The Nanotechnology Institute™ (NTI), the region’s first multi-institutional partnership created to accelerate nanotechnology commercialization and company formation, was re-funded with $1.16M from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Nanotechnology Institute

Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA) approved $1.16M to the NTI to continue to provide services for Technology Commercialization, as well as Enterprise and Cluster Development. Additionally, funds will be used to leverage the successful programs of both the NTI and Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center. The joint venture will create a statewide collaboration to facilitate the matching of resources for industry-based developers of nano-innovations with providers and experts of advanced nanotechnology instrumentation.

“The support the commonwealth provides to our universities, researchers and entrepreneurs is often that last piece of the puzzle needed to take new products to market, build new companies, and create high-paying jobs,” Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker said. “With continued growth in early-stage and established technology firms, Pennsylvania can become a world leader in accelerating and supporting innovation.”

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP), the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University created the NTI in 2000 to coalesce the region’s efforts around nanotechnology. Today, the NTI has more than 740 Intellectual Property assets under management, has attracted more than $280M in public and private investment to the region, and has created more than 30 companies.

“The support the commonwealth provides to our universities, researchers and entrepreneurs is often that last piece of the puzzle needed to take new products to market, build new companies, and create high-paying jobs,” Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker said. “With continued growth in early-stage and established technology firms, Pennsylvania can become a world leader in accelerating and supporting innovation.”

“In the past three years of the NTI, the number of new IP assets, technology licenses, and new company spinoffs has exceeded all activities in the previous seven years. Most importantly, these activities are being reflected in real economic impact for the region in terms of job growth. This reflects not only the maturation of nanotechnology in general, but the success of the NTI model in particular,” said Anthony P. Green, Ph.D., Vice President of Technology Commercialization: Life Sciences for Ben Franklin, and Ben Franklin Director for the NTI.

The NTI 2011 Annual Report was recently released.  NTI funded and supported companies include Keystone Nano, Leversense, Structured Materials Industries, and Sunstone BioSciences, Inc.

NTI is a novel program that has succeeded in removing barriers to innovation, entrepreneurship and the commercialization of university research. The NTI addresses these barriers through completely new thinking and new structures, uniquely combining: (1) core public investment of funds carefully managed by a leadership team that integrates faculty, economic development experts, and technology transfer officials; (2) multi-university participation through a novel, comprehensive IP-pooling and revenue-sharing strategy; (3) strategically-targeted grants to universities and loans to small businesses that promotes faculty-industry collaboration and prioritizes university IP with commercial potential; (4) strong emphasis on interdisciplinary, regional strengths, and high quality research; (5) recruitment of commercialization experts in oversight and program review, and (6) extensive outreach, networking, information sharing, and marketing efforts.

A review of the NTI was recently published in the Nanotechnology Law and Business