CKY Market Review: Growing the commercialization culture

UK, UofL, CED partnership provides statewide intellectual property, technology services platform

By Jacqueline J. Greene

INNOVATION CORRIDOR. Rendering of a new facility for parking, retail and university innovation at the corner of Winslow Street and South Limestone.

The University of Kentucky’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) has partnered with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s (CED) KY Innovation office and the University of Louisville to develop the Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3), a new, common approach to resourcing all commercialization and intellectual property needs across Kentucky’s public universities and colleges.

C3 is a partnership among all of Kentucky’s public institutions to grow commercialization culture and capabilities across the state. C3 is a shared resource to provide intellectual property and technology transfer services to all Kentucky universities and colleges with a goal of establishing Kentucky as a regional commercialization leader.

With $1.2 million in CED grant funding, UK OTC and UofL Office of Technology Transfer will take leadership roles in hiring and training staff and helping C3 through its startup phase. C3 will leverage the resources and successes of the various offices, including commercialization education that is provided at all Kentucky institutions.

Ian McClure, OTC director, is the primary investigator on the C3 grant to UK.

“Innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurial communities are all products of their culture and access to resources,” McClure said. “Successful environments have at their center research and academic institutions that embody this culture and facilitate this access. Through this partnership and state-supported initiative, we are advancing this notion and investing in the development of commercialization culture and resources around our commonwealth’s universities and colleges.”

Services will be available to members of Kentucky’s institutions to identify, develop, market and protect intellectual property. Additionally, this program will foster collaboration and engagement with institutions throughout the state to form a regional innovation commercialization corridor.


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“This new mechanism allows us to share resources and knowledge with our sister institutions across the state and, in partnership, strengthen our economic development pipeline,” said UK President Eli Capilouto.

The Office of Technology Commercialization is UK’s technology transfer office. The core mission of the OTC is to facilitate the commercialization of innovations and discoveries for the benefit of the university community, Kentucky and global society.

UK partners with XLerateHealth on regional biomedical technology accelerator hub

UK and regional partners have received a federal grant that could potentially total $3.5 million over three years to create a hub to accelerate commercialization of biomedical technologies.

The grant, which includes nearly $500,000 in funding the first year, is being awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

XLerateHealth LLC, a Louisville-based health care technology accelerator that focuses on startups and commercialization is the primary awardee on the grant. XLerateHealth joined forces with a consortium of 24 academic institutions led by UK, in partnership with UofL and West Virginia University (WVU).

“UK has a rich history in developing technology that transforms the marketplace, as more than half of all basic, translational and applied university-led research in Kentucky happens at UK,” Capilouto said. “Our diverse research enterprise reflects our commonwealth’s most vital industries: energy, drug development and design, equine health and plant biotech, as well as innovative materials for medical devices, implants and drug delivery systems. Increasingly, our success in research that is relevant to Kentucky has broad applications across the world.”

This new grant will create an “accelerator hub” for biomedical technologies in the Southeast Institutional Development Award (IDeA) region, which includes Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and West Virginia.

The hub will be one of four NIGMS-funded hubs to help IDeA states accelerate early-stage biomedical technology from the laboratory to market. The goal is to enhance the capacity to move scientific results from academic institutions into commercialization and to promote a sustainable culture of biomedical entrepreneurship within IDeA states. The IDeA program was established in 1993 to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH funding.

In the 2016 Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Annual Survey, academic institutions in the Southeast IDeA region performed more than $1.5 billion in federally funded research and generated 38 startup companies. Participating universities in this grant made up 66 percent of that research and 82 percent of the region’s newly licensed startup companies. Given the uneven access to commercialization support services, startup resources and other translational programs across the Southeast IDeA region, an accelerator hub connecting those resources and providing access to best practices can make a significant impact.

The grant will fund creation of an online “virtual hub,” through which XLerateHealth, UK, UofL and WVU can connect and share educational curriculum, resources and commercialization tools for utilization across the network of participating institutions.

There also will be a focused intellectual property and technology transfer support services component for regional and historically black colleges and universities to assist where those services are not currently available.

“We are very excited to lead this new grant mechanism as part of the NIH IDeA program, in partnership with other Southeast institutions, to enable our researchers to accelerate their early-stage biomedical technology to commercialization,” said Lisa Cassis, UK’s vice president for research. “We have pressing and persistent health problems in Kentucky and most of the Southeast that afflict our citizens, and this program will assure that our talent does all that it can to improve lives.”

“Kentucky is rich in biomedical technology expertise, as evidenced by the capabilities of XLerateHealth. This hub should have incredible potential to accelerate biomedical technologies for our participating institutions and across the Southeast IDeA region,” McClure said.

UK research by the numbers

Research awards for FY 2019

• Research awards (grants and contracts) to UK totaled $417.1 million, an increase of $83 million (25%) from FY 2018

• Federal agencies awarded UK $241.8 million, 58% of UK’s total awards

• National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants totaled $159.3 million

• National Science Foundation (NSF) grants totaled $20.1 million

• State agencies awarded $101.3 million to UK

• Industries awarded $18 million to UK

R&D Expenditures for FY 2018

• Research expenditures totaled more than $393 million

• Created 1,866 new jobs in Kentucky

• Supported more than 4,400 jobs in Kentucky

• Created more than $237 million
in labor income

• Total economic impact of UK research for Kentucky was $725.5 million

ASTeCC Campus Incubator

21 companies located on-site

88 private company employees

10 faculty R&D labs

5 university centers

63 graduate companies since 1994

IP development, patents, licenses in FY 2019

104 disclosures

97 patents filed

27 new patents issued

635 worldwide patent assets

30 licenses and options executed

$2,356,523.76 royalty income

4 new startups

Source: Alicia Gregory, UK Research Communications

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