University of South Carolina

Halliburton Energy Services Inc. USC technology

A technology developed at the University of South Carolina that measures chemical concentrations in solids, liquids and gases has been sold to Halliburton Energy Services Inc. Halliburton will apply the technology exclusively in the energy industry sector and has licensed USC to use and develop the technology for other fields such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage testing.

The sale, in which the university received $2.75 million, marks the first time that USC has participated in a start-up that has been sold to a Fortune 500 company.

Don Herriott, director of Innovista Partnerships, said the agreement exemplifies not only the Innovista concept, but also USC’s commitment to taking impactful research to the marketplace and creating an environment where scientists are encouraged to think big.

“This shows our commitment and success in commercializing the research of our scientists,” Herriott said. “This is exactly what a research university should be doing…taking research and translating it to the marketplace where it can be applied to change lives, protect the environment and improve our health.”

Called Multivariate Optical ComputingTM(MOC), the technology was developed in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Myrick, a professor of chemistry, and licensed to Ometric Corp.

The technology is considered useful in oil drilling because it allows the chemical composition of the oil to be measured, which can ultimately be used to assess the oil’s characteristics and economic value. Right now, measurements are made by extracting a sample and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The MOC-based technology potentially allows the measurements to be made in situ, and can result in a much shorter analysis time, Pam Benicewicz, associate vice president for research and director of USC’s Intellectual Property Office, said.

The agreement, which was approved by USC’s Board of Trustees, transfers a portfolio of U.S and foreign patents and patent applications and software copyrights, all related to MOC, to Halliburton. Halliburton, in turn, is licensing back to the university the rights to use and develop the technology in all areas outside the energy industry sector.

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said the agreement is a milestone for the university as it expands its commitment to economic development.

“This agreement takes our research and development to an entirely new level,” Pastides said. “By working with a Fortune 500 company, we have demonstrated our capacity to meld research and entrepreneurship and expect that this will lead to opportunities to work with other major companies, which will result in major investments in the Midlands to create jobs and improve the lives of citizens in our state. This is exactly what the governor and the General Assembly expect of our university.”

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 02/23/11 @ 4:00 PM | Updated: 02/23/11 @ 4:11 PM | Permalink