Tech Transfer eNews Blog

How tech companies and TTOs can foster good relationships


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: July 3rd, 2019

At the recent WSRG Medical Device Conference in San Francisco, a panel of business and technology experts discussed how to build successful relationships between industry and academia.

According to Sunita Rajdev of the UC San Francisco Office of Technology Management, companies seeking to license technologies from universities should make clear exactly how the technology is going to be used.

“If it does have multiple applications, then we need to have a conversation around field of use so that we can make sure that all aspects of the technology are developed and not just sitting on the company’s shelf,” says Rajdev. It is also important to have timelines and milestones for commercializing the technology, Rajdev adds.

“From the University of California’s perspective, we’re managing assets that belong to the state of California as well as to the inventors, so we’re looking for overall fair consideration,” he says.

John Maroney, CEO of biotech start-up Alessa Therapeutics, points to specific legwork that needs to be done by potential licensees prior to striking a deal.

“The first concern for a company licensing from the university is the question of what are you buying? Is there allowed claims? Is there issued patents? Is this an application that hasn’t seen an office action yet? And how compelling is that IP?” says Maroney. “You have to do some analysis yourself about freedom to operate because the university is not going to do that work until they have a partnership or a deal.”

Kathy Ku, former director of the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing and now working with WSRG, compares the initial negotiation process as a “first date” that creates the foundation for a healthy, long-term relationship. “I think the companies should just talk to the universities. It’s not a fight. It has to be a win-win,” says Ku. “As a community we have to sell that in the long term, a successful entrepreneurial culture comes out of having a supportive ecosystem.”

Source: MedCity News

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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