Tech Transfer eNews Blog
Archer Norris

TTO creates roadmap to recovery from nightmare of financial disarray


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

It’s the stuff of nightmares for tech transfer professionals, but for MSU Technologies it was a living disaster.

“Faced with the lack of financial files and under-populated information, nobody could get a handle on what was going on,” recalled Jennifer E. Folger, IP Finance Coordinator for Michigan State University’s TTO, MSU Technologies, as she recounted the challenges of trying to get her office’s finances together. “In 2007 we really could not easily get our hands on royalty payments or invoices; distribution records could be attached to the original payment or nowhere at all.”

In years past, rapid growth of tech transfer workflow — due in large part to a major commercial success of a cancer drug – monopolized staff time, Folger reports. But the office did not increase personnel and expertise to match the increased workflow, and over time standardized processes and controls were lost as activity increased.

Folger recounted the five-year project MSU undertook to overhaul their TTO’s financial tracking system. The overhaul included building a new, more reliable and useful database, as well as developing standards for routine distributions, reimbursements, billing interest and account statement communication. She also outlined a model for TTOs that wish to complete a similar process, including significant staff changes and bringing a consulting firm on board.

The multi-year project set the stage for a significant turnaround at MSU, including growth of spinout projects year over year since 2012 and a 97% increase in licenses and options for FY 2014.

The project began with the addition of more staff. “We went from eight employees to 20 and added people with greater experience,” Folger noted. “Adding people in these functional areas allowed us to pay more attention to records and still keep work flow moving.” Among the full-time people she added were coordinators for technologies; one for agreements, and one for finance. Cross training, she added, was also an important part of the effort.

Folger was unable to start making improvements until all old agreements were reviewed and corrected in the TTO database, and she could finally decipher which technologies and patents were linked to each other. “Finance couldn’t do their part until the agreements were cleaned up, and agreements could not do their part until technologies and patents were correctly mapped,” she explained.

“We were working to try and clear the path, but we could not stop doing our daily work to fix or update everything that had come before,” she continued. “New processes needed to be standardized for all steps. For example, once we deposited a check following the new standards, we’d know what to do with every check that came in the door. Then invoices; we created a standard process so that we can now do that right every time. Each new step helped us learn what did and didn’t work.”

The project was “an exercise in logic, but when we were finished we knew exactly what we had left to distribute, and what licensees had paid us — a very good place to be compared to the ‘I don’t know’ of the past.” A detailed article on the intensive effort to improve MSU’s financial systems appears in the  June issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the entire article, along with hundreds of other case studies and best practices for TTOs in our eight-year archive for subscribers, CLICK HERE.

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

St. Louis U, Scripps researchers develop groundbreaking anti-cancer drug


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

A Saint Louis University (SLU) researcher is the first to discover a way to stop cancer cell growth by targeting the Warburg effect, a trait of cancer cell metabolism that scientists have long been trying to attack. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

The Venture Funding Boom in UK University Start-ups: New Models for Bringing Capital to Commercialization


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

In recent years there has been a major uptick in large venture funds being established and run by UK universities, a trend just now being adopted by a few U.S. universities. The UK’s London Stock Exchange has also become the epicenter for a rapidly growing number of publicly traded companies focused on funding and developing university start-ups, while a number of other high-profile VC firms are entering into partnerships with universities — achieving great success for both parties.

How are these funding and development models working, and how can you adapt their successes for your university and its promising start-ups? To answer those questions, Technology Transfer Tactics has partnered with MTI Ventures, a UK- and Boston-based VC firm that is heavily involved in funding university start-ups. MTI has established a unique and successful model that attaches its VC to the universities it works with.

The firm’s president, David Ward, is one of the world’s most esteemed VC leaders and thinkers, and he’s ready to unveil MTI’s innovative funding model – as well as the critical lessons and strategies being used elsewhere in the UK’s vibrant university start-up scene. Please join us on July 28th for The Venture Funding Boom in UK University Start-ups: New Models for Bringing Capital to Commercialization.

For complete details and to register, CLICK HERE.

ALSO COMING SOON:

→ No CommentsPosted under: Distance Learning, Tech Transfer e-News

MIT researchers develop new, cheaper manufacturing method for lithium-ion batteries


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an advanced approach to manufacturing lithium-ion batteries that could significantly cut costs while also improving their performance and making them more recyclable.

continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

U of Wisconsin device that helps blind people “see” with their tongues gets FDA nod


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

A technology from the University of Wisconsin (UW) at Madison that helps blind people “see” using their tongues has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The three-part device captures images with a camera attached to sunglasses, routes the images through a handheld controller, and sends them to a 1-inch square device containing 400 electrical stimulation points that rests on the user’s tongue. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

U of Maryland researchers develop biological process to increase food safety


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have developed a process that accelerates the separation of bacteria to increase food safety.

continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

7 ways to get the most out of joining a start-up accelerator


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

In his recent article for AlleyWatch, Alex Iskold, managing director of NYC start-up accelerator Techstars, offers entrepreneurs seven pieces of advice on how to get the most out of joining an accelerator. continue reading »

With the ULTIMATE University Incubator Benchmark Package you’ll get over 160-pages of best practices and benchmarks from 150 incubators in 22 countries.

For a limited time, you can take advantage of this special discount offer: Purchase BOTH university business incubator resources and save $200! Click here to order now >>

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

Max Planck and Actelion launch start-up to commercialize novel vaccines


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

A new start-up from leading biopharmaceutical company Actelion Ltd. and the Max Planck Society, Germany’s leading research organization, aims to commercialize synthetic carbohydrate vaccines.

continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

IP Law Essentials for Principal Investigators, Faculty and Student Inventors


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

It’s no secret that faculty researchers and student innovators don’t typically have a clear understanding of intellectual property law — but the consequences of simple errors that arise from lack of basic know-how can be devastating to future patent protection and commercialization plans.

That’s why Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has created IP Law Essentials for Principal Investigators, Faculty and Student Inventors, a 2-session primer on IP and patent law specifically designed for PIs and faculty or student inventors. The two programs — IP Law 101 and IP Law 201 — cover the patent law basics and then delve into more advance concepts involved in protecting IP created in university labs.

For complete details and to order, CLICK HERE >>

→ No CommentsPosted under: Distance Learning, Tech Transfer e-News

Columbia U licenses UV technology that fights infection during surgeries


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

USHIO Inc., a leading manufacturer of light sources based in Tokyo, has entered into an exclusive license agreement for ultraviolet light technology with Columbia University. The technology utilizes UV radiation within a particular wavelength to prevent infection during surgeries, which is responsible for over 8,000 patient deaths and up to $10 billion in healthcare costs in the U.S. alone each year. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

How to write a two-page executive summary that will impress investors more than a wordy pitch


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

In his recent post for Entrepreneur, start-up mentor and investor Martin Zwilling offers founders seven tips on creating an executive summary that wins over investors. “Few investors these days have the time or patience to read a full business plan,” Zwilling writes. “A better way to catch their eye is with a tightly written and well formatted two-page executive summary.” continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News

Tekcapital, U Michigan ink license agreement for rights to device that generates energy from human movement


By David Schwartz
Published: July 1st, 2015

Intellectual property group Tekcapital has inked an exclusive, worldwide license with the University of Michigan for rights to technology that powers smartphones and smart watches with energy created by human movement. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Tech Transfer e-News