University technology earned $16 million in 2016

In 2016, Washington University in St. Louis earned an estimated $16 million in royalties and licensing agreements related to tech development. (Image: Thinkstock)

Washington University in St. Louis made great strides in 2016 in developing and licensing innovative technologies to solve real-world problems.

The university earned an estimated $16 million in royalties and licensing agreements related to technology development. Additionally, 108 foreign and U.S. patents were issued to university researchers and a number of startups were formed, including half a dozen based primarily on intellectual property developed at the university.

“It’s exciting to see Washington University technology leave our laboratories and enter the marketplace, where it has the potential to benefit people around the globe,” said Nichole Mercier, managing director of the university’s Office of Technology Management, which oversees commercialization of new technologies. “In the new year, we’ll continue to take key steps to engage faculty inventors and connect with companies that may be interested in our technologies.”

Several of the new startups were created using the university’s Quick Start License, which speeds up and streamlines the process of starting companies that are rooted in university technology. The program allows researchers to focus on developing their ideas and creating new businesses rather than worrying about upfront fees to get technology into the marketplace.

These new startup companies are based primarily on Washington University intellectual property:

Accuronix Therapeutics, established by William Hawkins, MD, the Neidorff Family and Robert C. Packman Professor of Surgery, and Robert Mach, former Britton Chance Professor of Radiology at Washington University. The team is developing a new class of drugs that selectively targets a receptor that is over-expressed on the surface of cancer cells. The technology selectively targets cancer cells, potentially increasing the effectiveness of chemotherapy and reducing toxic side effects.

Applied Particle Technology, founded by Jiaxi Fang and Tandeep S. Chadha, both recent graduates of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and Pratim Biswas, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Professor of Engineering, assistant vice chancellor, and chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering. The company is developing innovative, energy-efficient air filtration systems for use in various settings.

AVVI Biotech, based on technology developed by Herbert W. “Skip” Virgin IV, MD, PhD, the Edward Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Pathology and Immunology, and his collaborator, Dan Barouch at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. AVVI is working to advance the development and commercialization of novel adenoviral vectors to generate vaccines.

Cellatrix LLC, founded by Kareem Azab, assistant professor of radiation oncology. He is developing research tools consisting of 3-D tissue-engineered cultures that better identify effective drugs to treat certain cancers, such as multiple myeloma. This technology also can be used in personalized medicine.

clEAR LLC, co-founded by Nancy Tye-Murray, professor of otolaryngology and of audiology and communication sciences, and Brent Spehar, research scientist in otolaryngology. They developed an auditory training tool to train patients with hearing loss to improve speech recognition. The tool can improve hearing in noisy scenarios such as restaurants and does so in a way that is engaging, entertaining and affordable.

Curtiss Health, founded by Roy Curtiss III, former George William and Irene Koechig Freiberg Professor of Biology Emeritus at Washington University. The company uses a regulated process to weaken live bacteria that are used as vaccines so they are better able to trigger an effective immune response against the same or similar bacteria.

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