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Smart windows startup featured at national innovation, entrepreneurship showcase

December 8, 2020

Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

Andluca Technologies, a startup that is developing UV-solar-powered smart window glass to improve energy efficiency based on research at Princeton University, is one of 22 companies selected to participate in the University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase hosted by the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public Land-grant Universities.

Each year, the two organizations, which together represent the nation’s leading research universities, showcase companies from across the country that are creating products and services based on federally funded university research. Held online this week, the event usually takes place in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill to underscore for members of Congress and national leaders the crucial role of federal research sponsorship in driving innovation and economic development.

This year coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act on December 12, 2020. The Act significantly accelerated the transfer of discoveries into products and services that benefit the public by allowing universities to patent inventions stemming from federally funded research.

“University research tackles the big questions and challenges that face us today, from COVID-19 to cancer to our changing climate,” said Princeton University Vice Dean for Innovation Rodney Priestley, the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and founder of two startup companies based on his lab’s research. “Through startups and other entrepreneurial ventures, Princeton researchers are increasingly finding ways to ensure that their discoveries become the basis of products and services that provide value to society.”

Examples of technologies that started as Princeton University research projects include the organic light-emitting chemicals found in smartphone screens and a widely used therapy for certain types of lung cancer. Many Princeton innovations have become the basis of startup companies.

Andluca Technologies formed in 2017 to develop the transparent solar technology to power smart glass that can reduce building energy usage by up to 40% while improving occupant comfort. The product stems from discoveries made in the laboratory of Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo, director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Theodora D. ’78 & William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering, and professor of chemical and biological engineering.

Loo’s co-inventors Nicholas Davy and Melda Sezen-Edmonds were graduate students in Loo’s lab. Davy is the cofounder and CEO of Andluca Technologies. The team recently received an Edison Patent Award from the Research & Development Council of New Jersey.

The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 allows universities to patent inventions that arise from federally funded research. Most laboratory findings are not ready for immediate use as a product or service, and often need substantial additional research and development. Patent protection allows startups and other companies the exclusive right to conduct R&D for a certain period of time. According to the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), academic technology transfer has contributed 1.7 trillion dollars to U.S. gross industrial output and supported 5.9 million jobs over the decade from 1996 to 2017.

Princeton researchers filed more than 120 invention disclosures in fiscal year 2020. The university filed 182 patent applications for the year. In addition, 57 patents were issued, and six new startups formed in the last fiscal year based on technologies licensed from Princeton University.

Learn more about the Bayh-Dole Act and how university research drives innovation and economic activity at What is Technology Transfer.

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