Universities in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom have reportedly embraced a 2010 Glasgow University initiative under which companies interested in partnerships with the institutions gain automatic ownership of intellectual property subject to the collaborations. In return, the companies generally take responsibility for filing and maintaining the patents and sharing royalties after a patent starts generating revenue. The partner ships aim to ease access to a university’s research expertise to stimulate innovation. Most of the no-fee licenses granted involve small- and mediumsized companies.

Meanwhile, according to an analysis of 387 public-private partnerships that were active in 2012, including research institutes, major areas of interest include cancer, infectious diseases and diagnostics/pharmacogenetics. Harvard University and the University of Texas system reportedly lead the list of universities with the most industry deals; and Cambridge, U.K.-based Horizon Discovery, which focuses on gene-editing, closed five academic deals during the year, more than several large pharmaceutical companies. See Nature Biotechnology, May 2013.