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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

UVA start-up secures funding to enhance treatment for spinal cord injuries


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 19th, 2019

A University of Virginia (UVA) start-up has secured funding to accelerate a technology designed to enhance treatment for spinal cord injuries. continue reading »

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Comings and goings


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 19th, 2019

Purdue University has named Theresa Mayer, vice president for research and innovation at Virginia Tech, to serve as executive vice president for research and partnerships.

Mayer is internationally recognized for her research in a range of fields including nanotechnology, photonic devices, electronics and microsystems. At Virginia Tech, she oversees the school’s portfolio of research, technology transfer activities, industry partnerships, sponsored research programs and more.

“An outstanding researcher and proven successful administrator, we think Theresa has all the qualities to lead our research programs to more new records and even greater success,” says Purdue president Mitch Daniels.

Mayer comments, “Under president Daniels’ leadership, Purdue has created a framework that recognizes the growing importance of deep and holistic partnerships of all types–state, federal, industry, university–to the university’s future success and growth. I look forward to engaging with the campus community, partners, alumni and friends to advance Purdue’s mission together.”

Source: Purdue News

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George Davis, CEO of Maryland-based start-up support and economic development organization TEDCO for two years, is resigning.

According to TEDCO, Davis is moving on because his contract expired and he decided not to renew. He plans to pursue a new opportunity, but further details have not been provided.

“George Davis has provided stellar leadership and vision to TEDCO, and we are grateful for his service,” says Francis Smith, chairman of the company’s board of directors. “Our board originally charged George with building on TEDCO’s solid foundation to make TEDCO the central hub for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups in Maryland. By any measure, George and his team achieved that goal and more. We are sorry to see him go and wish him well in his next endeavor.”

Davis led TEDCO in building up Maryland’s start-up community through funding, partnerships and other means. He also helped expand the Builder Fund, which supports entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, as well as Gateway Services, an initiative to provide increased support outside of investment programs.

“I could not be more proud of what the TEDCO team has accomplished in helping entrepreneurs and start-ups access industry-leading investment services, training and capital, in addition to protecting and growing Maryland investments,” says Davis. “I’m especially proud that TEDCO has begun to make unprecedented strides in helping Maryland’s women and minority entrepreneur communities.”

Davis plans to stay on at TEDCO as a senior advisor to the board while the company seeks a successor.

Source: Technical.ly

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Treat start-ups with ‘Texas hospitality’ to build strong relationships


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

“We started the new ventures operations doing four to six IP-based based start-ups a year,” Wade Fulghum, associate director of new ventures in NC State University’s Office of Research Commercialization, told the audience during at panel session at AUTM 2019 in Austin. “Now, we’ve done 102 companies in the last seven years, building a program from scratch. There were no support mechanisms, no funding, no guidelines.”

What he did have was the desire to offer “Texas Hospitality” to new start-ups, and it’s a strategy that has served the university well. The focus on creating a strong welcome for start-ups was spurred by an unforgettable experience early on, which he described as “the catalyst” for the changes he put in place.

The start-up in question, a biomedical firm called 410 Medical, had received $2.1 million from the Triangle Venture Alliance, so Fulghum, the TTO director, and the assistant director of new ventures went out to lunch with the founder surgeon to congratulate him. Instead of sitting down for a friendly meal, however, “he pulled out a breach letter,” Fulghum recalls. “It was strongly worded, basically saying ‘you pay the fee you owe us, or we’ll send you to collections.’”

It makes sense that Fulghum was taken completely by surprise, since at that time the TTO’s administrative functions (patent, reporting, financial) were somewhat isolated from venture activity. “I realized that essentially there was a wall between founders and the folks in our office who did operations,” he explains.

What’s more, Fulghum noted, the start-up companies and TTO administrators had never met face-to-face. “The breach letter had some very strong, impersonal language, which did not bode well for a long-term relationship — which is what start-ups are,” he added. “We realized that we needed to be careful about how we communicated.”

As a result of that experience and the desire to improve start-up relationships, Fulghum and his team developed what they call the “PackStart” program, which begins with a start-up launch meeting to celebrate the successful execution of the license “and the start of a long-term relationship,” he says. The start-up’s team is invited to the office to meet with “all operations, finance, patent, licensing and new venture folks to tell us about what they’re doing,” he explains. “They get very excited about what they’re pursuing; it’s really helpful and motivating for folks.”

In addition to answering any questions the start-up may have during the celebration, the new ventures team also generates a “PackStart Letter” for the start-up, which shows all the resources available to them and spells out “what we’ll do help to them on their journey,” Fulghum says.

The letter also provides a summarized list of the key dates and milestones from the license. “For example, we’ll tell them when the first report is due, the first milestone, and so on, in simplified ‘legalese,’” Fulghum says. “It explains patent reporting, royalties, and so on. It also goes through our [support] programs.”

A detailed article on the NC State start-up “welcome” process appears in the May issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. For subscription information, CLICK HERE.

