Industry-Sponsored Research Week
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How Ohio State centralizes siloed information for corporate engagement


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

Many companies want a single point of contact at for their university partnering. For universities to be able to accommodate them, however, they need to gather information from all corporate-facing units — including separate schools, offices of sponsored research, tech transfer, foundations, and career services — and be able to present it to companies as a clear and comprehensive view of engagement activities.

“The Ohio State University, like any large university, has many different units that do corporate-facing engagement,” says Dan Kramer, PhD, PMP, associate vice president in the Office of Research’s Industry Liaison Office. “My office is responsible for corporate research relationships, and then there’s the Office of Economic and Corporate Engagement — a fairly new experiment at Ohio State — whose responsibility is to be an overarching single point of coordination with corporate partners. We fully recognize that our corporate customers want to deal with Ohio State as a unit. They don’t appreciate ten people simultaneously knocking on doors.”

Kramer considered different options over the years before settling on a way create a central data repository of knowledge for all things happening between Ohio State and its corporate partners. In doing so, he encountered serious challenges, such as the sheer number of databases — about 20 scattered across campus. Another challenge was that much of the information was not in the form of a database, but rather contained in separate customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

“The difficulty is that every one of our units has different needs with regards to how we would choose to store information in a CRM,” says Kramer. “Building out a customized CRM would have required understanding the language and the process flow of each different user constituency inside the university and building all of that together. That’s the challenge for any university is trying to solve this problem.”

Whether the university builds a campuswide CRM internally or customizes a commercial CRM system, it becomes very expensive, time consuming, and cumbersome to create something that everybody can effectively use. “When you build it yourself, you’ll end up with a better product in terms of building exactly the processes, culture, and structure of your university, but now you don’t have the advantage of [the commercial product] releasing updates and bug fixes. And customized tools are very rigid in that they have to fit the structure behind them of the people,” Kramer observes.

Kramer realized that instead of trying to create a CRM, he really just needed to know who to talk to internally to understand Ohio State’s existing engagements. Instead of a CRM, he and his colleague, Amy Spellacy, administrator for communities of practice in the Industry Liaison Office, created a customized campuswide corporate engagement search tool, or CES.

“Our tool looks exactly the same for everybody,” says Kramer. “We all understand the CES because we’re not trying to track a sale, a process, or a contact. We use the data to figure out who we need to talk to internally. At its core, that is the fundamental difference between a CRM and what we built. And what we built gets us where we need to be.”

Kramer found the solution he was looking for two years ago during a chance encounter. He just happened to have a conversation with someone from OSU’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, who mentioned that Ohio State’s mobile application group had started to use a tool called Elasticsearch (https://www.elastic.co/).

Elasticsearch, which is similar to the Google search engine, provides a framework for searching through massive amounts of data across different software. Kramer theorized that he could use 20% of his available dataset from four databases — Contracts, Tech Commercialization, Advancement, and Procurement — to yield 80% of the information he needed. “We wanted to create a unified database that would refresh every night from four primary systems,” said Kramer.

An in-depth article on the Ohio State data search system, a complementary new CRM program, and how they are used to track and report to corporate partners appears in the August issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. To subscribe and access the full article, along with the publication’s rich subscriber archive of articles filled with best practices and success strategies for building long-term, high-value industry partnerships, CLICK HERE.

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Mallinckrodt Pharma to fund up to $10 million in rare-disease research at Washington U


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has joined with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals in a collaborative research partnership aimed at pursuing new therapies for patients with complex medical conditions, especially rare diseases that may have few or no treatment options. continue reading »

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IP Audit Checklist: Best Practices to Identify, Protect, Monetize and Enforce University IP Assets


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

IP audits are essential to properly manage your university’s IP portfolio. To fully understand the commercial potential as well as the risks — in many cases involving hundreds of individual IP assets — a regular and systematic review process is an absolute must. Without it, you could be losing out on significant revenue opportunities, overlooking litigation risks, and missing critical deadlines and filing requirements that could even cost you the rights to that IP.

That’s why Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has scheduled this detailed program led by a team of expert attorneys from the law firm Offit Kurman: IP Audit Checklist: Best Practices to Identify, Protect, Monetize and Enforce University IP Assets. Join us on September 26th for this practical session that will take you step-by-step through the process and procedures of a general audit, event-driven audit, and limited-purpose IP audit.

For complete details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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RCSI and Bayer enter research collaboration to improve hemophilia treatment


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Bayer announced a research collaboration focused on improving treatments for people with severe hemophilia. The project will explore new treatments that can be tailored to the severity of each individual’s condition in order to safely and effectively promote blood clotting in hemophilia sufferers. continue reading »

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U Penn, Aevitas Therapeutics ink research agreement to advance AAV gene therapy


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

The University of Pennsylvania has entered a sponsored research agreement around evaluation of an adeno-associated virus gene therapy being evaluated by Aevitas Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Fortress Biotech. The animal model research will take place in the laboratory of Wenchao Song, PhD, a professor of pharmacology in U Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. continue reading »

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Optus and Curtin University partner on AI research


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

Australia’s Curtin University has entered a five-year industry-academia partnership with Optus Business that will establish a centre of excellence in artificial intelligence see the pair work together on AI research and development. continue reading »

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Survey of Sponsored Research Agreements between the Private Sector and Higher Education


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

The Survey of Sponsored Research Agreements between the Private Sector and Higher Education includes 150 pages of key data and trends based on extensive survey results from major research universities and their agreements with private sector entities.

