UM Regents OK 4 Conflict-of-Interest Items

Four items disclosed under the state’s conflict-of-interest statute were authorized by the University of Michigan board of regents at their Dec. 13, 2012 meeting. The law requires that regents vote on potential conflict-of-interest disclosures related to university staff, faculty or students.

The items often involve technology licensing agreements or leases. This month, all items were approved unanimously and without discussion. They related to the following businesses and organizations: JV Biolabs LLC (sub-lease agreement at 2900 Huron Parkway); Avicenna Medical Systems (contract to license Avicenna’s chronic disease management software, called Avitracks); Echo360 Inc. (contract to license UM technology); and Vortex Hydro Energy LLC (master agreement for collaboration between UM and the startup business).

As an example of these items, disclosure of the contract with Echo360 was triggered because Perry Sampson – a UM professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences – is a partial owner in the firm. Sampson founded the UM startup LectureTools, which was acquired by Echo 360 earlier this year. Echo360 is based in Dulles, Virginia. The contract licenses UM technology to the company for undisclosed terms. In addition, UM is authorized to invest up to $2.5 million in the firm, as part of the Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups program (MINTS) that regents authorized in December of 2011.

This report was filed from the Michigan Union’s Anderson room on UM’s central campus, where the regents held their December meeting.