Overview

There are thousands of companies founded by members of the Yale community. Many of these businesses, including Pinterest, FedEx and Twitch, did not use intellectual property owned by the University. Other startup companies were formed to commercialize inventions that are subject to the intellectual property polices of Yale University—founded on technologies that were created with more than incidental use of Yale resources or in the course of the inventors’ institutional responsibilities for research and education.

Startups are a critical part of Yale’s total efforts to commercialize innovations out of faculty labs. Approximately half of all exclusive licenses are to startup companies. Some examples of startups based on intellectual property owned by Yale and licensed through the Office of Cooperative Research include: Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Arvinas, CGI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Gilead Sciences), Hadapt (acquired by Teradata), HistoRX (acquired by Genoptix), Kolltan, Melinta Therapeutics, Oasys Water, SilviaTerra and VaxInnate.  

When Yale intellectual property is the basis for a startup company, Yale’s goal is to maximize the chances of successfully developing and commercializing the technology while prioritizing the University’s missions of research and education. This obligation is the shared responsibility of OCR and the startup entrepreneurs, especially if they expect to maintain connections to the University (as faculty, staff or students) during the creation of the startup or after it is launched. This guide summarizes some of these duties, but individuals are expected to take responsibility for knowing and following Yale’s policies about conflicts of commitment and conflicts of interest and related matters. These policies can be found here.

Most Yale technologies are at a very early stage of development, and will require significant investment to bring them to the marketplace. To do this, startup entrepreneurs must have a passion that borders on irrational optimism and faith in the technologies, along with an eagerness to commit their own time and resources to develop these inventions. OCR also brings significant passion and resources to working with new companies to help them succeed. We do not claim to know which new ventures will be successful—that’s left to luck and hard work—but we want to work with these new companies so they can get a start.