Pitt Patents Rise 45% in Fiscal Year

Issue Date: 
December 8, 2014

The number of patents awarded to University of Pittsburgh faculty, staff, and students increased 45 percent in the most recent fiscal year from a year earlier. 

Seventy-four patents were awarded in fiscal year 2014, which ended June 30, up from 51 patents in the previous fiscal year, according to figures from the Innovation Institute’s recently released annual report. Invention disclosures increased 7.9 percent from the previous fiscal year and nearly one-third of the 518 people who filed invention disclosures were students or postdocs.

In addition, 150 licenses/options for Pitt innovations were filed in fiscal year 2014, and six new companies were founded. They are:

Diamond Kinetics

William “Buddy” Clark, a Pitt mechanical engineering and materials science professor—along with a University of Michigan collaborator—developed a motion-analytics device that can help baseball players improve their swing and find the right bat. The company’s SwingTracker product allows users to view their swing and motion data and compare their swing against other players. Its BatFitter product helps players determine the optimal bat size.

Nanovision Diagnostics

This startup is focused on better diagnosing cancerous cells using a phase microscopy-based optical system developed by Yang Liu, an associate professor of medicine and bioengineering, and Randall Brand, a professor of medicine. 


Ronald Montelaro, a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and postdoctoral fellow Jonathan Steckbeck have developed peptides to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Sofregen Medical

Faculty members Kacey Marra and J. Peter Rubin, working in collaboration with researchers from Tufts, developed an injectable silk scaffold material that can be used to restore volume and regenerate soft tissue. Marra is an associate professor of plastic surgery and Rubin, the chair and UPMC Endowed Professor of Plastic Surgery.


This startup centers on a mobile app that helps clinicians communicate in real time with patients who have chronic illness, helping patients to self-manage their care. The telerehabilitation platform was developed by Andrea Fairman and a team of Pitt researchers when Fairman was a PhD candidate in rehabilitation science and technology at Pitt.

Western Oncolytics

This company has licensed cancer therapies that use genetically engineered viruses to attack cancer cells while delivering therapeutic genes. The therapies were developed by Pitt’s Stephen Thorne, an assistant professor in the Division of Surgical Oncology and Department of Immunology.   

The Innovation Institute also honored Pitt’s innovators at the 10th annual “Celebration of Innovation” earlier this fall. More than 100 were recognized for their commitment to innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship.