Columbia Technology Ventures

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Columbia Technology Ventures (formerly Science and Technology Ventures, also known as Tech Ventures), is the technology transfer office of Columbia University. The office manages Columbia's inventions and intellectual property portfolio. Columbia's technology transfer operation has consistently ranked in the top five of universities for the past decade (measured by annual licensing revenues).

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Purpose

Columbia University is widely recognized and respected as a leading source of new scientific knowledge and innovation in the world. Columbia faculty, students, and research staff transfer much of this knowledge and innovation outside of the university through public discourse and publications. In certain situations, however, it may be appropriate to pursue protection of copyrights or patent rights for some of these new ideas and inventions, in order to provide market incentives to facilitate the transfer and development of new technologies, products, and services.

As a non-profit teaching and research institution, Columbia is not in the business of developing, manufacturing, and selling commercial products. Instead, through Columbia Technology Ventures, Columbia works with commercial partners to develop, adapt, and apply University technology for the benefit of society. Commonly, this is done by licensing technologies to industrial partners who wish to develop products or services based on those technologies. Occasionally, it's more appropriate to create a spin-off to bring a technology to market. Through its Venture Lab program, Columbia Technology Ventures provides advisory and other services and resources to faculty, staff, and students interested in start-ups and entrepreneurship. On average, the office triages more than 300 new invention disclosures, executes 50-60 license deals, and helps launch 10-12 start-ups each year.

History

Columbia Technology Ventures, founded in 1982, has gone through several name changes over the years (formerly known as Science & Technology Ventures (STV), Columbia Innovation Enterprise (CIE), and Office of Science & Technology Development (OSTD)).

Successes, Past and Present

A side-benefit of technology transfer activity is the generation of revenues, which are shared between inventors and the University. Columbia has reinvested these proceeds into recruiting new faculty, building new research programs and departments, and upgrading and expanding campus facilities. According to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM [1]) 2007 Survey, Columbia University received approximately $136M in annual licensing revenues.

Columbia’s inventions are behind several well-known biopharmaceutical products, including Remicade; ReoPro; Tysabri; Erbitux; Simponi; Zolinza; Synagis; Xalatan / Xalcom; Epogen; Avonex; and Herceptin, as well as consumer products, including the Apple iPhone/iTouch, DVDs, LCDs, VOIP, video-on-demand, and HDTV.

Organization, Employment, and Student Participation

Columbia Technology Ventures reports into the Office of the Senior Executive Vice President (currently Robert Kasdin). Orin Herskowitz is the current Executive Director of the office.

The office is run by 45 full-time staff, including 10 PhDs, 9 JDs, and 6 MBAs, at two offices, on Columbia’s Morningside and Medical Center campuses. Columbia Technology Ventures also has a popular program for Columbia graduate students, called the Fellows Program. Through the Fellows Program, students gain a solid introduction to and experience with technology transfer while supporting technology marketing activities, e.g. market research/diligence, business planning, technology marketing, etc.

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