Technology Commercialization Beginning To Pay Off At Vanderbilt

Michael Goldfarb is a professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt. Credit: VU via Flickr

Michael Goldfarb is a professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt. Credit: VU via Flickr

Vanderbilt University is getting better at turning a profit on campus inventions. Earnings for commercialized technology have quadrupled in the last few years to nearly $25 million.

The fiscal year that has just ended included licensing agreements to come up with new drugs for Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s.

Parker Hannifin, an industrial company from Cleveland more known for making hydraulic hoses, signed a deal to develop what is essentially a wearable robot that allows wheelchair-bound patients to walk. The motorized brace was developed in the lab of Michael Goldfarb.

“It seemed to me that the technological pieces were in place to be able to do this,” Goldfarb says of his invention. “It surprised me that no one was doing it.”

In all, Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization reports 82 transactions for the year. That’s a spike of 60 percent and a pace that administrators concede will be difficult to keep up.

Dollar amounts for specific products have not been disclosed. While a $25 million annual total is a huge jump for Vanderbilt, the school still lags the top-producers like Northwestern and New York University. Both made roughly $180 million on commercialization in 2010.

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