Tech Transfer Central

Technology Transfer Tactics, November 2023


Technology Transfer Tactics, November 2023The following is a list of the articles that appear in the November 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 11, November 2023

  • Faculty consulting can force TTOs into difficult decisions on asserting IP ownership. Faculty consulting with companies to help them design or improve products, or otherwise develop ideas that might become commercially viable, is common and can be a significant revenue stream for faculty members. World class experts in technology or medicine are frequently called upon by corporations, but how does a TTO handle these side deals that do not involve university licenses and formal agreements with the university?
  • iEdison’s new utilization reporting coming due, and many TTOs are not ready. The deadline for responding to the new utilization requirements in iEdison is quickly approaching, and technology transfer offices may well be sweating the details.
  • Harvard legal fight muddies the water over licensing and antitrust claims. Harvard University’s litigation with two biotech companies raises questions about the requirements for making federally funded innovations widely available to industry players and how to handle exclusive licenses to university start-ups.
  • Only experienced founders need apply to ORNL’s ‘Safari’ start-up program. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has launched a new entrepreneurial startup program, called Safari, designed to connect entrepreneurs with “commercially relevant” technologies in the lab’s portfolio. However, this program is not for everyone: It’s only open to post-exit or serial entrepreneurs – a distinction that helps ensure the start-ups get the best chance at success, and something TTOs may wish to consider in their own start-up matching programs.
  • U of Utah’s Master of Business Creation crafted for company founders. The University of Utah takes entrepreneurship education a big step further than most. Now in its fifth year, the university’s Master of Business Creation (MBC) is a unique program that helps students manage and grow the businesses they themselves have founded, rather than preparing them for management in a company founded by someone else, as is the case with a typical MBA.
  • Inadvertent IP disclosures happen: Here’s how to handle them. It can happen — and it has happened — in the enthusiasm of wanting to tell others about one’s research and discoveries: As part of a presentation, or a poster session, or class notes, or a seminar, or an article, a professor or graduate assistant discloses some part of his or her work that is deemed essential to obtaining a future patent.

Posted November 13th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, October 2023


Technology Transfer Tactics, October 2023The following is a list of the articles that appear in the October 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 10, October 2023

  • Cedars-Sinai start-up’s $11 billion exit shows the value of de-risking, market feedback. Every TTO dreams of a tech transfer ‘home run,’ but not many have duplicated the grand slam that Cedars-Sinai hit with the acquisition of its spin-off, Prometheus Biosciences, Inc., by pharma giant Merck, which resulted in a $10.8 billion transaction and nearly $1 billion to its TTO. Leaders at Cedars-Sinai credit the success to its innovative scientific and clinical teams, a unique TTO model, and a number of critical decisions made along the way.
  • AI tools hold promise for efficiency gains in TTOs, but expect challenges. Artificial intelligence promises to revolutionize many industries, but whether for better or worse is still being determined. For tech transfer programs, however, there are clear signs that AI tools can offer substantial benefits in efficiency — if some significant challenges can be overcome.
  • ASU’s innovative community incubator wants to serve 1,000 start-ups at a time. What if you had $275,000 in seed money for an innovation incubator intended to serve 1,000 aspiring entrepreneurs? How would you make it work?
  • Innovative strategies can cut patent costs for TTOs and their start-ups. The high costs of patenting have long been a challenge for TTO leaders, but experts say there are a number of strategies that can make the process more cost effective. For example, attorneys at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP recently focused on two in particular during a recent seminar. And while the presentation was entitled “A Cost-Effective Patent Strategy for Startups,” they assert that these recommendations are applicable to other TTO patent expenses as well as their start-ups.
  • Lehigh Ventures Lab partners with local credit union for start-up loans. Lehigh Ventures Lab, Lehigh University’s business incubator, is piloting a partnership with People First Federal Credit to commit $600,000 per year for start-up loans to faculty and student founders who satisfactorily complete all the growth milestones. The executive director of the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship formed the relationship with the credit union, which was looking to support early-stage businesses.
  • U Michigan’s Accelerate Blue Fund brings big returns in follow-on investments. The University of Michigan (U-M) is not the only university out there that has an internal venture fund, but there is something about this one that has investors talking. The Accelerate Blue Fund (ABF) is an early-stage venture fund that is solely focused on start-ups that are commercializing licensed IP and research resulting from U-M’s 19 schools and three campuses. It’s managed by U-M’s Innovation Partnerships office, the main portal for commercialization activity.

Posted October 13th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, September 2023


Technology Transfer Tactics, September 2023The following is a list of the articles that appear in the September 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 9, September 2023

  • Data licensing opportunities abound, but deals are not without challenges. It appears, at first glance, like a no-brainer: Universities, particularly those with affiliated health care centers and organizations, have virtually immeasurable stores of data — the kind of data that companies in the forefront of areas like AI, machine learning and quantum computing would love to have. It seems like an obvious source of significant potential licensing revenue.
  • Don’t undervalue or under-protect your data for use in AI systems. Artificial intelligence is making its way into virtually every industry, and tech transfer programs are finding opportunities to work with AI both as developers and as owners of data and other IP that might be joined with AI systems to make something new. But this exciting new frontier brings with it questions and challenges about how to manage co-developed innovations and address all the facets of licensing and commercialization that are more familiar in other areas.
  • Executive Order on domestic manufacturing brings both relief and concern for TTOs. The Biden administration’s long-rumored Executive Order on “Federal Research and Development in Support of Domestic Manufacturing and United States Jobs” landed in late July, and while laudable in its intent, there is little indication of how it will actually affect technology transfer offices, observers say. Most are just relieved it didn’t follow in the footsteps of what has been described as the “deeply flawed” DOE policy.
  • Syracuse U brings together law school and TTO to boost commercialization. A new partnership between the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), which is housed in the Office of Research at Syracuse University (SU), and the Innovation Law Center (ILC), which is housed in the SU College of Law, is something of a poster child for collaboration. Last year, the two entities got together to test out a pilot program and, so far, it looks like it’s here to stay.
  • Pitt makes internal IP portal more accessible and streamlines disclosure forms. As part of its ongoing commitment to better serve its internal customers, The Innovation Institute, an operating unit of the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has made access to its portal for handling intellectual property management, licensing, and start-up company creation much simpler, while implementing several changes to its disclosure form in an effort to offer a more user-friendly tool. The changes took effect on July 17.

