Industry-Sponsored Research Week
Industry-Sponsored Research Management

Co-development model aims to attract more industry partnerships


By David Schwartz
Published: March 21st, 2017

Money doesn’t flow from the federal government like it used to, so universities are looking for new ways to attract funding from industry sources. At the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS), research leaders in the engineering school are using a “co-development” model that they say can make their projects much more attractive to industry than the traditional approach.

The model — which its developers say should be considered particularly by research universities with strong engineering programs — is intended to address some of the reasons that private industry has shied away from research funding, explains Dan Dandapani, PhD, dean of the UCCS College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Most of those reasons revolve around the perception — right or wrong — that research partnerships can end up being a bad deal for the industry side.

In the past, companies involved in university partnerships or research agreements often felt that the university got the better deal by keeping all the intellectual property, Dandapani explains. It was not unusual for industry participants at some universities to report feeling that they had, in effect, donated their experience and expertise to the university.

And lengthy timelines for negotiating a deal has also been a sticking point, he adds. “When I became dean, one of the most common problems brought to me involved people saying a company was interested in working with them but the process took so long that they were no longer interested,” Dandapani says. “And then if the company held on through the process, the terms were so unfavorable to the company.”

The UCCS co-development model is based on a new type of legal agreement that promises more to the company, but still keeps enough for the university to make the partnership worthwhile. The agreement lists the university and the industry participant as co-developers, giving the corporate partner much more status than in most agreements, Dandapani explains.

With a co-development model, the company keeps its own intellectual property but the university negotiates a cut of the future profits the company earns from the new or co-developed product.

In the past, a company partnering with UCCS would come up with a proposed budget and fund development under a standard sponsored research agreement. The agreement would specify that the university would retain ownership and the company would have the option to license the IP. The UCCS co-development program, however, allows for companies that have their own intellectual property built up around a product to work with the university on an aspect of their product without worrying that the university would have a claim on or control of their IP.

A detailed article on the co-development model appears in the April issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. For more information or to subscribe and access the full article, CLICK HERE.

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How to forge stronger ties between universities and industry


By David Schwartz
Published: March 21st, 2017

In a Times Higher Education blog post Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor at the University of Waterloo, offers several key recommendations on how to build successful industry-sponsored research partnerships. continue reading »

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Drafting and Negotiating Preferential Rights in University IP Licenses and Sponsored Research Agreements


By David Schwartz
Published: March 21st, 2017

Although preferential rights such as options, rights of first refusal, rights of first offer, and rights of first negotiation are frequently used in IP licenses, there is widespread misunderstanding about what each means. Lack of clarity and improper definition can lead to confusion, which in turn often results in placement of the same standard provision in every agreement. That can be a big miss for your university.

In fact, preferential rights allow customized access to IP assets for licensees and can be a significant negotiating point when drafting deals with research partners. But, if these provisions are improperly drafted or allocated in the license, you risk leaving dollars on the table — or even inadvertently giving away your future stake in the IP.

Drafting and Negotiating Preferential Rights in University IP Licenses and Sponsored Research Agreements, scheduled for April 18th, will offer a detailed look at drafting and negotiation strategies and best practices for addressing the structure, assignment and enforcement of preferential rights. Join us on April 18th for this important webinar led by University of Utah Technology and Licensing Manager Beth Drees, PhD, MBA.

For details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Harvard enters three-year research agreement with dietary supplement company


By David Schwartz
Published: March 21st, 2017

Harvard University has signed a three-year research agreement with Elysium Health, Inc., a developer of evidence-based dietary supplements. The funded research projects will focus on cellular function and other key modulators in the aging process. continue reading »

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Survey reports data and benchmarks on sponsored research agreements


By David Schwartz
Published: March 21st, 2017

The Survey of Sponsored Research Agreements between the Private Sector and Higher Education is available from 2Market Information Inc., publisher of Industry-Sponsored Research Week. This unique report includes data, in-depth commentary, and analysis based on extensive survey results from 19 offices of sponsored research, largely from major universities in the U.S. and Canada.

