Illinois may not be regarded as a technology transfer hub on par with traditional powers like Massachusetts, California and Michigan, but the state's universities have been making significant strides toward commercializing their intellectual property in recent years. According to the latest index compiled by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, Illinois schools are now licensing IP more frequently than at any point in the past decade.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 140 separate licenses came directly from public and private university campuses in 2010.
"It shows there is concerted effort to move innovation through the pipeline," Illinois Science and Technology Coalition CEO Mark Harris told Crain's Chicago Business. "What we're seeing is the state's universities are really tying together multiple programs - linking business schools and research programs, tapping into all their resources, forming incubators and technology parks."
Research coordinators are hoping to see a more concerted effort from the business community as well. According to Crain's, biomedical startups like AuraSense Therapeutics provide an excellent example of the value companies can find in university partnerships. The company is actually the third spinoff of a single patent held by Northwestern University professor Chad Mirkin.