Posted September 15th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, August 2023


Technology Transfer Tactics, August 2023The following is a list of the articles that appear in the August 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 8, August 2023

  • Lost gold in your portfolio? Forgotten patents can yield infringement revenue. Every TTO has files full of patents that never proved particularly successful and were eventually forgotten as the program focused on newer IP with more promise. But experts say it can be worthwhile to audit those older patents for potential infringement and turn them into new sources of revenue with an assertion strategy that can often lead to licenses and settlements.
  • FSU ‘Fast Start’ program offers favorable terms and six-month free option. Florida State University recently launched a licensing program called Fast Start, a “streamlined” license process with favorable terms for FSU start-ups. As part of this program, the FSU Research Foundation (FSURF) “will grant an exclusive option (at no cost) to license the identified intellectual property for up to six months to allow the start-up company to develop a business plan and outline commercially reasonable diligence milestones.”
  • Licensee welcome package helps drive 90% collection rate at NIH. The National Institutes of Health Office of Technology Transfer is achieving a 90% collection rate on average from licensees, and they attribute much of their success to a “welcome package” that provides everything the licensee needs to make required payments.
  • Northwestern’s FoundHer Fellows program narrows the gender gap. The data speaks volumes about the gender gap in research commercialization and entrepreneurship. Take, for example, a 2017 study by Osage University Partners revealing that only 11% of university start-ups had a woman scientific founder or co-founder. Or more recent data from PitchBook, which shows that women-founded startups received just 1.9% of all VC funds last year. A new program at Northwestern University is aiming to do something about it.
  • U Vermont taps undergrads to help its small TTO get more technology to market. Smaller tech transfer offices that struggle to devote enough time and resources to launching start-ups may want to take a page out of a new playbook being rolled out at the University of Vermont. In fact, the strategy being employed there — a novel approach utilizing undergraduates to commercialize research discoveries — could be an effective add-on for any TTO.
  • To teach start-up founders, adapt these principles from Wake Forest guru’s model. A browse through Wake Forest University’s top-rated Center for Entrepreneurship website prompts a deluge of Wake grads’ business success stories across a wide array of products and services.

Posted August 15th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, July 2023


The following is a list of the articles that appear in the July 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 7, July 2023

  • Adjusting faculty royalty shares can assist with recruiting, retention. The way royalty shares are split — particularly the faculty share — can be a critical factor in the success of a commercialization program, but there is no single right way to slice up the pie. Still, experts say the policy your university employs can make your campus attractive to desirable faculty, but it can also encourage them to look elsewhere for a better deal.
  • Purdue and Indiana U reorganize their innovation activity into ‘umbrella’ offices. A number of leading universities have been consolidating existing units into larger “umbrella” organizations in an effort to optimize commercialization of their innovations. In many of these cases, their TTOs have taken on more prominent roles, expanding their staff and often the services they provide — particularly to other internal stakeholders. Two major Indiana-based universities have recently adopted this model to focus more heavily and, they say, more efficiently, on tech transfer, start-ups, and student entrepreneurship.
  • A critical relationship opens up a global network for Baptist Health Innovations. Triventures, a global, early-stage venture capital firm, has offices in Israel and Silicon Valley. It boasts a global footprint and an established international network of top-tier strategic corporate limited partners, including the world’s leading health systems and companies, finance groups, consumer electronics enterprises, insurance companies, and telecommunication groups.
  • UConn’s TTO expands its footprint by collaborating with engineering ‘eHub.’ One of the common drawbacks of being a small technology transfer office is that the staff has little time to focus on anything but its core role in shepherding faculty innovations. For many small TTOs, the rest of the campus community is rarely addressed or only “when I have time,” meaning not often. That means potentially ignoring engagement with student entrepreneurs or faculty who aren’t pursuing commercialization because the process is unfamiliar or mysterious.
  • NC State looks to make the most of $900K gift to support commercialization efforts. A recent gift of $900,000 to North Carolina State University (NC State) is earmarked specifically to boost tech transfer and innovation activity at the school, and its genesis holds lessons for TTOs looking to attract philanthropic dollars to support their programs.

Posted July 13th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, June 2023


The following is a list of the articles that appear in the June 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 6, June 2023

  • Purdue nets $100M in royalty monetization deal, shares its decision-making process. Purdue Research Foundation gained the attention of the tech transfer community recently with its $100 million-plus deal to monetize royalties on a cancer drug, and the long path to that accomplishment holds lessons for others who want to pursue such a windfall.
  • Much to ponder when considering whether to launch IP litigation. The decision as to whether to go to court to protect your IP is rarely cut and dried, argued a panel of experts at the recent AUTM 2023 annual convention, and it’s important to consider a number of factors so that you can make a powerful case to administration on the need to move forward.
  • Tech Launch Arizona co-locates licensing staff in IP-producing units. Every TTO understands the need to stay close to areas that could produce intellectual property for potential commercialization. Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) at the University of Arizona takes that concept as far as it can, embedding most of its licensing managers within various IP-producing units.
  • CU-Boulder brings in outside entrepreneurs to take on deep tech orphans. Too many innovations with high potential — particularly those requiring major investments and long development timelines, which can also bring the greatest societal benefits — never make that transition due to the lack of interest on the part of the inventor to create and run a start-up. To bridge that gap, CU Boulder has developed the Embark Deep Tech Startup Creator to provide an alternate mechanism for forming a new business
  • Advisory boards bring solid benefits with the right makeup and TTO support. While many TTOs have internal advisory boards or committees, external boards that focus strictly on assisting with commercialization efforts are a bit more of a unicorn.
  • Denmark’s Open Entrepreneurship program: A model to emulate? Eight Danish universities have been collaborating in a commercialization model they call Open Entrepreneurship (OE), working across and beyond university boundaries to turn world-class research into industry-leading spinouts.

Posted June 13th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, May 2023


Technology Transfer Tactics, May 2023The following is a list of the articles that appear in the May 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 5, May 2023

  • Focus on start-up readiness prior to inking a license agreement and improve chances of success. A common challenge for tech transfer leaders is dealing with faculty start-ups that may have a great idea but not much more. They may lack a solid business plan, have little experience in venture-building, don’t have investor interest, and lack a credible CEO or leadership team. Yet they want to license “their” IP from the university — a move that the TTO suspects will lead nowhere, at least at such an early stage and without considerable development.
  • Problematic tax law change could devastate start-ups as groups push for deferral. A recent change to tax law that could have a devastating impact on university start-ups could be deferred if Congress listens to the pleas of TTOs and the research community, but companies should still plan for the impact.
  • Priority review vouchers: A potential windfall for TTOs when negotiated into license. More than 15 years ago, Congress created a way to incentivize development of drugs designed to treat neglected diseases that affect mainly developing countries. Those who did so would win a prize: a voucher that could be used to get priority review from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a different drug — for example, one that might have the potential to become a blockbuster.
  • Texas State experiments with paying faculty for invention disclosures. What would happen if universities paid their faculty to disclose innovations? Texas State University (TXST) is finding out. Its pay for disclosures program is still in its infancy, but based on early returns it looks like the idea will pay off in spades for the small TTO.
  • ASU launches equity crowdfunding pilot as part of start-up funding strategy. For the first time, ownership stakes in Arizona State University (ASU) start-ups will be available to all through equity crowdfunding. Currently, in its pilot phase, ASU’s equity crowdfunding is just one piece of the funding support network for early-stage companies at ASU, but its one that’s touching on many different parts of the pipeline.
  • NIH grant funds U New Mexico effort to train other universities in tech transfer. Technology transfer is inherently local. What works for one tech transfer office doesn’t always work for another TTO, and even when it does work, sometimes significant adaptations must be made to fit the commercialization ecosystem at that TTO’s university.

Posted May 15th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, April 2023


Technology Transfer Tactics, April 2023The following is a list of the articles that appear in the April 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 4, April 2023

  • Incentive plans for TTO staff are rare but effective if properly structured. A surprisingly low percentage of tech transfer programs offer financial incentives to their staff, but those who do report that bonuses can have a positive effect on performance, recruiting, retention, and budgeting.
  • NSF program looks to boost tech transfer by changing culture and faculty incentives. Imagine 100 more U.S. educational institutions transforming themselves into powerhouses of tech transfer and knowledge transfer in the next decade, on par with MIT, Stanford University, and Georgia Tech. That’s the goal of the National Science Foundation’s new Accelerating Research Translation (ART) program, part of the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to accelerate science and technology innovation in every part of the U.S.
  • Proactive approaches boost faculty engagement and bring in disclosures. The keys to successful faculty engagement, shared a trio of presenters at the recent AUTM 2023 Annual Meeting, include being proactive and accessible – “meeting them where they are.” The panel offered a range of strategies for building faculty ties, improving outreach, and bringing in more disclosures.
  • Guest Commentary: Survey of TTOs offers latest look at data licensing policies. Just over two years ago we wrote on the ongoing mismatch between the burgeoning importance of research data to tech transfer institutions and their formal written IP policies on the data. Here, we update the article with new insights obtained from an informal survey conducted by a working group consisting of TT professionals for approaches on licensing human-related data. Of the various questions we provided for TT professionals in the 2021 article as a framework for data IP policies, many have been answered by actual institutions in the survey results.
  • UK Innovate matches staff recognition awards to operating principles. In the current environment of short staffing and competition for staff, as Tech Transfer Central’s recent salary survey showed, three quarters of TTOs offer no salary incentives, and that’s likely an even lower number among state schools. But there are other ways to motivate and retain staff, and the University of Kentucky’s staff awards program is a good example.

Posted April 11th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, March 2023


Technology Transfer Tactics, March 2023The following is a list of the articles that appear in the March 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 3, March 2023

  • Lack of focus on scaling up may limit the long-term success of university-launched ventures. Scaling up is sometimes the forgotten stepchild when it comes to university start-up efforts, yet the scale-up phase is often the most important in terms of long-term success and impact: creating jobs, building revenue, and driving economic growth. Some TTOs have realized that getting a start-up formed is not enough, and that a focused effort on scale-up can greatly increase the odds of long-term success.
  • Post I-Corps accelerator idea floated to bring more focus to scaling up. A new idea for start-up acceleration has been proposed that would expand the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, extending support for start-ups to bolster their move past the early stages and into the scale-up phase.
  • Heard in the Halls: AUTM 2023. The AUTM annual meeting in Austin was back in full force and then some, two years removed from the COVID-cancelled 2021 date. Those in attendance seemed to relish the return of handshakes and hugs, while standing room only sessions and a lively exhibit hall heralded a return to normalcy. Also in good supply was a sense of optimism and excitement in the wake of CARES Act funding and its underlying recognition of tech transfer’s key role in spawning innovations that provide the raw material for U.S. global competitiveness.
  • Guest Commentary: Is My Licensee in Compliance? Tips to Keep Them on Track. University TTOs spend significant time and money negotiating the terms of their license agreement, but what happens once the ink is dry and it’s business as usual? Is anyone checking to ensure compliance with the meticulously negotiated contract?
  • Narrowing the gender gap and nailing down the numbers at MUSC. Recent U.S. data show that there are only 13 females for every 87 male patent holders, women comprised fewer than one-third of NIH grantees, and women-founded business receive a meager 3% to 8% of venture capital funding.
  • 100% IP ownership option part of WPI’s ‘embrace’ of student start-ups. Student entrepreneurs at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts are presented with a unique option: If they wish, those whose inventions do not involve faculty co-inventors can claim 100% ownership even if they have benefitted significantly from access to WPI labs and other resources.

Posted March 15th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, February 2023


Technology Transfer Tactics, February 2023The following is a list of the articles that appear in the February 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 2, February 2023

  • Tech transfer programs move to flexible staffing strategies to meet new expectations. With tech transfer programs still getting back to some sense of normalcy after the pandemic, some are finding that the old ways of thinking about managing staff don’t hold up as well in the wake of years spent working remotely. Staff members have different expectations after seeing the benefits of working from home, and programs are having to adjust in order to recruit and retain valued employees.
  • Improved relations between TTOs, development offices bring benefits for both. Observers agree that alliances between TTOs and university development offices are sometimes uneasy at best — “silo-ism” at its worst, if you will. It appears, especially to some development offices, that they are both after a large slice of the same financial “pie,” making competition more logical than cooperation. And yet, say others, that does not have to be the case.
  • Happy anniversary! Tech Launch Arizona ‘projects and reflects’ with video series. To celebrate its 10th anniversary last year, Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) at the University of Arizona in Tucson employed a multi-pronged marketing approach that spotlighted its success, celebrated those who helped along the way, and provided a long-lasting boost to the program’s visibility and brand. The well-honed strategy may be worth studying as a means of marking milestones for your own TTO.
  • Weizmann Institute adds new unit to bring research forward prior to TTO involvement.The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research institutions with a long and successful history of technology transfer. But institute leaders there also saw a weak spot in their efforts — a need for more focus on nurturing early research that might have potential applications but is not yet on the TTO’s radar.
  • Student-led VCs create additional funding source for university start-ups. They may have chosen two distinctly different paths for raising their initial capital, but student-led venture funds at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Nebraska have much in common — including the creation of financing opportunities for early-stage start-ups and avenues through which student participants gain real-world experience in how VCs operate — and what they need to succeed. At the same time, of course, they help expand university activity in the support of start-ups.

