One of the ways that research universities generate income is through developing new intellectual property and licensing it to businesses. These agreements generally allow the university to continue development of the technology for the benefit of their students and for future research.
One example of this is a recent agreement between Cellectics Plant Sciences, Inc. and the University of Minnesota. Professor Dan Voytas developed a system called CRISPR. This system is a new way to manipulate plant genomes. Cellectics is a company that is working on developing healthier food products. The ability to manipulate plant genomes in different ways is a very powerful and potentially lucrative IP, as companies like Monsanto have shown with their GMO products.
Luc Mathis, the CEO of Cellectis, had this to say about the agreement:
“We are pleased to strengthen our collaboration with the University of Minnesota and gain exclusive access to this technology that excites academics and the industrial community for its simple access to design new nucleases. CRISPR technology is being rapidly adopted by the life science community, and we are delighted to expand our technology portfolio to it, opening new opportunities for the commercial development of healthier food products.”
If you are intrigued by research that a university is doing and you have an idea on how you could capitalize on it, speak with an intellectual property lawyer. They can help you negotiate an agreement for the benefit of all the parties.