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September 15, 2016

Pitt innovators get free investor help

Pitt innovators can consult with a potential investor for free during monthly office hours on campus.

The University’s Innovation Institute is partnering with venture capital firm Draper Triangle to provide feedback to faculty, staff or students on how ready their innovations may be for venture capital investment.

Thirty-minute consultations are by appointment only, with the first scheduled for tomorrow, Sept. 16. Other investor office hours this academic year are set for 1-5 p.m. Oct. 28, Dec. 16, Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 31, April 28, May 19 and June 19.

Participants must register in advance. For more information or to make an appointment, visit


Pitt innovators were awarded a record-high 80 patents and 13 startup companies were formed based on technologies developed at the University in fiscal year 2016.

In addition, invention disclosure submissions — the first step in commercializing an innovation — rose to a record-high 314, according to the Innovation Institute’s FY16 figures.

Compared with five years ago, patents issued to University innovators have more than doubled — rising 116 percent over FY11’s 37 — and the number of startups has jumped 450 percent from two in FY11.

License revenues have risen 19 percent to $7.33 million, up from $6.17 million in FY11, and invention disclosures have risen 22 percent, up from 257 in that same time frame.

Marc Malandro, the Innovation Institute’s director, said: “As these results clearly demonstrate, the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is accelerating at Pitt. The establishment in fiscal year 2016 of the Chancellor’s Innovation Commercialization Funds, which will provide $1 million in gap funding for promising Pitt innovations over two fiscal years, provides a significant boost to our commercialization efforts and will help us carry the positive momentum through the new fiscal year.”

Several Pittsburgh-based ventures are among the companies formed in FY16. They include Ocugenix, which has an exclusive option to license Pitt technology to treat glaucoma and macular degeneration; Interphase Materials, which has developed antifouling compounds licensed from Pitt for preventing the collection of barnacles and mussels on boats, ships and industrial water intake systems; and SkinJect, which licensed Pitt technology for treating skin cancer with microneedle patches.

—From staff reports 

Filed under: Feature,Volume 49 Issue 2

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