Duke University lands record $65M in licensing revenue, helps launch 17 startups

Date Published:

DURHAM – Duke University’s Office of Licensing and Ventures says its fiscal 2020 year was record-setting, from patents to licensing fees – and the Duke New Ventures program helped launch 17 startups.

Twenty-six of the invention disclosures were Covid-related ideas.

Significantly, revenue from Duke technology soared to $65 million, up from $7 million in fiscal 2019.

“Another record year further demonstrates the innovative culture of faculty and staff at Duke,” said Robin Rasor, executive director of OLV. “These collaborative and multidisciplinary ideas have resulted in more inventions moving out of the lab and onto the market.”

As for startups, Rob Hallford, the director of Duke New Ventures, pointed out:

“Durham and the Triangle remain a great place to start a high-tech company,” said Rob Hallford, the director of DNV. “Over the last few years, we’ve seen strong, investable startups in the emerging fields of gene therapy, vaccine manufacturing, quantum computing, AI, and more, there is a lot of potential for a start-up to stay here and grow.”

Some facts noted by DNW:

  • The Duke New Ventures (DNV) program helped to create 17 new start-ups this year, bringing the total to nearly 160 new companies created since the tech transfer office was formed in 1986
  • Ninety percent of Duke’s startups in the last three years have stayed in North Carolina, including 15 new FY 2020 start-ups.
  • DNV Venture Day and Investor Day resulted in several start-up companies working towards term sheets
  • Duke-hatched companies amassed $270 million in investment
  • More than $35 million of that $270 million staying in North Carolina this past fiscal year

The Office of Licensing & Ventures (OLV)is responsible management of innovations resulting from Duke research – “from creation, to feasibility and marketing, to protection, and on into licensing to commercial partners, for both startups and existing companies,” the university notes.


Start-upWhat they doSchoolInventor
HydreanA mindful tool designed for use by anyone, anywhere, and anytime. Its tactile features link to simple prompts that guide your awareness towards intentional livingTrinityMichael Klien
XilisNext-generation micro-organosphere technology for precision cancer therapySOMXiling Shen, David Hsu
LVMSmall molecule therapeutics for treatment of epilepsySOMJim McNamara
Upstream BiotechnologyDeveloping broad-spectrum disease-resistant crops to eliminate pesticide use, reduce production costs, and increase crop yieldTrinityXinnian Dong
Tumult LabsAlgorithm and software platform that systematically de-identifies data such that original data cannot be reconstructedTrinityAshwin Machanavajjhala
QatchMicrofluidic instrumentation that prescreens injectability and manufacturability of biopharmaceutical drugs to de-risk the preclinical phase in the drug development processPrattZehra Parlak
InSoma BioProtein matrix to stabilize autologous fat graftsPrattStefan Roberts, Tosh Chilkoti
Tellus TherapeuticsDeveloping novel small molecules derived from human maternal breast milk for the treatment of newborns with perinatal brain injurySOMEric Benner
QuadridoxSoftware to simulate X-ray scanner performancePrattJoel Greenberg, Michael Gehm
Avalo BiosciencesEnhancing crop breeding with gene discovery, powered by machine learningTrinityMariano Alvarez, Brendan Collins
SafineAITunable fluorescent labels for flow cytometry and other applicationsPrattRoark Horstmeyer
ImmcureHigh throughput genetic modifications via CRISPRSOMQi-Jing Li, Xiao-Fan Wang
SimbukaDeveloping a low waste incinerator for feminine hygiene productsPrattEdgard Ngaboyamahina
Pluto HealthSoftware to facilitate consent for participants in clinical trialsSOMEric Peterson, Kevin Monroe
Calla Health FoundationCentered on sustainably improving women’s access to cancer prevention for global impactPrattNimmi Ramanujam
ValanBioNew antibiotic that kills bacteria by inhibiting a particular enzyme involved in the synthesis of bacterial outer membraneSOMEric Toone, Pei Zhou
Skincheck360Minimizing the risk of wrong-site skin cancer surgery by utilizing smart devices and computer vision technologySOMJigar Patel 


“Licensing to outside interests, OLV negotiated 105 license agreements, 29 of them exclusive,” the university said.

“In addition, there were 27 option agreements signed, which paves the way for next year’s licenses. The office filed a record 455 U.S. patent applications, up from 360.”

Duke University Graphic

Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire