University Fêtes 113 Pitt Innovators Whose Discoveries Made It Out of the Lab Into Industry or Start-Ups in 2013

Issue Date: 
November 25, 2013

The innovations cover a wide range of needs and situations: a diabetes vaccine, an artificial pediatric heart valve, a tablet-based program to reduce unplanned hospital admissions of older adults, and a mobile app that helps professionals manage their continuing education credits and requirements.

Those are a few of the nine Pitt-based innovations that were spun out into actual start-up companies during the University’s fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30. The Pitt developers of those discoveries and innovations were among the many attendees at the University’s 9th Celebration of Innovation, held Nov. 14 at the University Club.

Cohosted by Pitt’s Office of the Provost and Office of Technology Management, the event recognized at the highest level the achievements of Pitt Innovators, who comprise faculty, staff, and students who participate in the commercialization process at the University. Also that evening, Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson unveiled the University’s new Innovation Institute, which will combine under one umbrella the existing Office of Technology Management, Office of Enterprise Development, and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

There were 113 Pitt Innovator Awardees recognized for their Pitt-based innovations licensed or optioned to industry or to a start-up company during the past fiscal year.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg addressed the group, noting that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Commerce marked the launch of November’s “National Entrepreneurship Month” by recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit of U.S. universities and colleges. The report, The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus, highlighted Pitt’s Business of Innovation Commercialization course, which was developed by the Office of Technology Management and Office of Enterprise Development.

Nordenberg noted that Pitt’s Office of Technology Management has grown significantly since its establishment in 1996. “Its success can be tied to the hard work of its staff and to the many partnerships, collaborations, and relationships its has nurtured with other University departments, including the Office of Enterprise Development within the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences,” he said.

In other indicators of Pitt’s entrepreneurial energy during fiscal year 2013, there were:

254 invention disclosures filed. Faculty, staff, or students file invention disclosures with Pitt’s Office of Technology Management when they believe they have ideas that could be patented. The disclosures are reviewed by an Office of Technology Management committee, which assesses the idea’s potential for development and success.

472 Pitt Innovators—including 123 Pitt students—whose names were included in invention disclosure submissions. One invention disclosure form could include several people from one or multiple research labs.

51 patents issued to the University for a total of 541 patents issued over the past 17 years.