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Columbia U and Deerfield launch company to advance novel therapeutics


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

Columbia University has become the latest major research university to strike a deal with healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management, joining forces to form a company that will take the school’s biomedical research and lead it toward commercialization. continue reading »

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Inside the VC Industry’s View of University Spinouts: Critical Insights for TTOs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has secured a team of VC execs for an eye-opening webinar that will provide tech transfer professionals an exclusive “insiders’ view” of the venture capital industry’s perspective on university start-ups. You’ll learn how venture firms and corporate venture arms decide where to invest, how these funds work to deliver the returns that their investors expect from this asset class, and understand the VCs’ unique concerns that impact diligence and investment decisions for university spinouts.  

This one-hour webinar will also focus on the impact of follow-on funding on university equity and highlight trends in the venture industry and their impact on return expectations for university equity holdings.

With panelists representing both venture investors and corporate venture arms, the program will focus on later stage investing, revealing how investment decisions are made in the growth and late stages — and how return expectations and deal structures change. Finally, the panel will discuss the impact on venture economics of the growing trend to raise large sums money that allow start-ups to stay private longer before exiting. Please join us on June 20th for this unique webinar: Inside the VC Industry’s View of University Spinouts: Critical Insights for TTOs. For complete faculty and program details or to register, CLICK HERE.

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U of Dundee inks license for new multiple sclerosis drug target  


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

The University of Dundee has licensed out rights to research to Corbin Therapeutics, a Montreal-based biotech company, that could lead to new treatments for neuroinflammation-based disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). continue reading »

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U of Memphis creates new fellowship program focused on launching start-ups


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

The University of Memphis (U of M) is launching a postdoctoral fellowship program designed to spark the formation of start-ups based on university technologies. continue reading »

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The Strategic Negotiator: A comprehensive manual for negotiating deals at the highest level


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

The Strategic Negotiator breaks the mold on negotiation treatises, taking a singularly practical, real-world approach that you will refer to again and again as you prepare for critical dealmaking activity. In this 800-page resource you’ll find powerful negotiation lessons delivered through case studies and examples that make complex concepts not only clear but interesting and readable. You’ll find virtually every situation you’ll encounter covered in this comprehensive resource by expert David Wanetick, CEO of the Institute of Strategic Negotiations.

Here are just a few of the critical areas covered:

  • how to create leverage
  • how to properly sequence contentious issues
  • how to negotiate around valuations
  • how to use agents effectively
  • how to manage concessions
  • how to overcome deadlocks and impasses

Tech Transfer Central is offering a $300 discount on this one-of-a-kind resource. For complete details and a complete table of contents, CLICK HERE >>

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U.S. Air Force expands its STTR program in search for new technologies


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

The U.S. Air Force is updating its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program to provide larger awards and support a broader range of technologies for commercialization as it seeks new technologies from university research labs.

Under the STTR program, university research teams submit a proposal detailing their technology idea. In Phase I of the program, selected teams will undergo Air Force customer discovery and technology development for a period of approximately three months. Successful teams have the opportunity to compete for Phase II awards leading to prototype development and technology validation with the Air Force.

Led by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the new initiative is an open call for innovations that may not be currently listed under other, more specific STTR topics but still serve the Air Force’s broad interest. These may include innovations in engineering and complex systems, information and networks, physical sciences, and chemical and biological sciences.

The effort will also increase the amount of money awarded in each phase of the STTR program from $15,000 to $25,000 in Phase I and from $100,000 to $200,000 in Phase II.

“Academia produces disruptive science and technology innovations at an increasingly rapid pace,” says Lt. Col. Randy “Laz” Gordon, STTR capability lead for AFWERX, an Air Force initiative to accelerate innovation. “We realized we have to meet them at the speed they’re going in order to harness the power of their ideas and tech for use within the Air Force.”

Source: dvids

The Survey of Best Practices in Pursuit of NIH SBIR & STTR Grants provides a rich set of best practices and data to compare against your own strategies in pursuing NIH SBIR and STTR funding. For complete details, CLICK HERE.

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Ben-Gurion U researcher develops new imaging material that replaces weapons-grade uranium


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

A researcher from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel has discovered a way to use nuclear-based imaging technologies without the need for potentially harmful levels of uranium. continue reading »

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Comings and goings


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 12th, 2019

•  The University of Chicago (UChicago) Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has hired Jay Schrankler, a tech transfer veteran who most recently headed up tech transfer efforts at the University of Minnesota, to serve as vice president.

In his new role, Schrankler will oversee the Polsky Center and work closely with university leaders to develop and implement a strategy to integrate entrepreneurship and technology commercialization initiatives across UChicago. He will also promote industry partnerships and help launch new entrepreneurial programs at the university’s international campuses in Hong Kong, London, Paris, Delhi and other outposts.

Schrankler previously served as associate vice president in the University of Minnesota’s Office for Technology Commercialization, where he helped turn the organization into a top-rated tech transfer office that has generated over $550 million in revenue over 10 years. He has also served in various senior executive management and global leadership positions at Honeywell.