Posted February 14th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, January 2023


The following is a list of the articles that appear in the January 2023 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 17, No. 1, January 2023

  • Term sheet template for life science deals aims to reduce bickering and hasten license negotiations. A term sheet template for life science licensing deals developed by a group of prominent university tech transfer programs, venture capital firms, and attorneys could help eliminate much of the haggling over routine issues and establish a baseline of what is typical or most commonly found in license agreements.
  • AUTM EDI toolkit suggests de-identification for grants, disclosures, job applicants. It’s common knowledge at this point that women and minority populations are vastly under-represented when it comes to the STEM professions, inventive activity, and even in tech transfer itself. There’s plenty of data to show that these groups participate in tech fields and are included in patents at far lower rates than their relative numbers. THe AUTM EDI toolkit hopes to help change that.
  • Hopkins TTO encourages fast fails with “5 Vs” system of tech assessment. You’re driving a van full of your colleagues down the highway and take what you think is the right exit. But soon, your passengers provide feedback that the landscape is all wrong. You’ve made an error and taken a wrong turn. Do you continue down that road or turn back to find the right exit? Of course, you turn back as quickly as possible. A quick U-turn is an example of a “fast fail.”
  • Lassonde for Life taps into alumni for entrepreneurial energy. Having one of the top student entrepreneurship programs in the country is a great accomplishment. All too often, however, when the students graduate, the university is no longer a resource for them, and all that entrepreneurial energy dissipates. But what if you could harness entrepreneurial talent and energy and meter it out as needed over the coming decades?
  • New start-up support organizations focus efforts on STEM-related fields. Technology commercialization already is a major focus at both the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Harvard University. Yet, in recent months, these institutions announced new commercialization initiatives focused on STEM areas that will operate separate from existing TTOs.

Posted January 13th, 2023

Technology Transfer Tactics, December 2022


Technology Transfer Tactics, December 2022The following is a list of the articles that appear in the December 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 12, December 2022

  • As litigation funding gains acceptance, universities may seek more infringement cases. More universities are taking advantage of litigation funding for patent infringement cases, even as there are growing questions about how unfavorably courts and others might view this strategy.
  • Vanderbilt’s ‘peer-to-peer’ Innovation Ambassadors puts faculty on TTO team. Vanderbilt University has launched what it calls the Innovation Ambassadors program — a volunteer initiative in which each department has a faculty member who serves as a liaison between researchers and innovation programs across campus. At the heart of the program is “peer to peer counseling and advising,” says Alan Bentley, assistant vice chancellor, who heads up the Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization.
  • At the big football game, BYU and Notre Dame start-ups score with investors. The University of Notre Dame football team headed to Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium this past October for its 2022 Shamrock Series game against BYU. Since 2009, this beloved series has brought the home football game experience to a neutral location and acts as a bowl game of sorts for players and fans. This year’s game had a little twist: it also served as a venue for giving start-ups from the two schools some great exposure.
  • FTO analysis: A prudent step to mitigate patent infringement liability. For many TTOs, conducting a freedom-to-operate analysis to ensure a clear path to commercialization is an expensive proposition that is not a regular part of their IP-related due diligence. But in many cases it should be, and neglecting an FTO analysis can cost you in the long run. In a classic “penny wise, pound foolish” calculation, TTOs that overlook this fundamental safeguard could find themselves doing damage control.
  • Milestone-driven funding for early technologies gets a DEI twist at Mount Sinai. When it comes to encouraging diversity in tech transfer activity, sometimes it seems like there’s more talk than action – but not for Mount Sinai Innovation Partners (MSIP), which is putting its money where its mouth is.
  • CROs gaining bigger role in TTOs’ life science commercialization plans. In life sciences commercialization, tech transfer offices have become much more willing to bring drug candidates further forward to de-risk the IP for potential licensees, while drug-focused university start-ups also face hurdles in the development process that can make or break their futures. For both those reasons, contract research organizations (CROs) are becoming a bigger, and often critical, TTO partner.

Posted December 14th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, November 2022


Technology Transfer Tactics, November 2022The following is a list of the articles that appear in the November 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 11, November 2022

  • CU Boulder paves the way for start-ups using ‘Licensing with EASE®’ model. Since launching its Licensing with EASE® express agreement for start-up entrepreneurs in 2018, CU Boulder has seen its number of startups “increase dramatically,” according to Brynmor Rees, associate vice chancellor for research & innovation and managing director of Venture Partners.
  • Tech transfer veterans apply their lessons learned to build Baptist Health Innovations. Baptist Health South Florida is waist-deep in the process of transforming from its roots as a community hospital to an academic medical center with the addition of translational research and innovation functions, and one the organization’s first moves to ramp up its commercialization activity was bringing on board two seasoned technology transfer professionals:.
  • To boost tech transfer, Yale ups royalty shares for faculty, labs, departments. Yale University is changing its patent royalty sharing practices to more generously distribute net income generated from new technologies to the originating researchers, as well as their academic units and schools.
  • U Arkansas commercialization retreat promotes networking as part of faculty outreach. Faculty outreach and engagement remain top of mind for most TTOs, so when new ways of doing things appear in this arena, it’s definitely a sharing moment. The University of Arkansas Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, in collaboration with the Office of Technology Ventures, has organized and hosted three-day retreats focused on research commercialization for more than 10 years, and tech transfer leaders there say it’s a great way to connect people from all over the state.
  • TTO marketing tactics: What works, what doesn’t. Technology Transfer Tactics conducted a mini-survey of marketers and leaders in technology transfer offices, looking for their best advice on the tactics that worked exceptionally well for them, along with tactics to avoid spending their limit time and marketing bandwidth on.
  • Auburn U’s new TTO brand depicts corporate image over academic. It’s always interesting when a TTO or otherwise titled commercialization office does a re-branding that involves more than just changing a sign on the door. In the case of Auburn University’s technology transfer unit, the Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization (IAC) now touts a new moniker with a very commercial rather than academic feel — the Intellectual Property Exchange (aka the IP Exchange or IPX).

