Wednesday, 9 March 2016

UCLA to Receive Over $500 Million for Royalty Rights in University Developed Invention

This is supposed to be a “record breaking” deal for a University of California developed technology that was transferred to industry.  The invention is the prostate drug Xtandi.  UCLA’s Chancellor Gene Block stated:

Xtandi is the result of a unique collaboration between researchers from various academic units across campus and an outstanding example of basic science leading to a therapy that is bringing extraordinary benefits to prostate cancer patients worldwide.  By selling future royalty rights to Royalty Pharma, we are strategically supporting one of our essential missions — funding and generating research with practical applications that serve the public good. Facilitating equal access to education also is a campus priority, and we will use a portion of the sale proceeds to support scholarships and fellowships.

Wow!  Talk about a dream deal for UCLA.  I am sure that every technology transfer office in the world and supporter of the Bayh-Dole Act generally will point to this deal as justifying all of the changes that the Bayh-Dole Act may have brought to academia.  Notably, the press release states that federal funding for research has been declining and, here, technology transfer is not only helping with more research funding, but also supporting scholarships and fellowships.  It is hard to argue with $500 million.

The press release also notes that:

By selling the royalty interest and prudently investing proceeds, UCLA seeks to provide stability and minimize risk associated with the volatility of the pharmaceutical industry marketplace.  UCLA will hold its share of the proceeds in a broadly diversified portfolio managed by the University of California’s office of the chief investment officer. Based on the pool’s average annual returns, UCLA anticipates it will receive approximately $60 million annually until 2027.

Not a bad idea for sure.   I found this statement in the press release particularly interesting: “UCLA has no role in the marketing or sale of Xtandi.”  Is that UCLA’s way of stating that they are not responsible for the pricing of the drug (and the amount of money spent on marketing)?  The other way to look at this is to say that the public may be paying for the invention twice.  But again, would we have had it or not?  I have to say that I am happy for the good news for UCLA and that there is a successful drug for treatment of prostate cancer. And, congratulations to Westwood Technology Transfer!  (Hat Tip to Technology Transfer Central)

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