20 Nov WiSys to patent Marshfield Clinic discoveries
Marshfield, Wis. – An agreement struck to accelerate the transformation of healthcare research into commercial products and services has created visions of a “medical discovery triangle” connecting Milwaukee, Madison, and the Marshfield Clinic.
Marking a milestone in the drive to facilitate scientific collaboration and technology transfer in the state, the Marshfield Clinic has formally joined forces with WiSys Technology Foundation, Inc., the patenting and licensing organization of the University of Wisconsin System.
“This agreement marks a significant advancement towards marshalling the creative powers of two great institutions for the benefit of humanity,” said Dr. Carl Ulrich, president of Marshfield Clinic.
The clinic, a private medical system of 736 physicians in 41 sites, spends about $25 million on research annually, and its 30 research scientists investigate topics in human genetics, agricultural health and safety, bioinformatics, epidemiology, and others.
WiSys, in its first collaborative agreement outside the UW System, will provide patenting and licensing services to Marshfield Clinic scientists and facilitate collaboration between researchers at both institutions.
The partnership is designed to help the Marshfield Clinic follow other institutions known for creating tech-based spin-offs, including UW-Madison and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
The UW System has about 200 researchers working on discoveries in therapeutic molecules, medical imaging technologies, equipment to help the disabled, and tools for medical research.
“With heavy concentrations of talent in Madison and the Milwaukee metro area and right here in central Wisconsin, today’s agreement could well be a first step in forming a `Wisconsin medical discovery triangle,’” said Kevin Reilly, UW System president.
“Wisconsin is well positioned to become the national leader in medical and biomedical research and development, and today we take one large step closer to that vision,” Reilly said.
Jim Leonhart, executive vice president of the Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association, said the partnership not only will produce healthcare advances that “reach far beyond Wisconsin’s borders,” it also will accelerate the continuing maturation of the state’s $8 billion biosciences industry.
Those sentiments were echoed by Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. Still cautioned that the agreement may not produce business start ups overnight, but he said the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and WiSys perform patent and licensing services as well or better than any academic technology transfer office in the nation.
Companies created to commercialize the research of Marshfield Clinic will likely contribute to the economic development of the state, according to Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF.
Gulbrandsen said that companies spun off from university research are typically located in close proximity to the lead researchers.
“Businesses go where the scientist is,” he said, adding that WARF has equity in 37 companies based on intellectual property from UW-Madison, 35 of which are located in Wisconsin.
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