This one-of-a-kind resource provides a rich set of benchmarks and data to compare against your own sponsored research activity. It’s jam-packed with more than 125 easy to scan charts and figures displaying critical data you can’t find in any other publication.

For complete details, a table of contents, and to order, CLICK HERE >>

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Medicenna, MD Anderson in sponsored research deal focused on fusion protein therapeutics


By David Schwartz
Published: March 21st, 2017

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has inked a sponsored research agreement with Medicenna BioPharma aimed at developing fusion protein therapeutics targeting the interleukin-4 receptor (IL4R). The goal is to develop preclinical candidates, which Medicenna calls Empowered Cytokines™, based on the firm’s IL-4 and IL-13 Superkine™ (engineered cytokine) platform, which was licensed from Stanford University. continue reading »

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Industry partnerships coming in more varieties as universities gain leverage


By David Schwartz
Published: March 14th, 2017

Examples of innovative sponsored research arrangements between universities and corporations are increasingly common. One veteran tech transfer executive says that’s at least in part a function of the corporate side of the equation improving its input into the collaborations.

“This may not make me overly popular in some circles,” comments Larry Hope, associate director of new ventures and business development at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC), Houston, “but for years, industry was arguably abusive to academic partners.” He explains: “Significant research efforts were built around ‘free drugs’ or ‘free equipment’ models, where industry would provide minimal support and negotiate to own or otherwise encumber all intellectual property developed. Most academic scientists were willing victims in the scheme.”

Many, he says, “considered this sort of arrangement a ‘win.’ There are certainly times when this arrangement can make sense, when coupled with true research funds to support the work. But it is not the preferred model. In fact, ‘free drugs’ has become a bit of a joke with our team. We simply will not engage in these sorts of lopsided relationships.”

Instead, he adds, corporate sponsors are increasingly on board with what he terms “an ideal relationship,” which “involves truly aligned views of the project, the goals and the economics. Usually, an outside company has developed or is developing something truly unique. If it does not recognize that the MDACC is also making a unique and valuable contribution to the project, the relationship is likely doomed.” He adds: “Most of our modern deals have a research phase with predetermined commercialization economics.”

And his institution has a lot of those “modern deals.” MDACC, he says, is involved “in many on several fronts.” Models vary, but include these:

  • large multi-year, multi-product clinical trials;
  • start-ups that sponsor a significant portion of research back to the institution in the early years;
  • asset LLCs run in a very capital-efficient, virtual mode while assets are being de-risked; and
  • large collaborative deals that include a preclinical phase, a clinical phase and license/commercialization economics, all negotiated on the front end.

A variation on the theme is “a marriage of outside IP with MDACC IP/expertise with predetermined economics,” Hope adds. In general, he stresses, “industry-sponsored research is highly encouraged by our senior administration,” which “has literally removed barriers and brought in individuals with a more proactive, entrepreneurial mindset to allow the institution and our group to flourish.”

And here’s why, he emphasizes: “There are brilliant scientists and clinicians at MDACC. They are great at inventing and getting to a proof-of-concept stage. But, in general, we simply do not have the ability to complete the development cycle. An outside commercial entity must be involved at some point to provide focus and funds to move most projects forward efficiently.”

One recent example is what Baylor College of Medicine termed its “landmark sponsored research collaboration” with Cell Medica. The deal, according to a Baylor statement, represents “a significant milestone in efforts to develop a new class of life-saving cancer therapy.”

Under the arrangement, Baylor provided Cell Medica with an exclusive worldwide license to its proprietary Natural Killer T-cell immunotherapy platform, five undisclosed product candidates and an option to license additional product candidates arising out of sponsored research, reports Andrew Wooten, executive director at Baylor’s Innovation Development Center (IDC). Baylor is responsible for pre-clinical and Phase I studies, he adds, and Cell Medica is responsible for Phase II and Phase III clinical development and subsequent commercialization. In parallel, Cell Medica will “use its substantial experience in manufacturing clinical-grade cell therapies to establish robust production processes suitable for industrial scale-up,” the statement adds.

