University of Oregon startups contributed nearly $40 million to the state economy in 2012

EUGENE, Ore. — (April 4, 2013) — Figures released by the University of Oregon office of Technology Transfer Services showed annual increases in both employment and revenue from UO’s startup companies. In fiscal year 2012, the UO family of entrepreneurial start-up companies generated more than 270 jobs and nearly $40 million in company income in Oregon alone.

“Research conducted at the University of Oregon gives rise to new innovations, which serve as the basis for many Oregon start-up companies,” said Charles Williams, assistant vice president for innovation. “As these firms have matured, their impact on the state and local economy has increased significantly in spite of the difficult business environment over the last four years.”

The Technology Transfer office seeks to accelerate the adoption of innovations derived from UO research and education. The office’s 2012 employment numbers represented an increase of 8.3 percent from 2011. Revenue in 2012 jumped 11.1 percent from the previous year.

Each year an average of two UO startup companies are born. The university’s roster of firms numbered 22 in FY 2012 and included the following companies:

  • MitoSciences, a Eugene company that provides critical biological tools (antibodies and assays) to aid in the development of diagnostic tests and drugs to treat cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic disorders
  • Perpetua, a Corvallis firm that makes renewable energy solutions for wireless sensors.
  • Avant Assessment, a Eugene firm that designs, develops and provides Web-based language testing software for clients around the globe.
  • Cascade ProDrug Inc., a drug discovery company developing targeted therapeutics against hyperproliferative diseases that won last year’s Willamette Angel Conference investment prize.

UO innovation also generates licensing revenue from UO’s startup companies, established companies and UO programs directly licensing education tools across the globe. UO research innovations generated approximately $8 million in licensing revenue for the Oregon economy in FY 2012. In FY12, the UO’s Return on Innovation (licensing income divided by research expenditures) was 8.9 percent, ranking UO in the top 20 U.S. universities.

“The UO is nationally recognized for translating basic research discoveries into practical applications, and as these numbers demonstrate, the real world impact of those research discoveries is significant,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation and dean of the graduate school. “In addition to creating new businesses, new jobs and energizing the Oregon economy, research attracts world-class faculty and outstanding students and enriches our civic, social and cultural landscape.”