“Jay’s appointment comes at an important time as the Polsky Center continues to expand its entrepreneurship education and technology commercialization support for faculty, staff, students, alumni and community entrepreneurs — both on campus and internationally,” says Bala Srinivasan, vice president for strategy and innovation, chief international officer and deputy provost at UChicago. “His extensive leadership experience and proven track record will allow us to move faster on our bold ambitions.”

Schrankler comments, “I am deeply honored to join the University of Chicago and serve as the new head of the Polsky Center. The university’s great reputation, coupled with the longtime success of the Polsky Center, provide a tremendous opportunity for the future. I’m eager to get to work harnessing the Polsky Center’s existing momentum and scaling it to entirely new levels.”

Source: UChicago News

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•  Vanderbilt University has named professor David Owens to serve as director of its Wond’ry innovation and entrepreneurship lab.

Owens has devoted his academic work to innovation, new product development and start-up management. He currently serves as faculty director for the Vanderbilt Accelerator-Summer Business Institute and has lent his expertise to companies including LEGO, Gibson Music, Nissan and Wrigley’s.

“From day one, Dave Owens has been a key faculty member for Vanderbilt’s cross-disciplinary hub of innovation,” says Susan Wente, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Vanderbilt. “Dave’s nationally recognized expertise in innovation — along with his commitment for mentoring future innovators — make him the perfect choice to build on the Wond’ry’s early momentum and development.”

Owens says his main goal is to help students, faculty and staff by making it easier to find the tools, mentors and expertise necessary to make them better innovators. “We will also increase the Wond’ry’s connections to Vanderbilt’s research centers, while working in close partnership with the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization,” says Owens.

Source: Nashville Post

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•  The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) Foundation has selected Laura A. Schoppe, president of leading tech transfer company Fuentek, to serve as the new Board Chair.

The AUTM Foundation supports programs that benefit AUTM and the profession of technology transfer. Schoppe has previously served as AUTM’s vice president of strategic alliances. In her new position, she will work closely with staff on the organization’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, its Global Professional Development initiative and Technology Transfer Career Training Program.

As president of Fuentek, Schoppe has led the company’s efforts to serve university, government, corporate and nonprofit research organizations throughout the U.S. as well as in the EU, the Middle East and Asia.

“Laura Schoppe is the best person to guide the Foundation’s rapidly expanding work,” says AUTM Foundation executive director Kelly Markey. “Her career aligns perfectly with the Foundation’s core initiatives — to educate, communicate, advocate and innovate.”

Source: fuentek

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U of Toronto’s True Blue Fund gives alums new way of giving back


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 5th, 2019

The University of Toronto (U of T) is one of the most successful universities in the world when it comes to research commercialization and start-up formation. Over the past decade, its entrepreneurs have launched more than 500 research-based start-ups, generating more than $1 billion in investment. Despite these successes, however, challenges remain in the area of funding for these start-ups and their ability to take ideas to market.

To address this challenge, U of T has created an out-of-the-box philanthropic funding model to support its entrepreneurs — the True Blue Fund. The seed money for the fund is coming from the university in the amount of $2.5 million, which will match donations in support of student and recent alumni awards, fellowships and accelerator funds to total an impressive $5 million.

The brains behind the True Blue Fund concept were David Palmer, the university’s vice president of advancement, and Vivek Goel, U of T’s vice president of research and innovation. A few years ago, they were collaborating on putting together the Entrepreneurship Leadership Council and had one of those “aha” moments.

While it’s somewhat rare for university TTOs to work cooperatively with philanthropy/development folks, Goel explains that U of T Entrepreneurship is housed in the Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation Office, and works closely with the Division of University Advancement to further the university’s entrepreneurship mission. Both divisions jointly lead the effort to support the work of the Entrepreneurship Leadership Council, which provides U of T with expert advice on how to expand its innovation ecosystem, stimulate entrepreneurship, capitalize on breakthroughs and connect to other innovation ecosystems and markets worldwide.

Palmer said that, in the process of meeting with alumni around the world, it became clear a “large number” of innovators and entrepreneurs were looking for a way to give back to U of T by supporting its innovation and entrepreneurship efforts. So, Palmer and Goel worked with the Council and set out to create a vehicle for donors where they could make philanthropic financial contributions to an early stage angel-type seed fund.  Gifts can be directed to support a campus-linked incubator or accelerator or to a specific project.

“This model is an excellent way for schools to plug in their successful alumni entrepreneurs to advise on key opportunities and challenges they might be facing in the entrepreneurship space, and to create an even stronger network of mentors and advisors to the school’s budding entrepreneurs,” Goel says. He says Council members themselves are stepping up to provide the first donations to the fund, “and development staff are conducting outreach to alumni and friends.”

A detailed article on the True Blue Fund appears in the May issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. For subscription information, CLICK HERE.

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