Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Aquinox Pharmaceuticals acquires cancer therapeutic start-up from U of Washington


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

Vancouver-based Aquinox Pharmaceuticals is set to acquire Neoleukin Therapeutics, a start-up from the University of Washington (UW) that has developed a synthetic protein to fight cancer. continue reading »

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Brown start-up connects talented students with large companies for contract gigs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

A Brown University start-up originally launched to help college students find side projects is pivoting to connect students with larger companies. continue reading »

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U of Maryland-Baltimore start-up develops software to help pharma companies succeed


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

A spinout from the University of Maryland-Baltimore (UMB) has developed a cutting-edge software platform for pharmaceutical researchers and clinicians.

Launched by faculty members at the UMB School of Pharmacy (SOP), Pumas-AI aims to double pharmaceutical and patient care success rates by providing easy-to-access tools and education in the health care data analytics space.

The Pumas software platform, which was co-developed with experts at Julia Computing, offers a wide range of analytic capabilities for pharmaceutical and biotechnology development. In particular, Pumas helps with therapeutic decision-making, addressing a crucial need for pharmaceutical companies and investors, who often base their decisions on a combination of probabilities concerning technology viability, regulatory approval and commercial success. The Pumas software can provide all of these probabilities quantitatively.

“The success rate for pharmaceutical innovations is approximately two percent,” says Puma-AI co-founder Joga Gobburu. “Pumas software is tailored to revolutionize big data analytics in health care, unlike those tools used in other fields. By combining the extensive health care knowledge of our faculty and staff with the scientific computing experts at Julia Computing, we have developed a tool that will not only benefit business leaders working in the pharmaceutical industry, but also those who are caring for patients on the frontline of health care delivery.”

Phil Robilotto, associate vice president at the UMB Office of Technology Transfer and director of UM Ventures, comments, “Moving technologies with commercial potential, such as Puma’s, into the public sector is an important aspect of what universities do. This innovative health care created by SOP’s scientific team is a big success for UMB and will be incredibly beneficial to the public as it’s further developed.”

Source: Newswise

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Oxford spinout develops MRI technology for earlier detection of Alzheimer’s


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

An Oxford University spinout is developing a new technique for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease from MRI scans. continue reading »

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Creating Win-Win Incentive Plans for Tech Transfer Staff: The Emory University Model


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

Giving your staff more skin in the game and rewarding team performance with monetary incentives will lead to happier staff, quicker deals, and increased licensing revenue. Just ask Emory University’s Todd Sherer.

It all started in 2003 when the Office of Technology Transfer was asked to propose an incentive plan. The purpose of the plan was to further motivate the OTT staff to support faculty development of marketable technology with the goal of increased licensing revenue. The metrics and weighting have been adjusted some over the years to ensure performance milestones are met before a pay-out can occur, but the results have been, and continue to be, a slam-dunk winner for the staff and the university.

While incentive and bonus plans have become more commonplace in TTOs, they are still the exception rather than the rule, and those who have implemented such plans have looked to Emory for guidance and best practice advice. That’s why Tech Transfer Central, in partnership with Todd Sherer, PhD, Emory’s Associate Vice President for Research and Executive Director for the Office of Technology, has scheduled this insightful and detailed webinar: Creating Win-Win Incentive Plans for Tech Transfer Staff: The Emory University Model, scheduled for September 12th. For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Princeton undergrads launch life science start-up without benefit of entrepreneurship programs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

A team of MBA students at Princeton University has formed to commercialize a life science technology — not as part of a regimented entrepreneurship program, but as legitimate company founders. continue reading »

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Princeton start-up lands $3.7M to commercialize blockchain software


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

A Princeton University start-up has raised $3.7 million in a seed funding round to commercialize a blockchain add-on software package. continue reading »

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UC Riverside researcher creates stronger, lighter material inspired by an ancient crustacean


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 13th, 2019

A researcher at the University of California-Riverside (UCR) has created a lightweight, impact-resistant technology inspired by a tiny crustacean. continue reading »

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Memorial U adopts creator-owned IP policy


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 7th, 2019

Deciding that loosening the grip on IP rights may yield more commercialization in the long run, Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, has revised its IP policy to make dealing with the university easier. In fact, the university is giving up its stake in much of the IP developed by students and faculty.

The goal is to drive commercialization and entrepreneurialism, says Neil Bose, PhD, vice present for research at the university. “Companies that we had dealt with said that as a university we were difficult to deal with. Everything relied on setting up a university stake, the percent of revenue that the university owned, and the agreements that eventually were set up took a long time to progress through the system,” Bose says. “Our collaborators would see us as difficult to deal with, and at least in an anecdotal sense, that was our reputation among potential collaborators.”

Another impetus came from an analysis of income from all the university’s IP commercialization revenue streams. Over five years, the university had brought in only about $18,000 per year on these agreements. “Really that isn’t very big compared to the size of the university and the amount of effort that went into it,” Bose says. “Based on those two things, we over a period of a few years went through the process of revising the IP policy and we ended up with a system whereby essentially the faculty and students own the IP — a creator-owned IP policy. The university doesn’t have a stake in the IP unless it provides material input — cash basically — into part of the program or if we had been asked to provide support in the way of patent protection or something like that.”

If the university provided such support, the IP policy calls for an agreement in which the investment will be repaid. If Memorial University staff develop IP, as opposed to faculty and students, then the university does own a stake in the IP, Bose explains.

He expects the simplification to make IP more attractive to industry contacts. “I wouldn’t say it’s really easy because you still have the problem of the groups coming to an agreement, but it’s easier than having a third party as well, the university, trying to negotiate a claim too,” Bose says. “The company often would question why the university has a claim when it hadn’t really done anything or put any money in, since most of our research funding is third-party funding in conjunction with collaborators and research councils.”

A detailed article on Memorial University’s IP policy change appears in the July issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. For subscription information, CLICK HERE.

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UVA invests in start-up developing novel therapeutic for arterial disease


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 7th, 2019

The University of Virginia Licensing and Ventures Group (UVA LVG) has invested in a start-up that is developing a novel therapeutic to treat Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). continue reading »

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Taking Legal Action Against Your Licensee: What TTOs Need to Know


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 7th, 2019

Every so often, there comes a time when tensions arise between a university TTO and its licensee. Whether it’s due to a communication snafu, license compliance, payment issues, or performance problems, most of the time these disputes can be resolved quickly with little impact to the relationship — particularly for TTOs with an effective enforcement plan in place. However, when discussions fail to bear fruit, there are times when the university’s investment, reputation and the future of the technology demands that a dispute escalate to the point of litigation. Will you be prepared?   

Many TTOs try to avoid conflict with their licensees believing that pressing a dispute will harm the university’s reputation or the relationship between the licensee and the university researcher/inventor. Unfortunately, the result is usually lost revenue for the university and diminished respect for the university’s IP. In fact, as you’ll discover in this eye-opening program, raising a legitimate dispute with the licensee’s decision makers can result in the recovery of unpaid royalties and often lead to an improved and expanded relationship between the university and its licensees and potential licensees.  

Taking Legal Action Against Your Licensee: What TTOs Need to Know, scheduled for August 6th, will explore real-world strategies for addressing disputes with licensees and infringers alike. Proven best practices for navigating the complexities of enforcement — from identifying problems to negotiating solutions to full-blown litigation — will be discussed. Please join Technology Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division and its team of expert attorneys from Fish and Richardson for this important webinar. For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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UCSF researchers develop technology that translates human thoughts into speech


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 7th, 2019

A research team at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) has developed a method to decode human thoughts into speech in real-time.

Voice control is advancing rapidly as the standard method for interacting with devices, but it is impractical in public settings and not viable for anyone who is mute or suffers from a speech impediment that current technologies are unable to process.

The UCSF innovation is intended to enable mute or speech-challenged individuals to speak through a ‘neural speech prosthesis’ that can produce relatively normal-sounding speech from decoded brain activity.

“Real-time processing of brain activity has been used to decode simple speech sounds, but this is the first time this approach has been used to identify spoken words and phrases,” says lead researcher David Moses. “It’s important to keep in mind that we achieved this using a very limited vocabulary, but in future studies we hope to increase the flexibility as well as the accuracy of what we can translate from brain activity.”

Facebook provided sponsored research funding for the research. While the UCSF team is developing the technology to help mute individuals or those with ALS and other conditions to speak through their thoughts, Facebook may be seeking a way to develop brain-controlled augmented reality glasses.

Source: Big News Network

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