Licenses worth a billion

Survey finds life science patents raking in hefty profits for some academic institutions

Ted Agres(

Demonstrating the economic power of academic research, particularly in the life sciences, US and Canadian universities, teaching hospitals, and research institutions generated nearly $1.1 billion in royalties and fees from discoveries licensed to commercial companies in FY 2001. US universities alone took in more than $827 million from 7,715 licenses. They also received 3,179 new patents and spun-off 402 companies, according to the latest survey from the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM).

Columbia University led the pack at $129.9 million, with the vast majority coming from pharmaceutical patents. Indeed, most of the $511 million amassed by the top-10 grossing US universities was derived from life sciences-related discoveries. Across the board, the 143 US universities responding to the survey averaged $5.8 million each in licensing revenue.

The University of Sherbrooke was Canada's top-grossing institution, with nearly US$10.6 million in royalties. McGill University and its hospital and research centers took in...

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