University of Pittsburgh
December 4, 2005

Pitt Ranked Sixth Nationally in University Start-up Company Creation

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PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh was the sixth most prolific college or university in the country in the number of start-up companies created in fiscal year 2004, according to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) 2004 annual survey of licensing and commercialization activities.

With 10 companies created in 2004 as a result of Pitt research, the University was tied with Duke University and trailed only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Illinois system, Georgia Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, and University of Michigan in this measure of technology commercialization productivity.

"The University's success in forming companies is a clear sign of the strong entrepreneurial spirit of so many of our faculty," noted Pitt Provost James V. Maher. "While most of the other universities included in AUTM's survey have had tech transfer systems in place for more than 20 years, Pitt's efforts have been concentrated in the past 10. And while many other universities have a research mix that skews toward information technology products that can roll out a product in eight months, our faculty research is heavily invested in biotechnology, where it takes an average of eight years to roll out a product."

The AUTM published statistics from 157 member institutions that responded to the survey: Eight member institutions responded but asked that their figures not be publicly released. The AUTM calls its survey, now in its 14th year, the most comprehensive report of its kind. Hospitals and other research institutions were ranked separately, as were Canadian member institutions.

The AUTM survey also indicated that Pitt ranked:

20th in patents issued, with 39;

21st in licenses and options executed, with 53;

28th in patents filed, with 114; and

45th in licensing income, with $3,805,082.

"The University's strong focus on fostering economic development through company formation is paying off," said Donald F. Smith, vice president of economic development for Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University. "Pitt was able to produce significant revenue, despite focusing more attention on start-ups, which tend to pay off down the road rather than the more immediate payoff of licensing to established companies. In addition to great performance by the Office of Technology Management, the supporting contributions of the Technology Commercialization Alliance, the University's partnerships with Carnegie Mellon, and the region's technology-based economic development organizations have helped propel Pitt to the upper echelons of research universities in technology commercialization. These results also provide strong evidence that the remarkable growth in both the scale and quality of the University's research portfolio directly leads to greater regional economic development outcomes."