It’s not often that a service-oriented unit is able to celebrate audacious achievement, but Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization is doing just that. The Center ended fiscal year 2014 with 101 transactions with industry partners, nearly 20 more than the record total, which was set in fiscal year 2013.
“In my nearly 20-year history in academic technology commercialization, I have not worked anywhere where we even came close to this level of deal flow,” said Alan Bentley, assistant vice chancellor of technology transfer and intellectual property protection, “and we accomplished this AFTER tightening up the definition of what constitutes a bona fide licensing transaction.”
Several years ago, to be consistent with national counting standards, CTTC stopped counting transactions with an expected lifetime earning potential below a certain threshold toward its annual licensing totals. While the number of licenses executed is an important indication of programmatic success, even more telling is the type and quality of licenses. Some transactions, such as research materials licenses and end-user software licenses, create short-term value. Others, namely patent and software licenses with royalty obligations on product sales, offer opportunity for long-term value creation.
In FY14, not only did Vanderbilt’s total licensing numbers reach new heights, but CTTC also saw a rise in the number of high value potential, royalty-bearing licenses. The real benefits (of the latter) will be realized 10 years down the line when the technologies licensed in FY14 result in products on the market. These products will generate recurring revenues that are distributed to the inventors and their designated schools, departments, centers and institutes, all to support our academic research mission and to reward Vanderbilt inventors for their contributions to new innovations that impact society.
To learn more about our FY14 metrics, see the latest issue of our newsletter Driving Innovation Forward, featuring imaging institute researcher Will Grissom, Ph.D., assistant professor biomedical engineering.