This one-of-a-kind resource provides a rich set of benchmarks and data to compare against your own sponsored research activity. It’s jam-packed with over 180 easy-to-scan charts and figures displaying critical data you can’t find in any other publication. The report provides an in-depth look into key data so you can compare your practices and see how you stack up against other organizations — and use the data to point you to areas for improvement. For complete details, CLICK HERE >>

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Korean institute signs research and license agreement after study shows enhanced ability to use sunlight and water to convert CO2 into renewable fuel


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

Attis Industries Inc., a diversified innovation and technology holding company, has signed a sponsored research and exclusive license agreement with South Korea’s Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) to develop and commercialize processes that use sunlight to efficiently promote conversion of carbon dioxide and water into hydrocarbon fuels compatible with the current energy infrastructure. continue reading »

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UIDP27 is just weeks away!


By David Schwartz
Published: August 14th, 2018

On September 11th-14th, UIDP will host its semi-annual conference in Chicago, IL. The events keynote speaker will be Leigh Thompson, the J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution & Organizations in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. 

UIDP27 is hosted by Northwestern University, in partnership with The University of Chicago and The University of Illinois at Chicago. Join them this fall and explore the role of university-industry partnerships in various emerging technologies. 

Register here. For more information, go to uidp.org

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Oakland U’s Mobilization Zone platform is front door for regional engagement


By David Schwartz
Published: August 7th, 2018

Not all universities have the research power of an MIT, a Carnegie Mellon, or a Stanford — and some are worlds away from that sort of reputation — but that doesn’t mean they can’t make the most of their faculty and student research in both commercialization and corporate partnerships.

Just ask Oakland University in Rochester, MI, a regional school whose newly created Mobilization Zone (MZ) platform is serving as a magnet for entrepreneurs as well as companies, bringing economic development benefits along with it.

Launched 11 months ago, the MZ is a platform for integrating all aspects of Oakland University (OU) to reach out to the regional community, including the business community. MZ engagement platforms include an undergraduate research center, a lecture series, and a database to match university resources to community needs. MZ economic development platforms include an Idea to Business (I2B) program, two business incubators, the Oakland Business Engagement Center (OBEC), industry outreach and strategic support, and technology transfer.

David Stone, PhD, chief research officer at OU, arrived at the university two years ago with the idea of raising its profile as a regional research university that served as a “steward of place.” He wanted to support faculty who saw ways of translating what they did in the laboratory or in the field out into the world.

“We wanted to create something specifically for a regional leader,” said Stone. “Unlike flagship universities or land grants, whose research has worldwide impact, regional research schools are very much stewards of place. While we sometimes do have global impact, we’re always the local neighborhood university.”

Michael Long, PhD, who has been a mentor-in-residence at OU since January 2016, was thinking along the same lines. “Dave and I thought about this type of entity without the name independently,” recalls Long. “When I got here, I could see that there wasn’t a front door, that there wasn’t any way for anyone to interact.”

A detailed article on Oakland U’s Mobilization Zone platform appears in the July issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. To subscribe and access the full article, along with the entire subscriber-only archive of best practices and success strategies for building corporate partnerships and engagement, CLICK HERE.

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Boeing becomes first major tenant in MIT’s bid to harness ‘power of proximity’


By David Schwartz
Published: August 7th, 2018

Aerospace giant Boeing has signed on as the first major corporate tenant in MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative, a collection of six sites near campus that the school is using to further build out its already considerable innovation ecosystem. The company has agreed to lease about 100,000 square feet in a building being developed in the heart of Cambridge’s Kendall Square. continue reading »

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Antibody Patenting and Licensing Challenges in Light of Amgen v. Sanofi


By David Schwartz
Published: August 7th, 2018

Over the past decade, multiple patents on therapeutic antibodies have been invalidated in the courts, often for lack of written description — and it won’t be getting any easier after the Amgen v. Sanofi Fed Circuit decision. The case indicated that even for a new class of antibodies, the written description requirement can be met only through the disclosure of a “sufficient” number of representative antibodies — including highly specific amino acid sequences. Adding to the challenge is the retroactive application of the ruling, leaving billions in antibody patents at risk.

Research universities invest millions of dollars in discovering and developing antibodies, and they — and their potential licensees — are faced with uncertainty and heightened risk in the wake of these developments. That’s why Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has tapped biotech patent expert Kevin E. Noonan, PhD, to lead this critically important webinar: Antibody Patenting and Licensing Challenges in Light of Amgen v. Sanofi.

For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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