Northwestern leads nation in commercial research revenue

Daniel Schlessinger, Reporter

Northwestern earned the most revenue from commercialized academic research in the nation last year.

Out of 157 universities that collectively earned about $1.8 billion in the fiscal year 2011, NU accounted for the largest share, making about $190 millionaccording to the Association of University Technology ManagersNU was also in the top 20 for the number of patents issued and in the top 10 for the number of new patent applications.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported last week that NU officials are chalking up “virtually all” of the revenues to Lyrica, a blockbuster drug invented by NU Prof. Richard Silverman in 1989. It was purchased for $700 million by Pfizer and in its first year of sales in 2006, sold $1.2 billion.

In the category of research revenues, NU was followed by the University of California school system and Columbia University, which earned around $182 million and $146 million, respectively.

Weinberg sophomore Anthony Angueira, who participates in research at the Feinberg School of Medicine, said he believes research at NU is unparalleled.

“I know the work I’m doing is cutting-edge, the professors are at the top of their field and it’s just higher stakes,” he said. “I would say that the caliber of the work we perform is better and I feel that we do take that into account.”