Tech Transfer reports 12 startups, sets record for industry licenses


The University of Michigan signed a record 173 license and option agreements with companies seeking to commercialize the discoveries of university researchers in the past fiscal year.

“It is gratifying to see this record-setting number for our most important metric in tech transfer performance,” said Ken Nisbet, associate vice president for research-technology transfer. “It reflects the deployment of U-M inventions into the marketplace where they can have positive benefits for the general public.”

Out of the 173 licenses, 12 were issued to startup companies launching from the U-M Tech Transfer Venture Center. 

This year’s startups include ViewPoint Therapeutics, which has developed a potential eye-drop therapy for cataracts; Intelligent Vision Systems, which has created an ice-detection system for vehicles and planes; and Movellus, a company working to engineer semiconductors for cloud computing.

“Of this year’s class of startups, all but one is headquartered in Michigan,” Nisbet said.

U-M startups are launched with the guidance and resources of the Venture Center, which is the starting point for entrepreneurs and investors looking for startup opportunities based on U-M research.

During fiscal year 2016, U-M Tech Transfer also saw 135 U.S. patents issued, and brought in revenues from licensing totaling $23 million. These revenues are reinvested in university research and innovation. Researchers also reported 428 new inventions in FY ’16, up from last year’s 422.

“Our continuing success in technology transfer is a measure not only of the creativity of our faculty, but also of the growing strength of our relationships with industry,” said S. Jack Hu, vice president for research, whose office oversees U-M Tech Transfer.

The university will recognize the accomplishments of faculty and researchers at the 16th annual Celebrate Invention reception at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Kiosks representing Tech Transfer activities will be on display during the event at the Michigan League Ballroom. The event is free, but registration is required at


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