ohio Department of Development supports.

In addition, Clark is recognized as a national expert on incubating business start-ups. Chinese government officials have invited her to the fast-growing city of Dailin next month to share the Ohio University business incubation model.

“The university has championed the Innovation Center for 25 years because it needs a healthy, vibrant economy around the university to attract faculty and students and to attract spouses of faculty,” Clark said. “It benefits the university to encourage economic development.

By Andrea Gibson

Related links:

Office of the Vice President for Research: http://www.research.ohiou.edu/
Ohio University Innovation Center: http://www.innovationcenter.ohiou.edu/

Contacts: Director of Research Communications Andrea Gibson, (740) 597-2166, gibsona@ohio.edu.