Tech Transfer eNews Blog
Technology Transfer Tactics sample issue

Princeton brings on executive in residence as it battles lawsuit over its commercialization program


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

Princeton University’s Office of Technology Licensing has established the position of executive in residence to help the university commercialize its research, even in the midst of a lawsuit surrounding the tax status of its tech transfer activities.

Filed in 2011 by local plaintiffs, the suit claims Princeton’s rising revenues from commercialized research warrants an increase in the university’s tax duties, which currently don’t apply to most of university property. However, Princeton is still the largest tax contributor in town, spending about $10 million a year on taxes for nonexempt properties and voluntarily paying taxes on some graduate student housing.

Nevertheless, some community members see the new position of executive residence as indicative of Princeton’s corporate priorities. “They’re being sued in a nationally renowned lawsuit over abusing tax-exempt privileges. In the midst of that lawsuit, they move full speed ahead to hire someone whose job it is to increase commercial license,” says Bruce Afran, the plaintiff’s representative and a Princeton-based lawyer. “The more the university institutionalizes its commercial research fund, the less it becomes an academic organization,” Afran adds.

University officials state the new position is not connected to the lawsuit, while Afran says it will be up to Judge Vito Bianco of the Tax Court of New Jersey to decide whether the role is significant to the lawsuit.

Princeton’s income from commercialized research stood at $3 million in 2004, then $63 million by 2009. Last year it reached $136 million.

“From a federal tax standpoint, the issue is whether the income stream qualifies for exclusion,” says Caplin & Drysdale tax lawyer Marcus Owens, implying that court will not focus much on the new position. He adds that if the court rules that Princeton’s operations are not fully appropriate for tax exemption, the university would most likely relocate its tech transfer offices off campus as an independent subsidiary.

Source: The Daily Princetonian

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How to build a new TTO revenue stream with mobile apps


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

The ever expanding market for mobile apps presents technology transfer offices with a tremendous opportunity for new revenues as well as new relationships with students and faculty creating apps on campus. But how do you capitalize most effectively and create an ongoing, meaningful revenue stream — as well as build good PR and new relationships — without overloading your already stretched TTO staff?

The University of Pennsylvania’s UpStart Program has a success story to share — a campus-wide competition called AppItUp. The competition casts a wide net looking for the next big app idea, tapping not only computer scientists and business majors but also nurses, doctors, historians, poets, lawyers and anyone else who has an app idea but no way of making it a reality. The AppItUp challenge filters through these ideas to find the most promising, then works with partners in mobile app funding, development and marketing to build companies around these high-potential apps.

Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has tapped the leadership team from AppItUp for a case study webinar, so you can learn from their success and adapt their best ideas in your own program. Join us on November 12th for this detailed session: Increase Mobile App Disclosures through On-Campus Contests: Case Study of UPenn’s “AppItUp Challenge.” For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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How your start-up can “change with confidence”


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

Start-up expert Martin Zwilling, in his blog Startup Professional Musings, recounted a selection of key questions gleaned from a new management tome, “Change With Confidence” by Phil Buckley, that he finds particularly relevant to early-stage start-ups. “If entrepreneurs answer these questions for their start-up,” he says, “they will definitely stay ahead of most of their competitors in the start-up world.” continue reading »

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K-State co-founds company in novel effort to de-risk and commercialize more IP


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

In an effort to expand commercialization opportunities, several universities have recently partnered with third-party companies to help them assess IP and to reach out to potential licensees and partners. But Kansas State University has taken that approach a step farther, by actually helping to create and becoming a partner in its own “third-party” organization. In so doing, it appears to have given itself not one, but several different ways in which it may be able to generate additional revenue.

Called Technology Acceleration Partners, LLC, or TechAccel for short, the private capital development company plans to acquire early-stage discoveries and partner with major industries around the world to accelerate their development. Co-founded by CEO Michael Helmstetter, PhD, Kansas State, and the Bicknell Family Holding Company, it will focus on the areas of animal health, agriculture and food ingredients.

