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 Home>Communications>AgCenter Leads>

Office of Intellectual Property Turns 25

In 2012, the LSU AgCenter Office of Intellectual Property celebrated its 25th anniversary. During that time it grew to be the leader in commercialization of intellectual property within the LSU System and, in fact, within higher education in Louisiana. Since 2000, 14 new companies have been started based on licensing technology from the AgCenter. Royalties from these companies and from other licensing agreements are distributed among the LSU System, the inventors and the AgCenter, where funds are funneled back into more research. The most lucrative of these licensing agreements has been with the international chemical company BASF for a herbicide-resistant line of rice varieties known as Clearfield.

The successful commercialization of intellectual property has come about because of the research culture within the LSU AgCenter. This culture has focused on applied research – research conducted with practical implications for the clientele. Since 1887, when research first began in the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station – the research arm of the AgCenter – scientists have aimed their efforts at practical solutions for the problems of growing food and fiber and raising livestock in a subtropical climate. To advance the adoption of new technology, the research culture in the AgCenter also has involved close working relationships with businesses and industry.

The LSU AgCenter is one of the nation’s best examples of how an institution of higher education can serve as a stimulus to economic growth. Its history is one of keeping the agriculture industry in the state alive and thriving. Its record is one of conducting research with practical, immediate application and in collaborative partnerships with business and industry.

Facts about LSU AgCenter intellectual property:

  • The Office of Intellectual Property in the AgCenter was established in 1991.
  • Seventeen licenses were executed in 2011; 67 total licenses with 44 licenses that are generating income; total income of $10.6 million.
  • 56 Material Transfer Agreements were executed last year for sharing of material and research collaboration with potential commercial partners.
  • The first LSU faculty member to receive a patent was a Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station scientist; this patent was issued to Donal Day at the Audubon Sugar Institute in 1984.
  • Inventors receive 40 percent of the income from royalties. The LSU System receives 10 percent, and the LSU AgCenter, 50 percent, which goes back into the research program.

Successful companies resulting from LSU AgCenter licensing agreements include:

H&B Beverages

H&B Beverages LLC, is a sports drink company focusing on low-sugar, low-calorie products high in electrolytes and other valuable nutrients. Their drink line, EX5, uses technology developed by John Finley, Joan King, Darryl Holliday, Adriana Soto and Alfredo Prudente at the Department of Food Science to achieve this unique set of benefits. EX5 is best known for having three times as many electrolytes as leading competing products, such as Gatorade and Powerade. The company was established in Covington, La., in 2011 by local entrepreneurs Brian Brothers and Craig P. Hart. The company has recently begun distribution of its product.

Esperance

Esperance Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a Baton Rouge-based biopharmaceutical company that develops novel targeted anticancer agents based on patented technologies from the LSU AgCenter, Pennington Biomedical Research Center and LSU A&M.

Hole Pluggers/TigerBullets

TigerBullets are a new type of plastic-and-wood composite that prevents lost circulation in oil drilling wells. The technology was licensed from the LSU AgCenter by the Louisiana startup company Hole Pluggers. The company has entered into a worldwide distribution agreement with MI Swaco (a subsidiary of Halliburton).

Delta Land Services

Delta Land Services is a varied company that has partnered with the LSU AgCenter to develop a marsh remediation and coastal restoration technology. Delta is a local Louisiana company commercializing the LSU AgCenter technology under the trade name Shore Links to deliver a low-cost solution for coastal wetland protection and restoration.

TGRx

TransGenRx, a biopharmaceutical manufacturing company, has developed technology that significantly reduces the cost of producing protein-based drugs by using a high-expressing avian cell line combined with their patented vector system.

BASF/Clearfield Rice

Clearfield rice is a herbicide-resistant rice developed by the LSU AgCenter and grown around the world under exclusive license to BASF. This technology revolutionized the rice industry. It allows farmers to make considerable progress against the weed red rice. Because Clearfield is herbicide-resistant, farmers can use herbicides to kill the red rice without harming the commercial rice. The technology allows farmers to drill-seed rice into dry soil instead of water-seeding from the air, which is more expensive and can lead to more soil loss from the fields.

“Looking back is not nearly as exciting as looking forward,” said Wade Baumgartner, director of the Office of Intellectual Property. “Over the next five years, it is the goal of the AgCenter’s Office of Intellectual Property to remake technology transfer on our campus. We will continue the traditional functions of technology transfer – patenting, material transfers and licensing. But more importantly, we want to build a community among our researchers, Louisiana businesses and investors, and small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“The formula for success in the next 25 years will be the same as in the previous 25 years – having the right people with the right attitude moving in concert toward a worthwhile goal.”

The LSU AgCenter is one of 10 institutions of higher education in the Louisiana State University System. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, it provides educational services in every parish and conducts research and extension programs that contribute to the economic development of the state. The LSU AgCenter does not grant degrees nor benefit from tuition increases. The LSU AgCenter plays an integral role in supporting agricultural industries, enhancing the environment, and improving the quality of life through nutrition education and 4-H youth, family and community programs.

Last Updated: 4/25/2013 1:30:06 PM

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