McKelvey School of Engineering School of Medicine

Inventive pathways

BioSTL in the Cortex Innovation District is a launch zone for WashU startups. Young businesses often start at a single lab bench in the innovation hub. As they grow, startups such as Arch Oncology (viewed on the second floor), move to larger spaces in the building. (Photo: Matt Miller)

Moving innovations out of the so-called ivory tower and into the public domain holds enormous power to treat disease and improve quality of life.

But while academic researchers and physicians may imagine promising clinical solutions, some are unprepared to navigate commercialization: pitching themselves, attracting investors, wrangling with intellectual property law, designing rigorous proof-of-concept studies, locating a commercial space and hiring talent.

Taking an idea from the lab bench to market typically spans a decade.

Washington University is working to empower faculty inventors — paving pathways, clearing obstacles and dedicating significant resources to technology transfer.

At the School of Medicine, entrepreneurial momentum is surging. Leaders say the institution has only begun to realize its potential.

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