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Report Shows Academia-Industry Technology Transfer Contributed Up to $1.18 Trillion to U.S. Economy Since 1996

Policymakers Should Consider This Economic Value When Addressing Patent Reform

(Business Wire A newly released independent study, commissioned by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), documents the significant impact academia-industry technology transfer makes to the U.S. economy.

The report, entitled, “The Economic Contribution of University/Nonprofit Inventions in the United States: 1996- 2013,” estimates that, during this 18-year time period, academia-industry patent licensing bolstered U.S. gross industry output by up to $1.18 trillion, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by up to $518 billion, and supported up to 3,824,000 U.S. jobs.

Download the Report at:

“This study provides further evidence that the Bayh-Dole Act, which allows inventions arising from federally-funded research to be patented and licensed by the research institution, has been enormously successful in encouraging industry to partner with academic institutions to turn basic research into new and valuable companies, jobs, and products that are driving America’s innovation economy. As Congress considers changes to our patent system, policymakers should keep in mind the value of commercialized academic research and the good, high-paying jobs it generates throughout the country,” said BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood.

The study documents the sizeable return that U.S. taxpayers receive on their investment in federally-funded research through the Bayh-Dole Act. It also complements the annual licensing impact survey conducted by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), the most recent version of which showed that –

  • 818 start-up companies formed around academic patents (up 16% from 2012) – or more than two new companies created every working day of the year;
  • 4,200 start-ups in operation, mostly located in the same state as the parent research institution, creating regional economic development;
  • $22.8 billion in product sales from commercialized academic inventions; and
  • 719 new products introduced into the market (up 22% from 2012) – or more than two new products introduced every day of the year.

“We cannot take tech transfer, or the U.S. patent system upon which it is based, for granted, particularly in the current economy and in light of the continuing attacks by some on our patent system. Preserving this system is critical to ensuring continued U.S. economic revival and spurring the next wave of American innovation in the life sciences,” said Greenwood. “The ties between biotechnology and academic research have always been critical. Often, biotech companies license technologies from academic or nonprofit research institutions, and the continuation of this relationship – along with a strong, dependable patent system and flexible licensing practices – is essential to maintaining America’s global leadership in biotech innovation.”

For example, the basic science that led to the development by the biotech industry of many life-saving medicines began with federally-funded research, including vaccines against hepatitis B and cervical cancer, cancer medicines, and human growth hormones.

“Federally-funded research and the incentives of the Bayh-Dole Act lay the foundation for these successes, but turning basic discoveries into breakthrough medicines, cleaner energy, and enhanced crops takes years of hard work by entrepreneurial companies and investors willing to risk billions of dollars to fund that development,” Greenwood concluded.

The report was commissioned by BIO and authored by Lori Pressman, David Roessner, Jennifer Bond, Sumiye Okubo, and Mark Planting. It is available at

About BIO

BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industry and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIO produces BIOtechNOW, an online portal and monthly newsletter chronicling “innovations transforming our world.” Subscribe to BIOtechNOW.