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Drexel Advances Among Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted US Utility Patents in 2017

UE Lifesciences’ iBreastExam detects tumors early at the point of care without the need for radiation, and has been used to provide 120,000 breast examinations.
UE Lifesciences’ iBreastExam detects tumors early at the point of care without the need for radiation, and has been used to provide 120,000 breast examinations.

A list released this week by the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association showed that Drexel University once again ranked in the world’s top 100 for patents granted in the United States in the past year — and that the University moved up 18 spots from its rank in last year’s list.

The report, which uses data obtained from the United States Patent and Trademark Office to demonstrate how patents reflect university research and innovation, ranked Drexel at 54, as compared to last year’s standing of 72. In this year’s list, Drexel is in a three-way tie with Emory University and Indiana University.

The Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility report rankings are calculated using the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that list a university — which is defined in this instance as an institution granting undergraduate-level degrees — as the first assignee on the issued patent during the 2017 calendar year. The university’s individual rank positions are often separated by a relatively small difference in the number of issued patents, of which Drexel received 45 last year.

The issued patents covered the range of research areas that Drexel investigators explore every day. They include a patent covering the non-invasive tumor detector developed by Wan Shih, PhD, a professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, and Wei-heng Shih, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering, that was brought to market by UE Lifesciences. Another patent covers new drugs to treat Parkinson’s Disease that was developed by Sandhya Kortagere, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Medicine, and is being developed by the Drexel start-up company PolyCore. A multi-touch piano keyboard developed by Youngmoo Kim, PhD, a professor in the College of Engineering and director of the Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center, and colleagues in the ExCITe Center is also on the market and protected by another of these patents. In addition, a robotic tool initially developed by Paul Callomon, collection manager at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, to aid in the photographic cataloguing of the Academy’s extensive collections also made the grade.

“Our consistent ranking in this global group of institutions is an illustration of the creative, intellectual and productive nature of our talented faculty, and the Drexel Ventures team’s commitment to supporting them through the management and commercialization of the University’s intellectual property,” said Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations and Economic Development Keith Orris. Orris leads Drexel Ventures, a University accelerator whose mission is “to amplify Drexel’s capacity for translational research and commercialization through seamless integration of technology transfer, venture development services, industry collaboration, incubation space and capital.”

The NAI and IPO have published the report annually since 2013 to highlight the vital role patents play in university research and innovation. Drexel has been recognized as a member of this group of innovative universities since the inaugural report was issued. The University’s success in patenting its technologies is just one aspect of its overall program to bring Drexel technologies to the marketplace. In 2017, the Milken Institute ranked Drexel’s Technology Commercialization program as one of the top 50 institutions in the U.S., as previously noted in a DrexelNow article.

“Drexel’s ranking among the top universities in the world is a direct reflection of the creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship of our faculty and students. Their drive to find novel solutions to challenges and problems makes all of this possible,” said Senior Associate Vice Provost for Technology Commercialization Bob McGrath of Drexel Ventures.