The Palmaz Stent
The Palmaz stent, invented at UT, has been identified as “one of the top 10 patents that changed the world” by IP Worldwide. Dr. Julio Palmaz is a UT faculty who invented the revolutionary stent. At the time when Dr. Palmaz disclosed the invention, UT System lacked a formal technology transfer program at the inventor’s institution, and the institution made a decision to allow the inventor to proceed with commercializing the invention while retaining an interest in the intellectual property. The inventor later worked with a large pharmaceutical company to commercialize the intellectual property independently of UT System.
Today the stent is used in over two million patient procedures annually to prevent arteries from collapsing near the heart and elsewhere in the body. Although the intellectual property asset generated some returns, there was a significant lost opportunity that could have generated larger multiples of that return to UT System. It is believed that reasons for why the UT System did not pursue the invention include: a lack of information about the potential of the invention, a lack of capital resources to develop the IP further, and a lack of talented experts and entrepreneurs to assist.
Today, the UT HSC San Antonio is better positioned with a fully functional technology transfer unit, the South Texas Technology Management group. Formed out of a UT System grant, STTM now manages all tech transfer for UTHSC-SA, as well UT Brownsville and Texas State University. UT System and the UT Horizon Fund work with STTM to help assist our outreach efforts to other universities in Texas.