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Posted on Dec 10, 2014

Technology Transfer: Celebrating 30 Years of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Technology Transfer: Celebrating 30 Years of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

From Ideas To Impact:

  • U.S. Patents Issued: 840+
  • U.S. Patents Pending: 290+
  • Intellectual Property Disclosures: 3,450+
  • Products to Market: 400+
  • Startups Launched: 100+
  • Jobs Created: 8,100+
  • Jobs Created in North Carolina: 3,500+
  • Financing Raised by Startups: $1.6B+
  • Market Cap of Startups: $6.2B+
NC State Belltower illuminated in red

NC State Belltower illuminated in red, signifying achievement

Marketplace Momentum

NC State’s technology transfer success stories reflect a spectrum as broad as the university’s research expertise. These few examples highlight technology licensed to existing companies, as well as startups created to commercialize NC State innovations.

Leading-edge Licensing

Agrofresh, Inc.

The AgroFresh SmartFresh™ Quality System has been called the produce industry’s most important advancement in years for allowing farmers and packer/shippers to maintain just-harvested quality of fruits and vegetables throughout storage, transport and retail display — right through to the consumer. Today, SmartFresh slows ripening of about 50% of all apples harvested in the United States.

Green Apples with one red in the middle

SmartFresh is used to slow the ripening of about 50 percent of all apples harvested in the United States.

Covington Sweet Potato

North Carolina is the leading producer of U.S. sweet potatoes. NC State’s Sweet Potato Breeding and Genetics Program provides national leadership. The Covington now accounts for approximately 90% of N.C sweet potatoes and 20% of those grown nationwide. Covington also leads sweet potato exports. Retailers in Europe consistently ask for and market Covington by name.

Covington sweet potatoes

Covington sweet potatoes are asked for by name even internationally.

Successful Startups

Aseptia, Inc.

Aseptia’s patented aseptic technology enables the production of shelf-stable food products that maintain flavors and nutrients of fresh food without using preservatives or refrigeration. Aseptia’s subsidiary, Wright Foods, has a production plant in Troy, N.C., with a footprint of 100,000 sq. ft. and more than 150 employees. Inc. magazine recently recognized Aseptia as the 15th fastest-growing private company in the United States. 

Wright Foods Plant

Wright Foods employs more than 150 people in Troy, N.C.

BioResource International, Inc.

BioResource International is a global biotechnology company offering cost-effective solutions to promote animal nutrition and environmental responsibility worldwide. An early breakthrough for the Durham-based company is a novel animal-feed enzyme that improves profitability and reduces environmental impacts of animal production. Inc. magazine recently recognized BioResource International as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation, with a growth rate of more than 900% in three years.

Cree, Inc.

Headquartered in Durham, N.C., Cree is a market-leading innovator of lighting products, LED components, and semiconductor products for power and radio-frequency applications. CREE employs over 2,400 people throughout North Carolina.

Novocor Medical Systems, Inc.

Novocor Medical Systems provides solutions that help emergency medical services’ first responders save lives. The company’s patented product, HypoCore™, is an innovative, rapid-chilling device that cools saline during the infusion process to induce therapeutic hypothermia.

Tethis, Inc.

Tethis offers novel, high-value polymers made from low-value, renewable biomass, such as cornstarch and hemicellulose. Tethex™ is a series of novel products that are effective in removing ions from water or as a superabsorbent polymer. Tethex products hold promise as superior drop-in replacements for conventional petrochemical products.

WebAssign, Inc.

Designed by educators, WebAssign is a powerful online instructional system that provides instant assessment, an extensive textbook selection and superior support — all to enhance student learning. More than one million students at over 2,300 educational institutions use WebAssign each year.

Xanofi, Inc.

Xanofi’s XanoShear™ platform technology allows scalable fabrication of nanofibers from a variety of materials. These nanofibers have applications in air and liquid filtration, acoustics and life sciences. Located in Raleigh, Xanofi recently launched its first product, XanoMatrix™ — a 3-D cell scaffold.

Innovative Initiatives

Venture Development

Our Venture Development group helps technology-based startup companies form and grow. Through our new PackStart program, we offer an expanded list of services to support NC State startups, including assistance with developing a business model; logo and website design and development; access to physical office space through a collaboration with HQ Raleigh; grant-writing support; connections to strategic partners, funding opportunities and leadership talent; and ongoing mentoring.


Our Accelerate Commercialization and Entrepreneurship in Information Technologies — or AceIT — is sparking software commercialization across NC State. This program identifies new opportunities, then brings together the collective university expertise of top software coders, project managers and business developers.

Springboard Innovation Forum

Our series of focused events brings together industry leaders, entrepreneurs and university innovators around specific topics, such as agbiotech, software commercialization, educational technologies, medical devices or big data.

New Funding Opportunties 

  • The Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF) advances technologies developed at NC State and strengthens their commercial potential. Awards of up to $75,000 support short-term, market-focused research projects. In its first three funding cycles, CIF invested $1.1 million in 17 research projects that, in turn, received more than $3.9 million in follow-on funding from federal and private sponsors. CIF projects also have brought NC State more than $460,000 in licensing revenue and seven commercialization agreements. Four startups show potential for long-term returns.
  • The Richard L. & Marlene V. Daugherty Centennial Campus Entrepreneurialism Endowment awards early-stage seed capital to newly created startups for initial expenses including legal, travel and grant-writing support. Winners are selected by a review board that includes experts from across the Research Triangle region.

See details on these efforts at:

For more information, contact the NC State Office of Technology Transfer at 919-515-7199. To schedule a visit to the Springboard Innovation Hub on NC State’s Centennial Campus, call 919-515-7036. 

OTT Staff

Kelly B. Sexton, Ph.D., director of the NC State University Office of Technology Transfer, leads this multidisciplinary team of commercialization professionals.