OHSU Cashes in on Technology Start-Up Company

04/24/00    Portland, Ore.

University Receives $1.4 Million Dividends from Drug Development Company

Oregon Health Sciences University recently cashed in $1.4 million of stock to help fund further research and new technology start-ups at the university.

OHSU cashed in part of its holdings in Neurocrine Biosciences, a San Diego-based clinical drug development company. The university holds the company's stock as a result of a 1997 transaction in which Neurocrine Biosciences acquired OHSU's spin-out company Northwest NeuroLogic in a stock trade then valued at more than $4 million. At the time, Neurocrine stock was valued at $8 a share, but the company's stock recently traded as high as $45 a share. Proceeds from the stock sale will fund further biomedical research and support ongoing technology transfer activities, including the startup of more companies to develop new health care products.

"The wonderful benefit of this investment is that it will fuel the cycle of important biomedical research here in Oregon," said Todd Sherer, director of Technology and Research Collaborations at OHSU. "Our goal is to take this research to develop clinical drugs to help patients, and then use proceeds from those developments to invest in further research."

Neurocrine Biosciences has an exclusive license for technology developed in the laboratories of Susan Amara, Ph.D., and Roger Cone, Ph.D., senior scientists at the Vollum Institute at OHSU. These technologies enable the rapid identification and development of drugs designed to treat neurodegenerative disorders and obesity. Last year, Neurocrine Biosciences entered into collaboration with Wyeth-Ayerst to develop and commercialize compounds based on the OHSU-licensed technology. Amara and Cone also will receive a portion of the proceeds from the stock sale.

As part of its health care and research missions, OHSU transfers technologies resulting from its research to existing companies, and founds new companies to develop health care products. Northwest NeuroLogic was one of 15 companies spun out of the university and remains a division of Neurocrine Biosciences. OHSU currently holds equity in 10 companies. OHSU scientists have introduced about 400 inventions since 1985 and have averaged three inventions a month since 1997. To date, OHSU has earned about $5 million from management of its inventions. This income is returned to inventors and departments for further research.