Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Pacific Northwest National Lab initiative will pitch technologies to entrepreneurs

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 15th, 2017

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is launching an initiative to build more start-ups based on the lab’s inventions.

Led by Rosemarie Truman, the new director of innovation impact at PNNL, the start-up challenge strategy involves pitching lab technologies to qualified entrepreneurs, rather than to investors or judges. Truman has practiced this approach while running the nonprofit Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI), where she invited teams of entrepreneurs to launch start-ups around breast cancer-related inventions from the National Institutes of Health.

According to Truman, CAI spun out 11 companies in the first year of the challenge. “You’re bundling inventions but also increasing collaboration opportunities that are byproducts of the challenge model,” says Truman. “What I’d love to be able to is institutionalize models that could truly maximize our ability to make the most impact of our commercially viable inventions that we have in the United States.”

Part of that effort includes making lab-developed innovations more discoverable — and understandable — for outsiders.

Truman’s broader goal is for PNNL to be faster and more efficient at commercializing research. She estimates that a six percent increase in the rate at which inventions are licensed out from U.S. research labs in general could lead to a major boost in GDP in the range of $500 billion to $1.5 trillion each year.

The first PNNL startup challenge is slated to begin in late summer 2017.

Source: Xconomy

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