Posted November 16th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, October 2022


Technology Transfer Tactics, October 2022The following is a list of the articles that appear in the October 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 10, October 2022

Special bonus: Study on resource allocation in TTOs

A Preliminary Study of the Impact of Resource Allocation on Licensing Outcomes of Academic Institutions in the United States, contributed by tech transfer veteran Arundeep Pradhan and co-authors from his consulting firm Apio Innovation Transfer as well as Portland State University, offers fascinating insights and data on a range of resource allocation issues, particularly staffing and legal expense, and their correlation to licensing activity.

The study offers a useful look at how allocation of staff and budget dollars may affect the results of your licensing efforts, and provides some unique data points to consider and compare to your own office. We hope you benefit from this “extra” from Technology Transfer Tactics and Apio. 

  • Avoid information silos to lessen the pain of TTO staff turnover. Staff turnover in a tech transfer program can create cascading problems that reach far beyond the immediate lack of talent when it involves employees who are managing active files, pursuing licensees, working with companies, and helping researchers move their inventions toward commercialization.
  • Navigating the IP trail when a faculty member leaves. While universities might want to keep their best researchers forever, it’s a fact of life for TTOs that inventors often leave for greener pastures.
  • USF’s online portal eases disclosures, aids transparency, and provides marketing boost. A new online licensing portal just introduced by the TTO at the University of South Florida has been welcomed by faculty, as it enhances the efficiency of the disclosure process and also offers them real-time updates on the status of their inventions. “The feedback so far is that faculty really like it,” says Michele Tyrpak, JD, USF’s director of technology engagement and commercialization.
  • NCATS breaks the mold: Case studies of unique technology transfer mechanisms. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a unique biomedical institution that is both a granting institution administered by our extramural program and a research enterprise fueled by our Division of Pre-Clinical Innovation (DPI). Very few institutions have both the funding to accomplish health initiatives through grants and contracts, as well as the internal scientific expertise to conduct original research themselves.
  • TTO uses targeted webinars to educate faculty innovators. Although no one would argue that the world is a better place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a few unexpected positives, particularly in new ways of communicating necessitated by lack of in-person meetings. In many cases these changes, implemented out of necessity, have been adopted into regular practice even as the world has veered back toward normalcy. The University of Kentucky (UK) Office of Technology Commercialization’s (OTC) continuation of an educational outreach program they started when they were unable to hold in-person learning opportunities for their faculty is a perfect case in point.

Posted October 14th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, September 2022


Technology Transfer Tactics, September 2022The following is a list of the articles that appear in the September 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 9, September 2022

  • Strategies for managing underperforming licensees: Enforcer, counselor, or both? It happens to every TTO once in a while. You licensed patented technology to a company that just isn’t making enough progress, so your original expectations for licensing revenue, attainment of milestones, and associated fees aren’t met.
  • Founders Pledge programs: An overlooked opportunity for TTO-directed giving? Founders Pledge programs, through which start-up founders sign commitments to “give back” to their alma maters following some future exit or other financial windfall, have been around for more than 20 years but appear to have experienced a “growth spurt” among U.S. universities since 2013, when UC Berkeley launched a program that has been modeled by many other institutions. In fact, Imperial College London just initiated a program it claims to be the first in the U.K., and universities in Australia and Canada have also joined the bandwagon.
  • Venture studio model gaining traction as nurturer of university start-ups. Universities have become rather prolific start-up factories, but too few of these new ventures end up scaling into thriving businesses. In a 2020 paper written by Brigham Young University professors and published in Nature Biotechnology, 40% of the most recently formed university-licensed start-ups from the Top 50 patent producing universities never grew or added jobs, yet remained “active” for long periods of time.
  • John Hopkins Inventor’s Guide — a best practice roadmap to resources for faculty. Most TTOs have online access to information or a written summary to help their inventors navigate the ins and outs of how to go about getting an invention commercialized, but John Hopkins University has really knocked it out of the park with their comprehensive “Inventor’s Guide.” And it’s not just a valuable educational resource, it’s also a way to increase the number of faculty working with the TTO to ultimately get more inventions commercialized and start-ups formed.
  • Matchmaking Program looks to boost start-up activity and economic development. When the Wichita Entrepreneurship Coalition (ICT-EC) was awarded a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for its “Build to Scale” venture program, there were a few entities that benefited – including the Office of Tech Transfer and Commercialization at Wichita State University (WSU).

Posted September 14th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, August 2022


The following is a list of the articles that appear in the August 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 8, August 2022

  • TTO satisfaction surveys can bring critical improvements in faculty service. Two tech transfer programs surveying the faculty they interact with to assess customer satisfaction and obtain valuable feedback are both reporting good results in gathering information that has helped them improve their operations, though they use very different survey instruments and approaches.
  • U-M Startup Pipeline report helps raise early-stage investment capital. In an effort to reach investors in a more targeted way, the University of Michigan’s Innovation Partnerships Ventures team has created the U-M Startup Pipeline, a quarterly report that is shared with nearly 800 investors (some international), including strategic corporations. The team has worked with Wellspring Sophia to curate the start-ups.
  • Study points to technology maturity level as key to successful licensing. A minimum technology maturity level may be necessary for successful commercialization in some situations, according to research that could influence how tech transfer programs prioritize and de-risk their IP.
  • Guest Commentary: Seven steps to increase patent inventorship equity. It’s no secret that women are underrepresented as patent inventors in the United States. Institutional structures and biases, including patent education gaps, status hierarchy, and monetary incentives, contribute to the gender patent gap. Unfair inventorship attribution decisions create cumulative disadvantages in employment, tenure, and status. TTOs can help do something about it.
  • Stanford’s retreats help TTO staff identify and address issues, each other. Many corporations regularly hold department and unit retreats for any number of reasons — from helping the members of the staff improve their communications and ability to work together, to addressing key issues of the day. So, if major companies find them valuable, why not university TTOs?
  • “Work from Purdue” program helps build start-up ecosystem. For universities launching start-ups in “flyover country,” without an ecosystem to support those new ventures, keeping the new companies in the area can be a tough proposition.

