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Industry-sponsored research deals getting more attention, coming in more varieties


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

Examples of innovative arrangements between university researchers and corporate product development 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 pre-determined 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.” And it’s not just admin and the tech transfer community that appreciate corporate sponsorship, he adds. “It seems most scientists fully embrace that strategic corporate collaborations are an additional, viable source of development funds,” he says.

A detailed article on a range of novel industry sponsorship structures appears in the September issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, and gain access to our rich 9-year archive of best practices and success strategies for TTOs, CLICK HERE.

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Amid controversy, Monsanto licenses CRISPR to genetically alter crops


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

Agriculture tech giant Monsanto has licensed the genome editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 from the Broad Institute for use in seed development. continue reading »

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Webinar next week: Incentivizing University Faculty for Commercialization Activity


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

Very few universities spell out financial or promotion and tenure rewards for commercialization activity, despite the fact that many of these same schools are pressing hard for results from their tech transfer offices. This disconnect is being recognized and addressed by a growing number of schools, who are reporting increases in business-viable IP, which leads to high-value licenses and the creation of more start-up companies. Given the pressure from many universities’ top administrators to get more tangible returns on research investments, there may never be a better opportunity to address the incentives issue.

To help you introduce and implement an incentive plan that brings both a positive shift in faculty relationships and a positive return in the form of more licensing deals, more start-ups, and more impact on economic development, Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has scheduled this high-interest event on October 5th: Incentivizing University Faculty for Commercialization Activity.

For complete program and faculty details, or to register, CLICK HERE.

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Miami innovators visit Israel to learn how to build a successful start-up ecosystem


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

A group of Miami’s leading tech entrepreneurs, innovators and investors is visiting Israel to learn from the country’s bustling innovation sector, and to make strategic connections along the way. continue reading »

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Studies find that investing in start-ups is not gender neutral


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

In her recent article for The Huffington Post, president of JumpStart Inc. Cathy Belk asserts that, in the world of investors, gender makes a difference. continue reading »

Hear a powerful duo of visionaries who have created an empowering ecosystem for women innovators in Women in Research: How TTOs Can Overcome Gender Barriers and Expand Commercialization Activity, available on DVD or on-demand video. Click here for details >>

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U of Minnesota’s tech transfer office to partner with gener8tor accelerator


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

The University of Minnesota’s Office of Technology Commercialization has announced a partnership with Wisconsin-based “gener8tor,” a leading start-up accelerator. The partnership is expected to bring even more momentum to UMinn’s already vibrant start-up efforts. continue reading »

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U of Washington researchers win National Cancer Institute start-up challenge


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) are among the winners of a start-up challenge aimed at accelerating healthcare technologies from the lab to the marketplace. continue reading »

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2016 edition of Royalty Rates for Medical Devices and Diagnostics released


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

The just-released Royalty Rates for Medical Devices & Diagnostics, 2016 Edition features new tables and graphics, 25% more deal data, and an expanded section on calculating royalty rates. Categories included — complete with royalty rates, technology descriptions, licensor and licensee, and transaction background and history — include:

  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Imaging Equipment
  • Blood Testing and Safety
  • Wound Treatment
  • Cancer Detection
  • Surgical Devices
  • Cardiovascular Devices
  • And more…

The 2016 Edition’s expanded guidance on how royalty rates can best be determined addresses topics affecting royalty rates such as exclusivity, naked patents, and licenses that include know-how and up-front payments. Also included is a discussion on how to use a discounted cash flow analysis to determine a royalty rate, as well as guidance on what not to do when determining a royalty rate. Royalty Rates for Medical Devices & Diagnostics, 2016 Edition is a one-of-a-kind resource that reports all available compensation terms from scores of completed medical device license agreements and court decisions, gathered from more than 20 years of research by a highly respected valuation and royalty rate expert.

For complete details, CLICK HERE >>

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U of Pittsburgh Medical Center spins out telemedicine company targeting nursing homes


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) health system is launching a software company to help nursing home patients reach clinicians during off hours. continue reading »

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U of Pennsylvania start-up develops advanced four-legged robot to scan rough, dangerous terrain


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

A University of Pennsylvania start-up has developed a four-legged robot designed to move across unknown, rough and vertical terrains. continue reading »

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StartUp Health Colorado launches to support and connect innovators, entrepreneurs and investors


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

StartUp Health, an organization based in Finland that invests in early stage healthtech companies, has launched an affiliate organization in Colorado to create an innovation hub for entrepreneurs, investors and industry stakeholders in that state. continue reading »

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Healthcare Sector: From Idea to Funding to Launch

Learn to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit among clinical innovators and apply proven business principles to fast-track new ideas into the marketplace. Click here for details >>

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Industrial electronics group launches free publication on tech transfer


By David Schwartz
Published: September 28th, 2016

The IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IES) has launched a new digital publication, IETTN (Industrial Electronics Technology Transfer News), that is intended as a means of fostering more collaboration and technology transfer between the electronics industry and the research sector.

The publication debuted in June and is touted by the group as the first digital publication to provide a showcase for TTOs involved in industrial electronics at the global level.

Marc Perron, IETTN’s editor in chief and a senior member of the IEEE, said the considerable benefits of many inventions are never realized “because basic knowledge of the technology transfer process” is lacking among significant parts of the innovation chain. “We therefore launched IETTN to address this problem by providing a space where technology transfer stories and articles are shared to an audience composed of all players in the innovation chain and where people can learn about the experience of others and ultimately achieve more success in commercializing their own industrial electronics technologies,” he added.

For more information, go to http://iettn.ieee-ies.org.

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