Commercializing UMass Inventions

As a research-based institution, the University is committed to bringing new innovations to light through the commercialization of inventions developed by its researchers. The University’s Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV) has responsibility for managing commercialization of the University’s research for the benefit of both the University and society. The office also supports the economic development initiatives of the University through company formation and job creation and helps maintain the Commonwealth’s position as a leading developer of cutting-edge technologies. OTCV commercializes research through the formation of new companies, licensing agreements with existing companies, and strategic investments in technologies and companies.

Empowering Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow

The University encourages and supports faculty, researchers, and students in founding their own businesses. Entrepreneurship is not an easy feat; it requires initiative, leadership, and innovation. Entrepreneurship contributes to the UMass mission by:

  • Commercializing technologies for societal good
  • Fostering economic development in Massachusetts
  • Nurturing the innovation ecosystem
  • Enriching campus culture

5 Campuses, 1 Program

To ensure the success of the University community, the UMass campuses and the Office of the President have founded the UMass Entrepreneurship Commons, a system-wide program aimed at assisting in the commercialization of University research and inventions through start-up formation.

The Commons fosters participation and sharing of resources pertaining to entrepreneurial activities and endeavors of UMass faculty, researchers and students. The Commons primary objectives are to:

  • Serve and support entrepreneurial activities of UMass faculty, researchers and students
  • Increase coordination, sharing and awareness of existing programs and resources across campuses
  • Support and encourage broader use of UMass resources by the UMass community
  • Enhance and develop programs to fill important gaps in the support of entrepreneurship on the campuses
  • Increase internal and external awareness of entrepreneurship throughout UMass

Recent Startups

  • Amherst completed an exclusive license to Felsuma LLC to develop Geckskin technology. The novel technology can replace Velcro and also has a range of other products as an adhesive. The company has raised $1.2M to date, which includes an investment by the University from the UMass Equity Fund. Additional funding is being sought.
  • A second start-up, Voyager Therapeutics, received a license for RNA technology developed by Professors Phil Zamore, Guangping Guo, Neil Aronin and others. Voyager was formed to develop life-changing gene therapies for fatal and debilitating diseases of the central nervous system. Third Rock Ventures invested $45M in its Series A round.
  • UMass Amherst licensed a technology to a startup, Sonation, which developed a software technology musical accompaniment. The product, called Cadenza, simulates playing with a full band or orchestra that listens and responds to the user's style. It is currently being sold online as an app for iPad and will be developed for other devices.
  • Tatt, LLC is a recently formed company based on technology that uses siRNA to preserve organs for transplantation. The technology helps minimize 1) organ rejection, 2) transplantation-mediated transmission of viral infection, and 3) the triggering of apoptosis in transplanted tissue.

For more information on entrepreneurship and commercialization, visit the OTCV website. The information presented on this website is designed to assist faculty and students understand the basic steps inventors take going from idea to launch – whether they are thinking of building a new start-up or licensing technology to an existing company.