License agreements

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Translational Science Benefits

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Economic benefits (Commercial products)


Governmental permits based on intellectual property. Washington University defines a license as “a contract which awards to a party other than the owner(s) of the intellectual property the right to make, use, sell, or import products or services based on the owner’s intellectual property. Licenses may be awarded on an exclusive or nonexclusive basis and may provide for payment of license fees, milestones, royalties, or other income to the owner(s) of the intellectual property.”  License agreements may be awarded for vaccines, drug deliveries, medical devices, imaging, software, algorithms, blood and tissue products, cellular and gene therapy, among others.


Researchers develop new technologies to diagnose and treat disease, which may have possible commercial use. A license allows for exploration of applications for potential human benefit. License agreements also document use of intellectual property that leads to real-world impacts.


Advice from authors on searching for information:

Start with the researcher to confirm whether a license agreement has been issued and contact the local campus unit that handles license agreements.

Resources & Data

Organizations, repositories, websites, and other sources where you can find more information:



  • AUTM. AUTM is the nonprofit leader in efforts to educate, promote, and inspire professionals, throughout their careers, to support the development of academic research that changes the world. AUTM’s community is comprised of universities, research centers, hospitals, businesses, and government organizations around the globe.
  • FDA Technologies Available for Licensing and Collaboration. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers a listing of technologies developed by FDA scientists that are available for use.
  • Licensing Opportunities at NCATS. NCATS offers a list of licensing opportunities that are available for further research, development, and commercialization.

Data Limitations

Challenges you may encounter while searching for information:

There is no single resource for searching for license agreements. Most large research universities have a campus unit that handles license agreements. Access to self-reported researcher or administrative/in-house data may be required to locate documentation.


Articles, books, and other publications in translational science using the indicator:

Colledge L. Snowball Metrics Recipe Book, 2nd ed. [Internet].  Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier; 2014. 

Case Studies

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis developed a saliva-based test for COVID-19. Collecting samples is fast, easy, and less invasive than other COVID-19 diagnostic tests. Photo Credit: Matt Miller

Expanding SARS-CoV-2 Testing with a Saliva-Based Test


A rapid, simple, and economical diagnostic test for COVID-19

Oxysterols for Treatment of Perinatal Brain Injury

By Duke University Clinical & Translational Science

A first-in-class therapy to prevent cerebral palsy in premature infants.

SOLACE: An Early Warning System for Adolescent Suicidality

By Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute (Oregon CTSA)

Creating technology that uses physiological measures to help adolescents prevent their own worsening suicidality and suicide attempts.