University of Minnesota Technology Commercialization

Driven to Discover Life-Changing Inventions




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University of Minnesota (UMN) is a top ten public research university, with nearly $1 billion in research performed annually. Conducting research is fundamental to the University’s mission and is a key driver of innovation and economic growth in the state.

Dr. Jerrold Vitek outlines recent research into deep brain stimulation at a UMN neuromodulation showcase in 2018. The University of Minnesota is a leader in neuroscience and imaging research focused on understanding and treatment of serious neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease. Photo: UMN.

The University is Driven to Discover, as evidenced by the depth and breadth of its research, including inquiry into agriculture, medicine, chemistry and material sciences, engineering, and genetics/genomics work across the life sciences. The University’s world-class faculty is known for life-changing inventions such as the pacemaker, the retractable seat belt, the HIV drug Ziagen, cancer therapies, green chemistry innovations, big data microbiome analysis, the Honeycrisp apple, precision technologies that advance agricultural production, and teacher tools that can unobtrusively measure student progress.

The Technology Commercialization group facilitates the transfer of University inventions to licensee companies for the development of new products and services that benefit the public good, foster economic growth, and generate revenue to support the University’s mission. With Technology Commercialization’s help, the University has seen significant growth in the number of new technology licenses, research agreements, and invention disclosures.

UMN-developed cold hardy grapes, including the Itasca variety (pictured), have been integral to the growth of the $400+ million wine industry in the northern US. Photo: UMN, David L. Hansen.

“The Technology Commercialization team advocates for University researchers and their technology and connects them with industry partners. One thing I appreciated most was their responsiveness and efficient communications with our team. The overall interactions were excellent and we look forward to our continued partnerships.”

Brea Hutchcraft-May, Alliance Manager-University Relations, Bayer Crop Science

UMN startup Vascudyne is developing implantable heart valves and arteries made of living tissue that can match a patient’s cardiovascular structure and can “heal” themselves to last longer inside the body. Photo: UMN Tranquillo Lab.

In addition, more than 150 startup companies have been launched based on University research since 2006, and eight UMN startups have been acquired or gone public over two years, reflecting the market’s strong appetite for the University of Minnesota ideas and breakthroughs.

UMN Technology Commercialization stands out for its experienced staff and business-friendly approaches that connect licensees to new ideas and inventions. It is increasingly recognized in the media and in the community for its essential role in Minnesota’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Veteran technology-licensing professionals collaborate with UMN faculty to protect and patent their intellectual property, and through the Technology Commercialization’s Venture Center, provide a range of support services for entrepreneurial researchers interested in forming startup companies.

University of Minnesota’s Technology Commercialization group. Photo: UMN.

The Technology Commercialization team builds positive relationships with the private sector, deepening the University’s public impact and channeling entrepreneurialism into academia. The team is committed to making collaboration between companies and university researchers as easy and risk-free as possible.

Its Minnesota Innovation Partnerships program, or MN-IP, streamlines agreements between businesses and the University, improving access to University-developed technology while reducing the risk and costs associated with exclusively licensing intellectual property and sponsoring lab and clinical research.

The MN-IP program has been recognized as an industry leader in contracting, providing options to suit each company’s needs. The University has signed more than 500 MN-IP research agreements with industry.

UMN’s 150+ startup companies reflect the broad strengths of the University of Minnesota and the diversity of the state’s economy.

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