Thanks to a new commercialization agreement between UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, a test to determine if treatment is needed for aggressive prostate cancer will be pushed to market sooner.

The new agreement will bring medical advances to the public more rapidly and it will support new business startups, bringing more economic benefits – like new jobs – to the region.

“The agreement, in general, could take 90 days off the process,” says Tal Heppenstall, treasurer of the UPMC health system and president of UPMC Enterprises, the arm of UPMC responsible for identifying and commercializing health care technologies and services.

Helping to bolster the transition from research to commercialization, the agreement features pre-negotiated terms like licensing, royalty arrangement and equity in new companies. It will also support new business startups spinning out of research done at Pitt.

The first technology to be licensed by UPMC Enterprises under the agreement is the highly accurate test for prostate cancer that developed through a genetic discovery, Pitt and UPMC announced.

“We have a bunch (of new ideas and technologies) on the horizon. We’re getting a couple hundred ideas a year, and we expect a significant percentage to come from the faculty at Pitt,” Heppenstall says.

He adds that representatives from both UPMC and the Innovation Institute at Pitt, which fosters innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, will meet regularly to discuss existing research and clinical projects.

The new agreement is not limited to any particular area of research, and either partner is permitted to work collaboratively with outside companies.

“This expanded partnership with UPMC is a good example of how collaboration of this type can accelerate the beneficial health care aspects of our research for the community, while at the same time having a positive impact on our region’s economy,” notes Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher in a statement.

Laurie Bailey is a freelance writer who has reported for many local publications. When she isn't writing she serves as a media consultant for nonprofits and other local companies.