Posted August 11th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, July 2022


Technology Transfer Tactics, July 2022The following is a list of the articles that appear in the July 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 7, July 2022

  • TTOs face “impossible” challenge in making accurate financial projections. Okay, so you signed “X” number of licenses last year for a total of “X” dollars. How many will you sign this year, or next, and how much revenue with they produce? What about your start-ups? How many will be formed this year? How many will exit in, say, five years? What about upfront fees? Patent reimbursements?
  • Drive a collaborative culture with non-monetary TTO metrics. While metrics enable technology transfer offices to define and track progress toward performance goals, many of those metrics are very rigid, says Michael Dixon, PhD, president and CEO of UNeMed, the tech transfer and commercialization office for the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. “It’s worth taking a step back and looking at the softer metrics that help us measure and then develop our collaborative culture.”
  • Drive for innovation education expected to boost tech transfer at Mass General Brigham. In most TTOs, commercialization training is typically offered only to those researchers, faculty, or clinicians who express an interest and have an idea for creating a product or company. While that’s fine, what if you could provide that same training to essentially the entire organization so everyone – particularly potential inventors and innovators – had a baseline knowledge of what it takes to bring an idea to the marketplace? At Mass General Brigham (MGB) Hospital, that’s exactly what is now happening, and leaders there hope it pays off in a significant boost to commercialization activity.
  • Avoiding pitfalls from ‘prophetic’ language in marketing summaries. Nearly everyone who’s seen or heard financial advertising is familiar with the phrase: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Or in the stock market, it might be “read the prospectus before you invest.” In fact, these common cautions have become almost clichéd.
  • Pitch Prep helps Northwestern student start-up competition increase its value. While there’s nothing new about student start-up competitions, Northwestern University has figured out how to add a unique twist to theirs by offering semifinalists “Pitch Prep,” an intensive program designed to hone pitching skills and prepare student entrepreneurs for the rough and tumble world of start-up venture funding.

Posted July 13th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, June 2022


Technology Transfer Tactics, June 2022The following is a list of the articles that appear in the June 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 6, June 2022

  • Rogue EIRs and mentors can bring trouble, need limits and guardrails. Entrepreneurs-in-residence and mentors play important roles in guiding university start-ups, but the same independent streak responsible for their success can sometimes lead them to do things that are contrary to the university’s policies or expectations. Experts say tech transfer programs need to establish guidelines and guardrails to keep EIRs in their lane.
  • Don’t let “dead equity” complicate a cap table and stymie start-up growth. “Dead equity” can be a major red flag when potential investors look at a university start-up’s cap table, prompting concerns about whether founders are still contributing to the company or just along for the ride.
  • $3 million infusion for gap funding promises a surge in Cornell’s innovation pipeline. Ignite, Cornell University’s gap funding series, will expand its innovation pipeline in the coming years using a $3 million annual infusion of funding from the provost’s office and a handsome donation from alum Peggy J. Koenig, chair of the private equity firm Abry Partners.
  • Emory TTO’s innovation awards: A centerpiece of campus culture-building. Earlier this spring, staffers at Emory University’s Office of Technology Transfer in Atlanta, GA, breathed a sigh of relief as they held the Annual Celebration of Technology and Innovation at the Emory Conference Center.
  • Harvard and VC partner on internships focused on underrepresented. Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development is going beyond its typical responsibilities to help boost diversity in innovation with a targeted internship program in partnership with a local VC.

Posted June 15th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, May 2022


Technology Transfer Tactics, May 2022The following is a list of the articles that appear in the May 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 5, May 2022

  • NFTs and NILs hit tech transfer: Some opportunity, some hype. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) commodities are driving a digital marketplace of everything from art to memes and athlete images, and now university tech transfer programs are getting involved with promoting their institutions and athletes — and their trademarks and other IP. It’s a brave new world and the trailblazers are finding out what it takes to work in this arena.
  • Treat those ‘undercooked’ disclosures with TLC and reap benefits later. Tech transfer pros are expert in handling disclosures and navigating them through the various paths to commercialization. But what about innovations whose disclosures clearly indicate they are not yet ‘ready for prime time’ — what’s the best way to handle them?
  • AUTM 2022 coverage: In royalty distribution matters, expect the unexpected. Listening to a group of tech transfer operations staff filling a small conference room at the recent AUTM annual meeting in New Orleans for a session on royalty distribution, you might wonder whether these professionals had degrees in law, business, math, science, accounting, or military strategy — or all of the above.
  • WiSys creates a VentureHome for entrepreneurs at smaller campuses. WiSys VentureHome. It may sound like a new GPS system, but it’s actually a natural extension of a core principle known as “the Wisconsin Idea” — shared by the University of Wisconsin (UW) System and WiSys — that what happens on UW campuses should enhance people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the campus.
  • ‘Dare to Discover’ campaign at U Iowa creates buzz for research and tech transfer. TTOs looking for a new and impactful way to boost their brand in the community and generate goodwill among their early career researchers may want to take a page — or a banner — from the University of Iowa’s “Dare to Discover” campaign.
  • OIG clarifies anti-kickback rules for MD inventors with start-up equity. A recent advisory opinion from the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) represents good news for physician inventors and the start-ups in which they have received ownership interests.

Posted May 16th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, April 2022


The following is a list of the articles that appear in the April 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 4, April 2022

  • Ohio State’s scoring system guides TTO in identifying and mitigating risk. A detailed risk management tracking and scoring system, like the one implemented at The Ohio State University two years ago, “is an essential activity for any TTO,” asserts Kevin Taylor, associate vice president for technology commercialization there. The OSU system, used not only to measure risk but also to show the path towards mitigation of those risks, “has been invaluable,” he says. “It has empowered us, empowered the institution, and built confidence in our ability to manage risk.”
  • Two new university venture funds look to change the start-up landscape. The University of Washington, a public, PAC-12 research ‘powerhouse,’ has about 60,000 total students with campuses in Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma. Concordia University is a faith-based school owned by the Lutheran Church located in Mequon, WI, with about 5,000 enrolled students. And yet these schools, so totally unalike, have both started venture funds within the past year to help start-ups cross the legendary “Valley of Death” that claims so many of them before they get a chance to grow.
  • How U Missouri’s TTO focuses on improvement. When Lisa Lorenzen moved to the University of Missouri nearly three years ago from a similar job at Iowa State University, she brought a wealth of experience that she was determined to put to good use.
  • UMSL’s DEI accelerator is ‘beacon of hope’ for under-represented founders. TTOs have become heavily focused on incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles into their organizations, looking to move the needle on inventorship and entrepreneurship among under-represented populations. But how the talk about DEI gets translated into practice is still a work in progress for many universities.
  • CU Boulder winds up hyper-accelerator program, shares lessons learned. Earlier this year, officials at the University of Colorado Boulder announced seven teams that completed its Pandemic Hyper-Accelerator for Science and Technology (PHAST) program, which was designed to leverage state and federal funding made available to identify and fund start-ups that address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the pandemic.

