Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

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WARF and UW–Madison ranked sixth among universities in U.S. utility patents in 2016

Jeanan Yasiri Moe
Director of Strategic Communications
[email protected]

WARF moves up in annual ranking of top university patent producers worldwide

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which serves as the designated patent management organization for the University of Wisconsin–Madison, moved up to sixth place among the Top 100 Worldwide Universities which were granted U.S. utility patents in 2016. The report, which is published by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), utilizes data acquired from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to highlight the important role patents play in university research and innovation.

Headshot of Erik Iverson
Erik Iverson

The NAI and IPO have published the report annually since 2013. The rankings are compiled by calculating the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which list a university as the first assignee on the issued patent.

“This report recognizes patents granted, not just applications that are filed. This is an increasingly important way to recognize the inventive nature of our UW colleagues and their teamwork with WARF,” said Erik Iverson, WARF’s Managing Director. “Patents that are granted represent truly novel and important inventions. It also serves as a measure of the transformative work that positively impacts people across our state and the world taking place in our UW–Madison research community.”

Headshot of Michael Falk
Michael Falk

“This is a clear expression of the great research, innovative mindset and inventive thinking that is taking place on our UW–Madison campus,” said Michael Falk, WARF’s General Counsel and head of WARF’s Intellectual Property division. “We receive about 400 disclosures a year from our UW faculty, staff and students. Our team works diligently with our UW partners to confirm which are best to move forward for patent consideration.”

“Utility patents” cover materials, processes, functions and devices. In contrast, “design patents” cover nonfunctional elements like appearance.

The full report of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2016 can be found at academyofinventors.com/pdf/top-100-universities-2016.pdf

Some of the examples of the 168 patents issued to WARF during the timeframe of the report include:

9,458,230 – Cosatein, an animal feed supplement

Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) plays a critical role in immunity. Professor Mark Cook & Jordan Sand, both of the UW Department of Animal Science, have developed a method for producing large quantities of animal- and human-grade sIgA. Compositions of sIgA – known as Cosatein – can be given to animals to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation and increase feed efficiency. Cosatein is a Smithfield Bioscience technology and is licensed to Cosaproducts Company, a wholly owned Smithfield Foods company.

– BetaGene oat

This technology won a 2013 WARF Innovation Award.

Beta-glucan is a “heart healthy” soluble fiber that has been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels. John Mochon, Program Manager of the Small Grains Breeding Program in the UW Department of Agronomy, has bred an oat variety – known as BetaGene – that is 2 percent higher in beta-glucan than other oat varieties on the market; that 2 percent advantage translates into a 20 percent boost in beta-glucan levels when the oats are processed into food products.

9,320,800 – intranasal drug delivery

Read more in WARF’s Accelerator Pipeline.

Delivering large therapeutic molecules directly into the brain currently requires invasive surgery. Robert Thorne, Assistant Professor in the UW School of Pharmacy, has identified a protein factor that helps large drugs pass through the nose and into the brain.

9,279,103 – E8 stem cell medium

This simplified, yet fully defined, medium – developed by Professor James Thomson, Director of Regenerative Biology for the Morgridge Institute for Research, and Kai Chen with the UW School of Medicine and Public Health – is widely used by stem cell researchers. It includes the minimal components required for cell survival, proliferation, cloning, derivation and pluripotency of hES and iPS cells. It does not include bovine serum albumin (BSA).

– production of neural retinal progenitor & retinal pigment epithelial cells

Assistant Professor David Gamm in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health developed a simplified culture system to produce neural retinal progenitor cells and retinal pigment epithelial cells from pluripotent stem cells. These cells potentially could be used in the treatment of macular degeneration, retinopathy and other causes of vision loss.

– NeuCode (protein quantification through mass spec)

This technology was a finalist for a 2013 WARF Innovation Award.

This more accurate and reproducible method and customized tags for quantifying proteins through mass spectrometry – developed by Professor Josh Coon of the UW Biotechnology Center and Department of Chemistry – allow multiple samples to be analyzed simultaneously without interference or other issues common to previous methods.

9,227,996 – peptide-based inhibitors for attenuating the virulence of Staphylococcus aureus

This technology won a 2013 WARF Innovation Award.

Staphylococcus aureus strains are the leading cause of infections caught in hospitals and are becoming resistant to antibiotics, including the ‘last resort’ drug vancomycin. Professor Helen Blackwell in the UW Department of Chemistry developed peptide-based compounds that treat ‘Staph’ infections by interfering with quorum sensing, a process used by many types of bacteria that allows them to behave as a group.

– catalytic approach for making simple aromatics from lignin

Lignin, a major component of non-edible biomass, is a cheap byproduct of pulp and biofuel production and one of the few naturally occurring sources of valuable aromatic compounds. Professor Shannon Stahl in the UW Department of Chemistry has developed a two-step process for selectively converting lignin to small aromatic compounds like vanillin, syringic acid and HMF.

About WARF
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) helps steward the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Founded in 1925 as an independent, nonprofit foundation, WARF manages more than 1,800 active issued U.S. patents, 1,700 licensing agreements and an investment portfolio of $2.6 billion as it funds university research, obtains patents for campus discoveries and licenses inventions to industry. For more information, visit warf.org.

About the National Academy of Inventors
The National Academy of Inventors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. www.AcademyofInventors.org

About the IPO
The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), established in 1972, is a trade association for owners of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. IPO is the only association in the U.S. that serves all intellectual property owners in all industries and all fields of technology. IPO advocates for effective and affordable IP ownership rights and provides a wide array of services to members, including: supporting member interests relating to legislative and international issues; analyzing current IP issues; information and educational services; and disseminating information to the general public on the importance of intellectual property rights. www.ipo.org