UM Ventures is an entrepreneurial powerhouse dedicated to turning the big ideas of faculty and researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) into reality.
This initiative of the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State focuses in part on commercializing university discoveries through partnerships with the private sector and helping them grow the state’s economy.
“Our researchers make discoveries every day,” says James L. Hughes, MBA, co-director of UM Ventures and chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president at UMB. “We’re bringing these inventions out of the lab and into the market, where they can have a local and a global impact.”
In fiscal year 2017, UM Ventures tallied more than 300 potential inventions from faculty, with more than 60 licensed to companies and 14 startup companies. Recent success stories include:
- PaxVax began sales this year of Vaxchora, invented by UMB faculty and the only cholera vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the country.
- IonQ, a UMCP spinout leading the race to create the first quantum computer, closed a $20 million round of funding led by Google Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.
- BioGen purchased a Phase III-ready stroke therapeutic from a UMB startup for $120 million.
- MF Fire, which leveraged technology from UMCP’s Department of Fire Protection Engineering to create the first smart, clean-burning wood stove, has grown sales and received the first investment from the newly launched Maryland Momentum Fund.
- Living Pharma, a UMB cancer immunology startup, was acquired by Maryland-based Lentigen Technology, Inc.
- Analytical Informatics, Inc., a UMB health IT startup, was acquired by global health technology leader Royal Philips of the Netherlands.
- Harpoon Medical, a UMB startup developing a pioneering device to repair heart valves, has been acquired by Edwards Lifesciences, the global leader in medical innovations for structural heart disease.
“Turning invention into products that benefit society is a critical component of our mission as a land-grant university,” says Julie Lenzer, co-director of UM Ventures and UMCP associate vice president of innovation and economic development. “Activating the fearless ideas of our students and faculty will help position the state as a hub of innovation and job creation on the East Coast.”
Beyond fostering discoveries in industry and social ventures and making connections between faculty and industry, UM Ventures works to bring together the expertise of both universities to help companies operate day to day, including legal assistance from the Francis King Carey School of Law, business acumen from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, and technical know-how from the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.