“The reason we created TechAccel is because that strategic partnering of science advancement can, should be, and will be a rich ongoing economic opportunity,” says Kent Glasscock,president of the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization (KSU-IC). “That’s particularly true in the global food system/agriculture arena because of the burgeoning buying power that the world will experience [due to growth] of the global middle class, population increase, and climate change and resource limitation. In this sector there is no TechAccel, and our conversations with potential partners have been very positive. We see an explosion of power and the need for innovation.

Glasscock says the strategy is in part a realization that start-ups are not always the best vehicle for taking a fledgling technology forward, particularly when it still needs validation. He contends that “universities’ over-reliance and genuflecting at the altar of start-up companies may not always be right.”

Many start-ups, asserts Glasscock, are really about validation in the early years. “Why start a company to do that when you can just fund validation?” he poses. “It’s cheaper. The second part of a start-up is validating the market and figuring out how to get into it. Well, that’s a risk. So emerging innovation companies have a science risk and a market risk. Our notion was that maybe what happens is you mitigate both risks concomitantly by the TechAccel model.” A detailed article on the TechAccel approach appears in  October issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, as well as the publication’s entire subscriber-only archive filled with hundreds of case studies and success strategies for TTOs,  CLICK HERE

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UC-San Diego licenses new cancer treatment to local biotech company


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

The University of California-San Diego (UCSD) has licensed a treatment for cancer to San Diego-based biotech company Batu Biologics. The UCSD technology, known as hp91, is a peptide drug that activates dendritic cells to enhance antigen-specific killer T cells and antibody-mediated immune responses without the toxicity related to other immune stimulants. The technology also promises to be less expensive since it doesn’t involve difficult-to-produce recombinant proteins, which are common among current treatments. continue reading »

Royalty Rates for Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, 8th Edition, contains hundreds of royalty rates and financial compensation benchmarks to optimize the pricing of biotechnology and pharmaceutical innovations. Click here for details >>

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U.S. Army research center develops Ebola disinfectant, licenses it out to J&J spinoff


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

Researchers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Natick, MA, have developed a disinfectant system that kills the Ebola virus on surfaces. continue reading »

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Scripps researcher nears her $100,000 crowdfunding goal to develop Ebola treatment


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

A scientist at the Scripps Research Institute is nearing her $100,000 crowdfunding goal to support her research project aimed at fighting the Ebola virus. continue reading »

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UNHInnovation creates new center, seed fund, and mentor network to promote entrepreneurship across campus


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

UNHInnovation, the tech transfer arm of the University of New Hampshire (UNH), has established a new center to promote entrepreneurship throughout the university and the state. The Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center will complement the research and development projects at UNHInnovation as well as provide support to UNH students who are interested in launching a company. continue reading »

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West Virginia U start-up licenses identity protection technology for mobile devices


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

The West Virginia University (WVU) Office of Technology Transfer has licensed a series of  biometrics technologies to WVU start-up Confirmix. continue reading »

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UCSF partners with Center for Drug Research and Development in commercialization effort


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

The University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) and the Vancouver-based Center for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) are collaborating to more effectively get the university’s therapeutics from the lab to the marketplace. continue reading »

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University Technology Marketing Boot Camp now on DVD


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

The recently concluded University Technology Marketing Bootcamp, featuring a panel of expert technology marketers, is now available on DVD and on-demand video. In the four one-hour sessions that make up the Boot Camp series, our top-notch panelists lead you through the marketing process from disclosure assessment and how to pack a punch with your creative writing to budgeting, maximizing return on your marketing investment, and analyzing your results. The four sessions are:

Session One: Understanding Your Technology, Inventor and Market
Session Two: Marketing Writing Best Practices
Session Three: Marketing by Channel
Session Four: Content Strategy and Analytics

The recorded boot camp series includes all handout materials and comes each format, so you can conveniently share it with all staff whenever and how you choose. For complete program and faculty details, click here >>>

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6 challenges every investor faces when approaching a university start-up


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2014

In his recent guest post for VentureBeat, Shomit Ghose of Onset Ventures offers advice to investors on how best to approach the university start-up space. “Spinning startups out of an academic environment as a venture investor has its own set of challegnes,” Ghose writes. Having advised and invested in early-stage academic start-ups for many years, he has learned these six key tips for investors: continue reading »

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