For more information about Tech Launch Arizona, visit http://techlaunch.arizona.edu.
Fiscal year 2014 marked the best year to date for technology commercialization at the University of Arizona, the UA's Tech Launch Arizona office reported Thursday.
Notable accomplishments for TLA between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, include:
- 39 exclusive licenses and options executed
- 72 total licenses executed
- 167 patents filed
- 188 invention disclosures received from faculty inventors
- 19 proof-of-concept projects funded, which validate the correspondence of inventions to market features and drivers
- 11 startup companies created
- 24 patents issued
The numbers came during the first full year of operation with a complete team and new procedures and programs at TLA, the unit responsible for helping university faculty and researchers commercialize inventions arising out of their research. A complete report on TLA's accomplishments will be released in an annual report this fall.
The university created TLA in 2013 by merging three separate functions – technology transfer, tech parks and corporate and business relations – and creating a fourth function, new venture development.
Under the leadership of TLA Vice President David Allen, these four units collaborate as an integrated team, undertaking different yet complementary activities, all related to the purpose of creating tangible impact from UA intellectual capacity.
"We've hired outstanding people and executed new service-oriented procedures to put the UA on a new trajectory of economic impact," Allen said. "Our results provide evidence that a supportive commercialization culture is expanding at the UA. Faculty are stepping up like never before."
The success of TLA and the UA’s growing innovation ecosystem represent early achievements arising out of the University's Never Settle strategic plan.
"The Never Settle strategic academic and business plan is built on the premise that student learning and innovative research reach their full potential together when we partner with business and community to fully integrate the university with the world of which it is a part, and TLA is a vital expression of this principle," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart.
"By forging novel partnerships, creating opportunities for student engagement, and advancing knowledge and its application through collaboration, TLA is amplifying the UA’s economic and social impact, which ensures a strong future for the university, for Tucson, and for all of Arizona."
One of TLA's early activities was the creation in April 2013 of its strategic plan, called "Tech Launch Arizona: Roadmap." The plan – which laid out both targets for the above metrics, as well as structural, process and outcome measures – was formulated by examining leading practices at top commercialization universities, and combining that understanding with new approaches suited to the UA's strengths and assets, such as engaging the community of technology-savvy alumni.
Victor J. Hruby, Regents' Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the UA College of Science, has been at the university for more than four decades. Hruby, an inventor who has worked to advance several drugs into clinical trials, said, "After 40 years working with technology transfer at the UA, I am absolutely blown away by the 180 shift I have seen in the past two years.
"Before, we had only imagined what could have been done," Hruby said. "But now I feel so lucky to experience this new service culture at this stage in my career. I’m so excited for my peers and the UA as a whole."
TLA will release its annual report in early September. As a part of that report, it is updating the Roadmap to reflect new objectives and evolving programs for the coming year.