Johns Hopkins Gazette | December 15, 2008
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University December 15, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 15
Deal of the Year Award Goes to Johns Hopkins Tech Transfer

Staff honored for raising $76 million, spinning out 12 companies

By Phil Sneiderman

Citing impressive achievements in moving academic research into commercial ventures, a Maryland business group has selected the Johns Hopkins University Office of Technology Transfer as a winner in its fourth annual Deal of the Year competition.

The Maryland Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth recently chose the Johns Hopkins staff for top honors in technology and biotechnology, one of three categories in which awards were given. In announcing the selection, the association chapter praised Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer for its role in spinning out 12 companies and raising $76 million for these ventures over the past year.

Aris Melissaratos, senior adviser to the university's president for enterprise development, pointed out that the business launches and fund raising took place "in a difficult economic environment, and this speaks to the quality and potential of the science. This also is a tribute to the culture change being achieved throughout all schools of The Johns Hopkins University."

The university performed $1.55 billion in science, medical and engineering research in fiscal year 2007, making it the leading U.S. academic institution in total research and development spending for the 29th year in a row, according to the latest National Science Foundation ranking. Johns Hopkins recently launched a strategic initiative to encourage more effective commercialization of its research.

Melissaratos, a former secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, joined Johns Hopkins in 2007. He has been instrumental in these efforts to enhance commercialization and entrepreneurial initiatives while maintaining the university's traditional research focus by stabilizing the Technology Transfer Office under the leadership of Wes Blakeslee and Glen Steinbach, who are supported by a skilled technical and administrative staff.

The 12 Johns Hopkins start-ups launched in fiscal year 2008 focused on potential medical and public health treatments and diagnostic tools. Their goals included cancer treatments, tissue regeneration for nerve injuries, stem cell therapy and remediation of polluted groundwater.

Seven of the companies are based in Maryland, three of them in the new Science + Technology Park near the Johns Hopkins medical campus in East Baltimore.

The university's technology transfer staff hopes to maintain this momentum over the coming year. "We have an additional 21 potential companies in the start-up pipeline," Blakeslee said, "many of which will hopefully be spun out in the next 12 months."


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