OTC News Archive

UT increasingly licenses its research

by Nolan Hicks, The Daily Texan
July 11, 2007

The licensing of university intellectual property to private firms for commercialization has increased dramatically for the University of Texas at Austin and the UT System over the last four years.

Technology transfer income, which relates to intellectual property revenue from licensing, has increased from $5.1 million in 2004 to $8.4 million in 2006, said Tim Green, a spokesman for the Office of the Vice President for Research.

A UT System document shows a total gross revenue of $31 million from UT-Austin intellectual property over the past four years. Intellectual property can include a variety of creations, from literary works to designs, images and scientific discoveries.

The University of Texas at Arlington announced Monday it had licensed plasma-deposition technology to AeonClad Coatings LLC for an undisclosed amount and duration.

Richard B. Timmons, the professor who led the development of the technology at UT Arlington, is also the chief science officer for AeonClad Coatings.

There is nothing wrong with the practice of “dual appointments,” as it allows professors to stay at a university and continue their research, rather than leave for the private sector, according to Grant Gibson, vice president of market development at Emergent Technologies Inc., a venture capital firm that licenses technologies from universities it believes to be commercially viable. His company funds AeonClad Coatings’ operations.

Gibson did acknowledge there is a potential for conflict between university research and a professor’s commitments to a private firm. It is “up to the universities and professors to maintain separation between the university and private work,” he said.

In general, plasma-deposition technology is a means of using plasma to coat or paint a substance, such as an antibiotic or medicine, onto a stent.

“This plasma will rapidly polymerize onto nearby surfaces as a thin film or coating, allowing a doctor to take a metal cardiac stent and create on it a coating that is thin and even enough not to interfere with the device’s intended function,” Gibson said.

Benefits of the technology include reduced immune system reaction, reduced protein deposits, resistance to microbial growth and controlled release of a drug into the surrounding tissue or bloodstream, he said.

[ The Daily Texan ]