Posted April 15th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, March 2022


Technology Transfer Tactics, March 2022The following is a list of the articles that appear in the March 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 3, March 2022

  • ‘Great Resignation’ hits TTOs with staff shortages, changes to recruiting. Like employers all over the country, tech transfer programs are struggling with staffing shortages caused by what some have called the Great Resignation, the recent trend in which people are leaving their jobs in search of better lifestyles and more money, with employers finding it difficult to replace them.
  • AUTM 2022: Heard in the Halls. The 2022 AUTM annual meeting in New Orleans marked the first time many tech transfer professionals could schmooze in person since the pandemic shut down most if not all face-to-face events, and there was a clear sense of relief among the more than 1,000 attendees gathered there just as Mardis Gras was about to kick into high gear.
  • USF opens up its shelves of available IP to local entrepreneurs. Every research institution has intellectual property that is not being developed or marketed for one reason or another, and it can sit on a shelf for many years and in time lose any value it may have once held. But the University of South Florida is doing something about it.
  • Baylor partners with VC to boost commercialization. In another instance of the growing trend of university TTOs collaborating with third parties to enhance their commercialization efforts, Baylor University and VC firm Waco Ventures (WAVE) are partnering in what they call the Lab-to-Market Collaborative (L2M). The collaboration has already been involved in the launch of three start-ups.
  • Commercialization Engine at Notre Dame grows start-ups with internal de-risking. The Innovation, De-Risking, and Enterprise Acceleration (IDEA) Center at The University of Notre Dame isn’t your typical technology transfer office. In addition to student entrepreneurship programs and competitions and an innovation lab, it offers the Commercialization Engine.
  • Use of LinkedIn helps transform tech portal into marketing resource. Existing and potential industry partners of Yeda Technology Transfer of Weizmann Institute in Israel recently received a LinkedIn message from Yeda’s marketing team inviting them to join its Members portal. Many TTOs use portals to provide a doorway to interested parties, but thanks to an innovative method at Yeda, the typically passive portal approach becomes active marketing as these potential industry partners are identified and contacted more swiftly and with much greater volume than ever before.

Posted March 17th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, February 2022


The following is a list of the articles that appear in the February 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 2, February 2022

  • UMB New Venture Group’s model succeeds in boosting region’s start-up ecosystem. For TTOs in less than vibrant regions of the country for venture capital investments, getting across the Valley of Death can be treacherous, and often deadly without adequate funding. And that’s particularly true for biotech start-ups and others with a long development timeline dependent on significant financial backing, even in the early stages.
  • Standing to sue can be roadblock to pursuing patent infringement claims. License agreements may not always include an adequate transfer of rights that allows the licensee standing to pursue a patent infringement case without joining the university itself in the suit, and a recent court decision shows how important that can be in protecting your IP.
  • Column: As venture deal terms narrow, TTOs should focus on investor quality. Universities — via their tech transfer offices — often receive equity as partial consideration for technologies they license to start-ups. Most of these ventures will raise multiple rounds of financing. As relatively small, junior shareholders, TTOs typically are deal term “takers” with limited ability to impact the deal terms of follow-on rounds. A recent survey of venture deal terms strongly suggests that in most cases this is not a liability, as the remarkable commonality of deal terms reflects limited negotiability in any case.
  • How one university established a way of monitoring IP leakage. Leakage of intellectual property is not usually considered a major issue for most universities, but the prospect of its consequences is compelling enough that many may wonder about it and ponder how to deal with it.
  • NJIT targets entrepreneur gap with a series of diversity-focused programs. While most university TTOs have an ample supply of viable technologies in their intellectual property portfolio to power numerous start-ups, finding entrepreneurial leads often keeps start-up development from reaching its full potential.

Posted February 14th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, January 2022


The following is a list of the articles that appear in the January 2022 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 16, No. 1, January 2022

  • As rules improve, TTOs may want to take another look at crowdfunding their start-ups. Equity crowdfunding first emerged as an option for start-ups when the SEC permitted this form of online fundraising in 2016, but university tech transfer programs and their start-ups have not pursued the option with much fervor. That could change now that the limit on crowdfunding amounts has been increased, and as start-ups report success with crowdfunding not just as a way to draw in cash, but as a bridge to investors who can more directly invest in the company later on.
  • TTOs share new resolutions and revisit old ones for 2022. As the New Year ticked by, TTT spoke with a handful of tech transfer leaders about their resolutions and strategic goals for 2022, and we also checked in with several we interviewed in 2020 to see how they’ve done in the intervening years, and what’s changed about their plans and wishes. Here’s what they had to say.
  • Columbia program takes in non-university ventures to boost impact, grow ecosystem. A new program at Columbia University is calling on the resources of its technology transfer office and others across the university to help launch promising start-ups from outside the university and tap into the school’s considerable expertise in venture creation, as well as its specialized research equipment.
  • UC Riverside’s “Angel Summit” works to build out the local investor ecosystem. Situated on about 1,200 acres on the eastern edge of its namesake city, Riverside is one of the 10 campuses of the University of California system, which combined represents one of the biggest tech transfer operations in the world. However, one thing it has lacked is local angel investors.
  • “Commercialization Counselor” aims to foster innovation culture. Typically, a faculty member would start interacting with their technology transfer office when they have an invention ready for disclosure. But depending on the faculty member’s awareness of the commercialization process and the TTO itself, their first contact may be too early, too late, or just right. It’s that “too late” possibility that presents real problems.

Posted January 17th, 2022

Technology Transfer Tactics, December 2021


Technology Transfer Tactics, December 2021The following is a list of the articles that appear in the December 2021 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 15, No. 12, December 2021

