CCTEC celebrates banner year in 2009-10

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Blaine Friedlander

With its highest-ever gross revenues and largest number of spinoff businesses launched to date, the Cornell Center for Technology, Enterprise and Commercialization (CCTEC) had its most successful year in fiscal year (FY) 2010.

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, CCTEC granted 114 commercial licenses to industry partners to develop Cornell technologies. Also, 12 new businesses were founded on licensed Cornell technologies this year -- the highest number of startups spun out of Cornell in any fiscal year. The center grossed ordinary licensing revenues of $9 million this year, up from $5.1 million the previous year.

"CCTEC helps to make the results of the tremendous research at Cornell useful to the society and serve the public," said Alan Paau, Cornell's vice provost for technology transfer and economic development and executive director of CCTEC. "It bridges the academic-industry interface. To the extent possible, CCTEC leverages Cornell technologies to enhance regional economic vitality."

Of the 12 startups that CCTEC helped found this year, 11 are located in New York state. iFyber LLC, for example, is built on technology developed by Juan Hinestroza, assistant professor fiber science and apparel design. The company makes synthetic fibers functionalized with such properties as electrical conductivity, anti-microbial action and identity authentication using nanoparticle coatings.

Another startup, New York City-based Ezra Pharmaceutical, commercializes the work of Randi Silver, associate professor of physiology, and Roberto Levi, professor of pharmacology, both at Weill Cornell Medical College. The company is developing a first-ever preventative therapy for diabetes-related blindness, or diabetic retinopathy.

The center, whose mission is to develop Cornell science and technology into products and services for the public good, also kept pace with previous milestone numbers of new technology disclosures. FY 2009 was the first time that more than 300 new disclosures were made to CCTEC; in FY 2010 CCTEC again received more than 300 new disclosures.

Laura Cima, CCTEC's outreach and economic development manager, said CCTEC's mission aligns closely with Cornell's land-grant mission to serve the state and the wider public.

"Technology transfer is increasingly active at Cornell," Cima said. "It's good for New York state, good for Cornell and good for Cornell research."

In addition to its successes in commercialization and licensing, in 2010 CCTEC also settled two longstanding legal disputes related to Cornell inventions and licensing with industry partners, resulting in extraordinary revenues. Its ordinary licensing revenues were still the highest ever, even without the income from the legal settlements.

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