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— A report from the Association of University Technology
Managers has ranked UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
third in the country in value of the inventions created by faculty members for 2004, behind only the University of California System, counted as a single entity in second place, and New York University.
"There are 300 different universities that have technology transfer offices, and to be among the top three is a real honor for Wisconsin," said Andrew Cohn, public relations manager for WARF. "We are competing with Harvard, with Stanford, with all of these other great universities, and holding our own—in fact, doing better than holding our own."
The annual survey had 164 participants, measuring university technology development in terms of royalties and other income generated by inventions. WARF was credited for more than 200 new license deals and more than 300 new patent applications in 2004, and $47.5 million in licensing revenues. WARF has also estimated that more than $1 billion in products were sold last year that were generated from UW research and licensing deals, with over 940 active license agreements around the world.
"Having dealt with a lot of different university technology licensing groups, they're one of the more savvy ones," said Michael Zwick, vice president of business development for NeoClone
, a UW licensee making antibodies for diagnostics and research labs. Zwick credited the openness of WARF in coordinating deals NeoClone and the UW, such as doing development work for the University at a discounted rate in exchange for being able to later negotiate the licensing of those same antibody sets for the mass market.
"With some of the other, more established universities, it's a great model and they understand it," Zwick said, "and there's others where it takes three or four months just to start the discussion because they just don't understand how it works."
Cohn said he expects further developments to come from UW and WARF in the next year, in areas such as nanotechnology, engineering and stem-cell research, but also cautioned that he feels the state Legislature needs to take care when considering bills that, for example, could restrict or ban stem-cell and cellular cloning research.
"We need to know that the Legislature supports the university," Cohn said, "and doesn't pass legislation that restricts the ability of scientists to explore a wide variety of scientific inquiry that's available out there."