UW Bioengineering Patents, Inventions, Startups

researcher in bioengineering lab with instrument

From a portable lab-on-a-chip to a smart polymer that can control biomolecule interactions, UW Bioengineering faculty and alumni have invented hundreds of advancements, launched numerous successful startup companies and regularly license technology to industry partners, fueling our economy and transforming lives.

Market Impact

As of FY 2013:

  • 1,116 patents filed
  • 323 patents issued
  • 3 copyrighted software
  • 31 active licenses
  • 646 reported inventions
  • 28 existing startup companies resulting from faculty and student research
  • In FY13, no UW department reported more inventions than Bioengineering (source: UW C4C)

A current, searchable list of UW Bioengineering’s active licenses is available at UW’s Center for Commercialization (C4C) site.

Entrepreneurial Culture

  • UW Bioengineering core and adjunct faculty consistently receive recognition as UW Center for Commercialization (UW C4C) Entrepreneurial Faculty Fellows. 2012 Fellows include core faculty Daniel Chiu, Buddy Ratner and Patrick Stayton, as well as adjunct faculty David Baker and Shaoyi Jiang and David Linker.
  • UW Bioengineering graduate students participate annually in the UW Foster School Business Plan Competition, bringing their novel biomedical ideas to cross-disciplinary teams and receiving funding to further develop and market their projects.

Recent Startups


Responsible faculty: Barry Lutz, Sam Browd (Neurological Surgery)

Aqueduct is developing a technology platform that addresses the most frequent causes of failure in current shunt devices for hydrocephalus, the excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

Beat Biotherapeutics


Responsible faculty: Charles Murry, Michael Regnier, Michael Laflamme (Pathology), Buddy Ratner

Beat Biotherapeutics has developed a novel gene therapy that is capable of entirely restoring heart function in patients with heart failure.


Responsible faculty: Patrick Stayton, James Lai

Nexgenia, Inc. develops polymer-based nanotechnology that improves the speed and sensitivity of clinical laboratory tests for the diagnosis of infectious diseases, cancer and metabolic disorders.

Initiatives in Research Translation

Our success in translating research discoveries to real world applications is promoted through collaborative, multi-partner initiatives such as:

Bioengineering Affiliates Program – Building sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships with individuals, nonprofits, and companies in Seattle, nationally and around the world

W.H. Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership Program
– Furthering collaboration between engineers and clinicians and translating biomedical engineering technologies from the laboratory into medical practices

Center for Intracellular Delivery of Biologics – A multi-disciplinary research center with three cores – drug characterization, smart delivery systems and preclinical models – where scientists develop new approaches for delivering biological drugs inside human cells

Ultrasound-based Washington Molecular Imaging and Therapy Center (uWAMIT) – Funded by the Life Sciences Discovery Fund, uWAMIT focuses on the discovery, development, translation and commercialization of molecular imaging and therapy technologies

Life Sciences Discovery Fund – Supporting targeted studies that move promising developments in life sciences technology along the pathway to commercialization

Program on Technology Commercialization – Four-course series teaches graduate and undergraduate students from engineering, business and medicine the fundamentals of taking technology from the academic lab to marketed product