Departing Innovation Institute Director to Maintain Ties as Adviser, Faculty Member

Marc MalandroMarc Malandro’s work influencing innovation and commercialization at the University of Pittsburgh isn’t ending with his move to California.

Malandro, former director of Pitt’s Innovation Institute and vice chancellor for technology management and commercialization, will maintain his ties to the University as an adjunct faculty member in bioengineering and medicine and as an adviser to the institute. 

After 13 years at Pitt, Malandro is heading to Palo Alto, California, to join the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) as vice president of operations for CZI Science.

“Marc has been an exceptional founding director of the Innovation Institute. Under Marc’s leadership, the Innovation Institute has made tremendous progress in its mission to grow the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the University,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. “We wish him the best in his new role with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and look forward to the opportunity to explore areas where our institutions can collaborate to solve the world’s most pressing problems.”

Said Rob Rutenbar, who oversees the Innovation Institute in his role as senior vice chancellor for research, “Dr. Malandro has built an experienced and talented team. I am confident that the Innovation Institute staff will continue to serve the needs of our Pitt faculty and students with the same level of dedication and professionalism during this transition period for the organization.”

Evan Facher, the Innovation Institute’s senior director of innovation commercialization, has been appointed interim director.

Malandro said he was not looking to leave Pitt, but found it too hard to pass up the offer to be part of another startup focused on making an impact with science.

“This has always been my passion,” he said. “The organization is dedicated to fostering data sharing and open collaboration with organizations around the country and around the world to support basic science research and to help develop innovations that will improve people’s lives.”

Malandro joined Pitt’s Office of Technology Management in 2004. There, he led the development and execution of a plan to create a University-wide hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.

When the Office of Technology Management, the Office of Enterprise Development and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence were joined under one roof in 2013 to create the Pitt Innovation Institute, Malandro was chosen as its founding director and vice chancellor for technology management and commercialization.

Under his leadership, the Innovation Institute has expanded programming and resources available to Pitt faculty and staff interested in exploring the commercial potential of their innovations. Malandro also ensured that hands-on entrepreneurial education for Pitt students became a core component of the institute’s activities.

Over the past three years, the University has set and surpassed records in invention disclosures filed, patents issued and startups formed. The University has filed more than 1,150 new U.S. patent applications, been granted 613 U.S.-issued patents, entered into more than 1,220 license agreements and formed more than 91 companies based on University technologies since Malandro's work began in 2005.

It also created the University’s own student business accelerator, Blast Furnace, which in two years has served more than 80 student teams and produced 26 student-led startup companies.

The Innovation Institute also collaborates with industry, investors and nonprofit economic development agencies, the most recent example being the multifaceted partnership with the sleep and respiratory care division of global health care and electronics giant Philips.

The momentum behind innovation and entrepreneurship at Pitt is being recognized, as Pitt was ranked in the top 25 in the Milken Institute’s 2017 survey of the best universities for technology transfer. Pitt was also ranked as one of the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Utility Patents in 2016 by the National Academy of Inventors.