UGA licensing and startup programs combine as Innovation Gateway

March 3, 2015

In a move to streamline the path from laboratory or field to market, the University of Georgia has merged its technology licensing and startup programs to create a combined unit called Innovation Gateway.

“Combining what were previously known as the Technology Commercialization Office and the Georgia BioBusiness Center into a single entity, the Innovation Gateway, will enhance the creation of new innovative companies and products based on UGA research, and ultimately, improve the quality of life in our state and around the world,” said UGA Vice President for Research David Lee.

“The optimal approach for moving a discovery from the lab to the market can vary depending on the type of technology and stage of development,” said Derek Eberhart, Innovation Gateway director.

“In some cases, the best route for a promising technology is licensing to an established company, while in other instances, the best way to nurture the nascent technology is launching a startup company. As Innovation Gateway, we can more effectively and efficiently help researchers and companies navigate either of these pathways and ensure that groundbreaking discoveries emerging from UGA research will reach their fullest commercial potential,” he said.

The spectrum of licensing services provided by Innovation Gateway include evaluating UGA inventions for patentability and commercial potential, protecting intellectual property (IP) rights, negotiating IP agreements, and facilitating strategic partnerships with industry. For UGA technologies that proceed through the startup route, Innovation Gateway accelerates the early growth of startups through access to space in its incubator, startup support services and seed funding, and mentoring through partnership with the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Ventures program.

As the state’s most comprehensive research institution, UGA is recognized for its diverse intellectual property portfolio. New vaccines, plant varieties, commodity chemicals production methodology and educational tools are among the products and processes originating from the university’s research enterprise, resulting in 28 new products in 2014 alone. Overall, more than 525 products based on UGA research have reached the marketplace through partnerships with industry.

UGA consistently ranks among the top universities for licensing activity. According to the most recent data from the Association of University Technology Managers, UGA ranked among the top 5 U.S. universities for total licenses and option agreements executed for the 7th consecutive year, and in the top 20 U.S. public universities in licensing revenue for the 10th consecutive year. UGA’s diverse portfolio generated $6.6 million in licensing revenue in 2014.

UGA’s startup activity also is increasing. Five new startup companies were formed and four new resident companies moved into the startup incubator in 2014, adding to the more than 130 startups based on UGA technologies and research that have been formed since 1972.

Eberhart noted that UGA, long-recognized for its agriculture-related technologies and companies, is seeing increasing growth in biomedical, engineering and “green” technologies and companies.

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