April 12, 2007
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
Licensing for New Scientific Discoveries Grows Rapidly at UMDNJ
NEWARK — The pace of new scientific discoveries at UMDNJ and the commercialization of those discoveries has increased dramatically according to statistics released by the university’s Office of Patents and Licensing. Overall, 2006 saw a 38 percent increase in license related activity over the previous year and a 70 percent increase over the number of license and option agreements signed in 2004. Notable among the licensees is a German company that is working on the production of a genetic diagnostics kit for the detection of autism and a local company that is working on novel cancer therapeutics.
“This growth reflects the intense interest that biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies have in working with the university to commercialize the discoveries of UMDNJ scientists,” said Vince Smeraglia, director of Patents and Licensing at UMDNJ. “This commercialization has led to the formation of several spin-off companies, many based in New Jersey.”
The Office of Patents and Licensing at UMDNJ has supported the formation of several new companies, including CellXplore, a company dedicated to breast cancer diagnostics; BioSoftmosis, a molecular imaging company; and Virium, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative therapies to treat cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
The increase in the number of licensing agreements mirrors the growth of research collaborations and activities at UMDNJ. Overall, the university secured $143.2 million in federal research funds in the last fiscal year, placing UMDNJ among the top 10 percent of all schools nationally and first among New Jersey universities.
In 2006, invention disclosure submissions, which are the first step in the patenting process, increased more than 30 percent over the previous calendar year. Among the prototype technologies now being developed at UMDNJ are a novel life-saving intubator for use in pre-natal infants, new treatments for autism and new methods for harvesting placental stem cells.
The UMDNJ Office of Patents and Licensing acts as a liaison between the university, private sector, and other academic institutions. Faculty members are encouraged to disclose to the Office of Patents and Licensing any new processes, products and/or innovations that they deem to have any commercial potential. Disclosure of the technology allows the staff of the Office of Patents and Licensing to aid the inventor/faculty member in protecting as well as improving the technology. After a thorough assessment of the technology by a committee comprised of patent attorneys, seasoned licensing professionals, and other experts in the field, a decision to patent the technology is made. The UMDNJ Office of Patents and Licensing helps foster research partnerships with the business sector as well as other universities and collaborators by assisting in protection of intellectual property and negotiation of various collaborative agreements to protect as well as enhance the research conducted by UMDNJ investigators.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Mr. Smeraglia, please contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at (856) 566-6171 or at (973) 972-3000.
UMDNJ is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,700 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and a school of public health on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits at UMDNJ facilities and faculty practices at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.