“We felt very strongly that our interests are best served by staying involved in development through Phase I studies,” Wooten notes. He helped structure the co-development collaboration and will oversee Baylor’s alliance management function. “Cell Medica recognized that we have excellent facilities and translational research capabilities within the Department of Pediatrics and the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy to perform this work. At the same time, we recognized our need for a focused commercial partner to help guide these early-stage activities. And obviously we need a partner to take over later-stage development, manufacturing and commercialization.”

That’s why the deal structure — which he calls “a complex relationship” that “takes advantages of each partner’s strengths” — is “embodied in multiple agreements, including a license and option agreement, a co-development agreement and multiple specific industrial research agreements.”

This complete article appears in the April issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. To subscribe and access the full article, or request the premiere issue free, CLICK HERE

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Rosalind Franklin University to build a $50 million Innovation and Research Park


By David Schwartz
Published: March 14th, 2017

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science will invest $50 million in a new Innovation and Research Park on its North Chicago campus, the university announced. The park will offer state-of-the-art research labs and incubator space for faculty and commercial biotech start-ups. The expansion will also include space for national and international life science firms. continue reading »

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EAR/ITAR Compliance Workshop: Understanding and Managing Export Control in University Research and Technology Transfer


By David Schwartz
Published: March 14th, 2017

One of the most challenging elements of export control for university research and tech transfer offices is dealing with the transition of controls over technology and technical data. Under U.S. export control regulations, many common university research practices could put you at risk of thousands of dollars in civil or criminal fines or debarment from federal contracts if you haven’t received a “Deemed Export” or technology transfer license.

EAR/ITAR Compliance Workshop: Understanding and Managing Export Control in University Research and Technology Transfer, scheduled for March 23, is an interactive webinar that will review the EAR/ITAR regulations and discuss key definitions of terms related to deemed exports.

Additionally, you will learn about how to establish procedures that ensure you are informed of potential issues early on, allowing you to work with researchers and the export control office to manage them effectively. And at the bottom line, you’ll learn critical steps needed to make certain you can commercialize valuable IP without the threat of noncompliance.

Join expert Kay Ellis, MHR, director of the export control program with the University of Arizona, for this practical and essential webinar – for complete details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Boehringer Ingelheim expands collaboration with Vanderbilt U to tackle difficult-to-treat cancers 


By David Schwartz
Published: March 14th, 2017

Vanderbilt University has inked a new collaboration with drug giant Boehringer Ingelheim. The multi-year program expands on an already existing collaboration by focusing on developing small molecule compounds targeting the protein SOS (Son Of Sevenless). This molecule activates KRAS, a molecular switch that plays a central role in the onset of some of the deadliest cancers. continue reading »

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Simon Fraser U in collaboration agreement with Nano One Materials


By David Schwartz
Published: March 14th, 2017

Canada’s Simon Fraser University has entered a collaboration with Nano One Materials Corp. focused on improving the performance of lithium ion battery technologies. continue reading »

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Now available: The Tech Transfer-Economic Development Connection


By David Schwartz
Published: March 14th, 2017

The Tech Transfer-Economic Development Connection: Strategies for Creating Jobs and Economic Growth through University Innovation is now available from 2Market Information Inc., the parent company of Industry-Sponsored Research Week and Industry-Sponsored Research Management.

This 45-page resource is chock-full of creative strategies for bolstering your university’s economic development engine. You’ll discover proven success strategies for integrating and partnering with local and regional economic agencies, plus learn how to measure and demonstrate the economic impact of your innovation efforts. The new report is packed with in-depth strategies and case studies designed to help your TTO bolster its economic impact and promote its results. For complete details or to order for just $99, CLICK HERE >>

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