Li­cens­ing rev­enue spiked in fis­cal 2016 for Hop­kins

$58 mil­lion triple the amount gained last year

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Sarah Gantz sarah.gantz@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sarah­gantz

The Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity earned $58 mil­lion in li­cens­ing rev­enue in its 2016 fis­cal year, three times more than in the prior year.

Johns Hop­kins Tech­nol­ogy Ven­tures, the univer­sity’s com­mer­cial­iza­tion of­fice, at­trib­uted the spike in part to a ma­jor sub­li­cens­ing deal be­tween one of its port­fo­lio com­pa­nies, Im­mu­nomic Ther­a­peu­tics, and Ja­panese phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany Astel­las Pharma.

Changes to the way the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of­fice struc­tures li­cens­ing deals to in­crease up-front pay­ment also contributed, said Neil Veloso, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of tech­nol­ogy trans­fer at Johns Hop­kins Tech­nol­ogy Ven­tures.

Li­cens­ing rev­enue of nearly $60 mil­lion isn’t sus­tain­able for Hop­kins just yet, Veloso said. But as the univer­sity con­tin­ues a push to com­mer­cial­ize more research and adds more com­pa­nies like Im­mu­nomic to its port­fo­lio, Hop­kins should see li­cens­ing rev­enue grow, he said.

Hop­kins spends more on research and de­vel­op­ment than any other in­sti­tu­tion — $2.24 billion in fis­cal 2014, about $1.9 billion of which was fed­er­ally funded. But the univer­sity his­tor­i­cally has lagged be­hind other top research uni­ver­si­ties in com­mer­cial­iz­ing its research find­ings.

In­sti­tu­tions that are con­sid­ered lead­ers in research com­mer­cial­iza­tion, such as Stan­ford Univer­sity and the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, have been suc­cess­ful in bring­ing to mar­ket prod­ucts that ben­e­fit so­ci­ety and pro­vide roy­alty pay­ments, Veloso said.

“You can tell from the Im­mu­nomic deal we’re get­ting to that stage, where we have tech­nolo­gies that are mov­ing along,” Veloso said. “Once we get a nice port­fo­lio of those, I would ex­pect to see the same types of re­turns.”

In Oc­to­ber 2015, Im­mu­nomic, a biotech­nol­ogy com­pany us­ing Hop­kins ther­a­peu­tics research to de­velop new vac­cines, reached a $300 mil­lion deal to li­cense its tech­nol­ogy to Astel­las Pharma.

Astel­las plans to use Im­mu­nomic’s vac­cine de­sign to de­velop new prod­ucts to treat and pre­vent al­ler­gic dis­eases. In ad­di­tion to the up-front pay­ment of $300 mil­lion, the univer­sity gets 10 per­cent roy­al­ties on sales.

Veloso said he sees the most po­ten­tial for Hop­kins in ther­a­peu­tics, which is any tech­nol­ogy that can change the way dis­ease is treated, such as new ther­a­pies or drugs. As demand for this type of tech­nol­ogy grows among in­vestors and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies, Hop­kins has been able to get more value out of its ther­a­peu­tic tech­nolo­gies.

Veloso de­clined to dis­cuss specifics about how much it costs to li­cense tech­nol­ogy from Hop­kins, but said the price varies, de­pend­ing on the tech­nol­ogy, with a pre­mium on higher-demand tech­nolo­gies.

Hop­kins also is shift­ing the way it struc­tures li­cens­ing agree­ments so that it re­ceives more pay­ment up front. In the past, the univer­sity may have re­ceived a greater por­tion of its li­cens­ing pay­ment when the part­ner com­pany hit mile­stones or brought its prod­uct to mar­ket. That ap­proach meant tak­ing on more risk, as not all com­pa­nies suc­ceed.

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