Colorado State University Researchers Contribute to Colorado Economy with 150 Percent Increase in Inventions Since 2006

Colorado State University researchers filed record invention disclosures in FY09-10, contributing to a significant increase in the transfer of that technology to Colorado businesses, according to a new report from the Colorado State University Research Foundation.

Annual invention disclosures – detailed descriptions of inventions – grew consistently from 42 in FY05-06 to 119 in FY09-10 for an increase of more than 150 percent, according to CSURF, which aids the university with intellectual property patenting and licensing management, real estate and financing of equipment. Annual invention disclosures related to clean energy, infectious disease, and cancer research – the focus of CSU’s three Superclusters – increased six-fold over that time period, from 10 in 2006 to 60 in 2010.

In the past four years alone, the university has transferred 158 new technologies to industry with more than 72 percent going to Colorado entities, according to the research foundation.

“Colorado State is a powerhouse in research commercialization that leads to new startups and licensing of technologies. Those technologies help serve Colorado residents through new job creation, and they also help train an educated workforce, giving our students the opportunity to learn from some of the best scholars in their fields,” said Tony Frank, president of Colorado State University.

“The increase in technology transfer is evidence of the university system as an important economic engine in Colorado,” said Joe Blake, chancellor of the CSU System.

“This is part of the CSU System’s recently announced strategic plan, called Our Commitment to Building a Stronger Colorado, so these successes are in absolute alignment with our goals in transforming Colorado’s future,” Blake said. “We have said we will increase applied research activities to enhance the quality of life for Coloradans. That includes increasing the number of our discoveries entering the marketplace, educating the workforce and creating new companies to help Colorado generate jobs.”

The university has helped create more than 30 start-up companies based on CSU research innovation over the past 15 years, said Mark Wdowik, president and CEO of CSU Management Corp., a subsidiary of the private, non-profit CSU Ventures Inc. CSU Ventures helps the university commercialize new research innovations associated with business development, global partnerships and critical commercialization activities.

“About 20 of those 30 companies were formed just in the last five years,” Wdowik said. “Our startups have produced about 1,300 peak jobs, raised $700 million in private equity and debt, and procured $80 million in government funding.”

In the past five years, CSU researchers have disclosed 438 inventions to the CSURF Technology Transfer Office. These disclosures originated from 490 researchers in 30 academic departments and seven colleges, working in conjunction with 122 of their counterparts at other institutions or private sector companies.

Among the new companies are Prieto Battery, a company formed by chemistry Professor Amy Prieto that is expected to produce batteries theoretically up to 1,000 times more powerful and 10 times longer lasting and cheaper than traditional batteries, and OptiEnz, a company formed by chemical engineering Professor Ken Reardon to manufacture biosensors that detect chemical contaminants in water and food. Both were formed in partnership with Colorado State University’s Clean Energy commercialization arm, Cenergy. Chemistry professor and Boettcher Investigator Melissa Reynolds also formed a company, Diazamed, for accelerating the time to market for biocompatible coatings in collaboration with NeoTREX, the commercialization arm of the Cancer Supercluster at the university.

Other Colorado State technology transfer highlights:

• 41 new license agreements in 2010, up from 25 in 2009;

• 519 new patent applications (provisional and non-provisional) filed on CSU inventions between 2006 and 2010;

• Average annual growth rate of 55 percent in patent applications between FY05-06 and FY09-10;

• 143 license agreements executed between 2006 and 2010, which resulted in revenue to the university; and

• License agreements and revenue totals significantly higher between 2006 and 2010 than in the previous five-year period (2001-2005), with revenue approximately doubling and license agreements increasing by a factor of 2.5.