Growing faculty entrepreneurs is aim of UM System’s new express license

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Zhi Xu

UMSL researcher Zhi Xu’s research in optical analytical instrumentation led to the founding of St. Louis Medical Devices, a startup company that is continuing development of Xu’s non-invasive glucose monitoring device designed to help the more than 425 million diabetics worldwide better monitor glucose levels without the pain of drawing blood and avoid serious negative health outcomes such as kidney failure, blindness, amputation and death. For more on Xu’s research, access: http://www.umsl.edu/chemistry/Faculty/xu.html. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Each year, University of Missouri System faculty create startup companies based on their innovations in research and new technologies. These companies generate value by bringing research discoveries to the marketplace and contributing to the University’s $5.4 billion annual impact in the state.

To encourage entrepreneurship, the University is now offering a fast-track express license for faculty and staff inventors, enabling them to focus on developing their businesses and commercializing their technologies.

“Scientific, business and legal experts in our UM System technology advancement offices help faculty commercialize their innovations by pursuing patents and negotiating licenses with companies interested in further developing University innovations,” said Mark McIntosh, UM System vice president for research and economic development and MU vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and economic development. “Our new express license makes this process easier to navigate, reduces barriers and streamlines contract negotiations for faculty and staff interested in obtaining a license for their startup company.”

Licenses and other intellectual-property agreements allow companies to access the rights to University-owned inventions. The express license includes favorable predefined terms and conditions for UM inventors who wish to obtain the rights to their innovations for their new startup company.

In his 2018 State of the University address, UM System President Mun Choi announced the appointment of Bill Turpin as interim associate vice chancellor for economic development at MU. Turpin brings experience from a 30-year career as startup founder, investor and executive in technology-based companies. In this new role, he will help the UM System increase revenue from technology advancement, create more industry partnerships and launch new entrepreneurship programs.

“Intellectual property rights are crucial for startups,” said Turpin. “They help companies be more competitive when hiring employees, attracting private investors and applying for such funding as federal Small Business Innovation Research seed grants.”

Each tech advancement office within the UM System is individually responsible for managing and licensing the technologies developed at their respective university. For more information about the express license, view guidelines at umurl.us/elg and contact a university-specific technology advancement director.

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