Ohio State has signed an agreement with a software company that is set to bring in several million dollars over the course of the contract.
OSU announced the signing of an agreement with Signet Accel LLC Tuesday afternoon. The deal has already brought OSU $275,000 in an upfront licensing payment, which goes to “the university and the College of Medicine,” according to an OSU release.
The release also said the agreement “is projected to generate several million dollars in licensing fees during the life of the agreement, as well as equity for the university.”
Melanie Baker, a spokeswoman for OSU’s Technology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer office, was not able to provide information about the exact value of the agreement and the terms of the contract because she said the agreement’s terms are “confidential.”
“The agreement includes an up-front licensing fee of $275,000, equity, royalties and minimum annual payments which will result in significant and sustained financial benefits to the university and to the College of Medicine,” she said in an email.
Signet Accel, which was founded by two OSU faculty members, will aim to find technology solutions to issues in health care and life sciences — its applications are set to allow for data sharing and analytics in areas like improving clinical trials and improving the quality of health care delivery, according to the release.
OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Joseph Steinmetz said the deal relates to the university’s Discovery Themes initiative.
“Most research and industry sectors see the value of leveraging big data and realize how instrumental the analysis is to the progress of our global society,” Steinmetz said in a released statement. “The foundation of the university’s first Discovery Themes initiative is comprised of research involving data analytics. Ohio State continues to focus on data analytics and providing opportunities for students and researchers to further explore this ever-expanding field.”
The Discovery Themes initiative, which was launched in October 2012, targets health and wellness, energy and environment and food production and food security — areas identified by some OSU officials as university priority areas. The $400 million plan includes expanding research and hiring new faculty.
OSU plans to bring in about 500 tenured or tenure-track faculty over the next 10 years as part of the initiative, costing about $100 million. There is also set to be $250 million in one-time funding made available for startup costs like staff, equipment and facilities. That money is slated to be obtained through monetization efforts, affinity agreements and cost-saving initiatives outlined in the OSU strategic plan, according to the Discovery Themes website.
For the new faculty hires besides those each college has allocated for, approximately $50 million is slated to be provided by the Office of Academic Affairs. The funding is set to be taken from increases in OSU’s endowments. That $50 million is also set to be matched by OSU’s colleges to total $100 million for new faculty, half of which will be reserved for hiring tenured and tenure-track faculty with focuses in Discovery Theme areas, according to the website.
Signet Accel plans to open a location near OSU’s campus to allow it to “take advantage of a highly skilled biomedical and computational work force being trained at the university,” according to the release.
The technology set to be involved in the new agreement was developed by OSU’s Department of Biomedical Informatics, where the two faculty members who founded Signet Accel are employed.
“Our innovative technology platform allows health care organizations to share and analyze data in ways that have not previously been possible, eliminating the technical and regulatory challenges that result from trying to centralize sensitive information and enabling those entities to generate critical insights from distributed and complex data in a highly secure and on-demand manner,” said Philip Payne, the department’s chair and one of the co-founders, in a released statement. Peter Embi, vice chair of the department, was the other co-founder.
Baker, too, said the agreement is set to benefit health care organizations.
“At the core of this collaboration is a unique set of technologies that have resulted from over a decade of research at Ohio State, and that allows healthcare organizations to quickly, easily, and securely share their data, without the costs and difficulties of centralizing such information,” Baker said.
The company that formed Signet Accel, Akron-based Signet Enterprises LLC, works in business development and corporate financing. Its chairman, Anthony Manna, is an OSU alumnus.
“Signet and Ohio State share a passion for advancing faculty-developed technologies into the global marketplace,” Manna said in a released statement. “The team from Signet, led by Aaron Bates (COO) and George Ammar (CFO), worked with Ohio State to advance this technology and develop a model that Ohio State and Signet will use for future opportunities. As an Ohio State alumnus, I am very proud of this collaboration that also benefits my alma mater.”