Tech Ranked a Top University for Biotech Transfer

Georgia Tech Recognized as a Top Technology Transfer University in Biotech Study

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the top universities in the world for technology transfer and a top producer of start-up companies, according to a new biotechnology study from the Milken Institute.

Georgia Tech was ranked No. 4 for start-up companies, No. 11 overall for technology transfer (bringing technologies from the lab to market) and No. 8 for patents filed. Tech also ranked No. 9 in number of patents in 2005, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. While some of the rankings included information on technologies other than biotechnology, biotechnology still made up a significant portion of the total for each ranking.

Atlanta was also ranked No. 9 among top technology-transfer metro areas in the United States, according to the study.

The study, Mind to Market: A Global Analysis of University Biotechnology Transfer and Commercialization, shows the position of institutions, such as Georgia Tech, in the commercialization pipeline, which starts with the quality of research and moves to patented ideas and, finally, to the market. Based on information gathered in 2004, the study revealed that the U.S. dominates the top rankings on many key measures, including published research, patents issued and licensing income.

Georgia Tech has a strong reputation for shepherding technology from university research to the commercial market. And as biotechnology began to take hold in the research community in the late 1990s, Tech put itself on the frontlines of its development, both with the creation of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, a unique collaboration between a public engineering university and private medical school, and Tech's well-respected technology transfer offices, including the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), VentureLab and Emtech Bio.

"In 1997, Georgia Tech and Emory University partnered to form an interdisciplinary Department of Biomedical Engineering," said G. Wayne Clough, president of Georgia Tech. "Our unique relationship with Emory, coupled with our strategic, growing investment in biotechnology and a supportive environment for bringing research from the lab into commercial use, make Tech a top contributor to biotechnology innovation worldwide."

More than 50 companies have been created based on technology developed at Georgia Tech since 1990. In 2004, companies that had graduated from ATDC, a sizable portion of which were created from Georgia Tech technologies, employed 5,500 people and generated $1.7 billion in revenues, according to a recent economic impact study conducted by the Huron Consulting Group.

ATDC is one of the top technology business incubators in the country. The ATDC Biosciences Center provides biotech companies hoping to transform university research into real-world products with the space and equipment they need to get started.

"Growth in the number of start-up companies based on Georgia Tech innovations reflects the commercial relevance of our research, the support faculty members receive for their commercialization activities, the infrastructure investments made by organizations like the Georgia Research Alliance and the strength of our partnership with Emory University," said Wayne Hodges, vice provost in Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute. "Biotechnology is a growing component of Georgia Tech's commercialization activities, and we would expect to see the number of start-ups continue to increase."

In addition to Tech's existing space for biotech start-ups, the planned Technology Enterprise Park, located just south of Georgia Tech's Midtown campus, will add space designed specifically for bioscience and technology companies leaving the incubation stage, with flexible space that will allow tenants to expand as needed.

"Great science leads to great commercial opportunities, but these biotech companies need a lot of support and space to get their businesses up and running," said Lee Herron, ATDC's general manager of biosciences. "Tech provides a supportive environment for these companies to grow - at both the incubation and post-incubation stages."

CardioMEMS, a company formed from Georgia Institute of Technology intellectual property, is one of Georgia Tech's many biotech start-up success stories. The company recently won approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market its first commercial product, the EndoSure® sensor, an implantable device that monitors blood pressure in aneurysm patients.

On the academic side, the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory produces much of the groundbreaking research that serves as the seed of a new biotech product. Faculty members in the department, which combines the technical expertise of Georgia Tech with Emory University's medical expertise and clinical facilities, apply engineering principles to find solutions to clinical problems. The department boasts the No. 3 graduate program of biomedical engineering in the country, according to rankings from U.S. News & World Report.