From the Director: Highlights from Fiscal Year 2016

2016 proved to be a very productive year for the Office of Technology Transfer. For starters, we completed our first year as a combined office with Emory’s Industry Contracting Group. Altogether we executed a total of 2,144 contracts — most of them with industry –on Emory’s behalf. While material transfer and confidentiality agreements far outnumber other contract types, it is those other contracts that take the most time and effort to negotiate.

Not only have the two offices gotten to know each other much better, but we created additional tools that have improved our ability to more effectively manage our business. Industry funding continues to be crucial component in the support of the academic research enterprise and in 2016 we saw an all-time high of $52.5M in funding from companies. Of this total, $35.5M was received in support of clinical work needed for the approval of new therapies and medical devices.

Todd Sherer, Exec Director Photograph
Todd Sherer, Exec Director

Focusing on products, Emory sub-licensee Blue Earth Diagnostics, received FDA approval for Axumin to diagnose recurrent prostate cancer. This technology was invented and disclosed in 1995 by Mark Goodman, PhD from our Department of Radiology. On a similar note, Baxalta received European approval to market Obizur for acquired hemophilia this past year (U.S. FDA approval was received in 2014). This drug was invented by Pete Lollar, MD and disclosed in 1992. Both of these stories highlight the long, risky approval process for new health care products.

Emory start-ups had a successful year as well; notably, Clearside Biomedical enrolled its first patient in their Phase 3 trial for the treatment of macular edema and Neurotrack, raised $6.5M of venture funding. Additionally in 2016, Emory start-up, NeurOp, was named one of the five most interesting start-ups at JP Morgan’s Healthcare Conference in San Francisco while Accuitis closed a $1M preferred, angel financing round. We remain hopeful that these companies can bring new products to market in the coming years.

In the new year the staff are eager to take on new challenges, in particular working to expand of our collaborations with industry. We look forward to leveraging expanded opportunities with industry and to more holistically assist and facilitate industry’s support of Emory research. Additionally, that these synergies will better enable us to help technologies find translational research support, provide added licensing opportunities for promising technology, and to support the development of new start-up companies—all with the goal of advancing our technology to the market.

You can find our full annual report on our website here.