Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

October 23, 2014

Record number of Pitt patents awarded

Pitt innovators were awarded a record number of 74 patents in fiscal year 2014, up 45 percent from 51 in FY13. And more innovations are in the pipeline: 88 applications were submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during FY14, according to the Innovation Institute’s FY14 annual report.

Disclosures increase

Invention disclosures, the first step in commercializing an innovation, were up 7.9 percent over FY13. More than 500 faculty, staff and students were involved in the 274 invention disclosures filed in FY14. Nearly one-third of the 518 innovators were students or postdocs.


A $35.6 million patent infringement settlement from Varian Medical Systems (see Aug. 30, 2012, University Times) bolstered revenue from the University’s commercialization activities in FY14. The $41.8 million bottom line included $4.2 million in other licensing revenue and $2 million in patent expense reimbursement.


A total of 150 licenses/options for Pitt innovations were executed in FY14, down slightly from 155 a year ago.

The total includes six startups:

• Diamond Kinetics

Engineering and materials science faculty member William “Buddy” Clark, with a University of Michigan collaborator, developed a motion-analytics device that can help baseball players improve their swing and find the right bat.

The company’s SwingTracker product allows users to view their swing and motion data and compare their swing against other players. Its BatFitter product helps players determine the optimal bat size.

• Nanovision Diagnostics

This startup is focused on better diagnosing cancerous cells using a phase microscopy-based optical system developed by faculty members Yang Liu of bioengineering and medicine and Randall Brand of medicine. The system can map cell architecture in 3-D and enable changes in the cell to be measured at nanoscale, aiding early diagnosis.

• Peptilogics

This startup uses peptides developed by Ronald Montelaro, faculty in microbiology and molecular genetics, and postdoc Jonathan Steckbeck to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

• Sofregen Medical

This startup is based on an injectable silk scaffold material that can be used to restore volume and regenerate soft tissue defects. Kacey Marra and J. Peter Rubin, faculty in plastic surgery, developed the material in collaboration with researchers from Tufts.

• UbiCue

This startup centers on a mobile app that helps clinicians communicate in real-time with patients who have chronic illness as a means of helping them self-manage their care.

Andrea Fairman, now a faculty member in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, developed the telerehabilitation platform with a team of researchers as a PhD candidate in rehabilitation science and technology.

• Western Oncolytics

This startup has licensed cancer therapies developed by Stephen Thorne, a faculty member in surgery and immunology. The therapy uses genetically engineered viruses to attack cancer cells while delivering therapeutic genes.


The Innovation Institute ( was formed in 2013 by merging the Office of Technology Management, the Office of Enterprise Development and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

— Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 5