  • TTOs grapple with new DOE domestic manufacturing rules, some will avoid projects. The Department of Energy’s new policy requiring inventions resulting from DOE-funded R&D to be “substantially manufactured” in the United States has tech transfer leaders studying how to comply, and some are determining that the burden is too great. Those programs are deciding to decline licensing of DOE-funded inventions altogether.
  • U Memphis hires post-docs full-time to start businesses using university IP. Their website calls the Patents2Products program “A New Frontier for Entrepreneurship” — and perhaps it is. The program, which is a partnership between the University of Memphis and Epicenter, a non-profit entrepreneurship hub in the greater Memphis area, hires post-doc fellows on a full-time basis to start businesses using patented IP developed at the university.
  • Grant funding for TTO operations and programs: An overlooked resource. Federal grants are the lifeblood of university research, and TTOs also benefit from the innovations that spring from that funding. But tech transfer offices can benefit more directly by applying for and gaining grant funds to pay for their own internal projects or initiatives, as several TTOs are proving. And as federal agencies have become keen to support innovation and entrepreneurship, ignoring these opportunities may amount to a significant missed opportunity.
  • McGill gap fund uses unique phased approach to support full innovation lifecycle. McGill University in Montreal, Canada, — celebrating its 200th anniversary this year — is taking a decidedly new path to funding its promising technologies and start-ups. Seeking a more effective way to cross the Valley of Death while supporting innovation throughout a technology’s commercialization journey, the university’s TTO created the McGill Innovation Fund (MIF).
  • AI-powered tool lets TTOs expand mentor networks, boost alumni connections. University TTOs looking to expand their expert and mentor networks — and then connect those networks with appropriate start-ups or projects — can spend many hours e-mailing, calling, and engaging in other forms of outreach. It’s a part of the job that can often be left on the back burner when staffing is tight and more pressing work often leaves it sitting on the “to-do” list.
  • Venture Analyst programs employ grad students as a force multiplier. TTOs facing the perennial dilemma of understaffing may want to take a close look at what the Washington Research Foundation (WRF) is doing to assist in evaluating its large portfolio of potential investments in university start-ups.

Posted December 13th, 2021

Technology Transfer Tactics, November 2021


Technology Transfer Tactics, November 2021The following is a list of the articles that appear in the November 2021 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 15, No. 11, November 2021

  • Start-up board positions must be filled carefully and used appropriately. University leaders have long debated whether it is a good idea to have representation on the board of faculty start-up companies, but for those that favor taking a seat, there are still questions about how to structure that position. Some may want the board seat to be a full voting member, while others may go with an observer seat in which the person does not actively participate.
  • Fred Hutch used this roadmap to dramatically improve its tech transfer results. When Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center spun off Juno Therapeutics, which has become a big player in cell therapy and diagnostics after its acquisition by Celgene and later by Bristol Myers Squibb, they might have assumed that success would lead to a surge of interest among VCs and other partners looking for more innovations.
  • Purdue’s link to Boomerang Ventures illustrates value of third-party help for TTOs. There has been a trend developing recently wherein university TTOs — even large ones — work with outside parties to realize commercialization goals by adding expertise or resources they may not have in-house. A case in point: The newly announced partnership between the Purdue Research Foundation’s (PRF) Purdue Foundry and its Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) and Boomerang Ventures.
  • A fresh take on summer school boosts SUNY’s commercialization pipeline. In popular culture, summer school remains stereotyped as a place for playing catch-up. However, the Albany, NY-based SUNY Research Foundation, which serves The State University of New York and its 64-campus system, is turning that stereotype on its head — even amid a pandemic — via the SUNY Startup Summer School (S4).
  • VCU’s new TTO newsletter sets a high standard in marketing innovations. Virginia Commonwealth University tech transfer office’s new publication, Launchpad, is a textbook example of a TTO creating a high-quality vehicle to publicize the university’s tech talent and commercialization prowess.
  • AUTM, universities support U Michigan in IP assignment dispute. AUTM and a group of prominent universities have filed an amici curiae brief in the case of Omni MedSci, Inc. v. Apple Inc., which addresses how tech transfer programs use general statements in their bylaws and contracts about the assignment of intellectual property rights, and how that relates to specific assignments made for individual inventions.

Posted November 16th, 2021

Technology Transfer Tactics, October 2021


Technology Transfer Tactics, October 2021The following is a list of the articles that appear in the October 2021 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

If you are already a current subscriber click here to log in and access your issue.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 15, No. 10, October 2021

  • TTOs continue to adapt to shifting realities of the pandemic. As COVID vaccines became available in early 2021, optimism grew. But, as the Delta variant took hold in the summer of 2021 and now extends into the fall, we wondered how technology transfer offices were handling the resurgence of the virus, how their operations were adjusting, and what they expect in the coming months. We asked 12 TTOs across the country how they were doing.
  • In wake of Omni v. Apple, it’s time to review your IP assignment language again. Tech transfer programs relying on general statements in their bylaws and contracts about the assignment of intellectual property rights may need to reassess whether they are sufficient in light of a recent ruling from a Federal Circuit court. After going through a similar shift after the landmark Stanford v. Roche case a full decade ago, TTOs may want to revisit that assignment language once again.
  • IP attorney’s challenge: Is your TTO developing metrics that matter? There’s certainly a place for traditional TTO metrics like licensing revenues and number of invention disclosures, patent applications, start-ups and issued patents. But they’re not really providing actionable information on whether the office is meeting its goals and optimizing performance in terms of portfolio management, claims IP attorney Tony Gangemi, a partner in Murtha Cullina’s Business & Finance Department and chair of its Intellectual Property Practice Group.
  • U Alaska’s Ambassador Program embeds tech transfer into campus culture. We’ve all heard of student ambassadors, but what about tech transfer ambassadors? At the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) — where a tiny TTO staff needed a way to extend its reach within a limited budget — the concept has taken off and has become woven into its overall culture. The school’s program taps students, faculty and staff as Ambassadors, whose charge is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship as well as raise awareness of the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC). And it’s working — the ambassadors are not only making more people aware, but their efforts have significantly increased disclosures.

Posted October 15th, 2021

Technology Transfer Tactics, September 2021


Technology Transfer Tactics, September 2021The following is a list of the articles that appear in the September 2021 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 15, No. 9, September 2021

  • Sublicensing terms must strike right balance between university rights and licensee needs. With myriad ways to go about sublicensing and the potential for the complications involved spoiling a license agreement, university TTOs may put off the question entirely and wait until the issue is forced by a sublicense request. Or they sometimes will establish sublicensing terms up front that seem simple and straightforward, but which actually hinder revenue opportunities.
  • Direct billing streamlines process and saves TTO time and money. About five years ago, Dr. Martin Haardt at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada, had a bit of an epiphany. Haardt, who now is UHN’s senior patent and intellectual property manager for technology development & commercialization, had analyzed various timelines and financial aspects relating to IP protection, licensing, and revenue. The results of his review were intended for office-wide education, but they crystallized for him the amount of time — and, therefore, money — devoted to handling ongoing billing transactions between patent licensees and attorneys.
  • A novel model for getting early-stage life sciences IP across the Valley of Death. Funding for early-stage university life sciences research is a well-known challenge. Some research may get picked up for further development by ad hoc or competitive funding mechanisms, and occasionally some might get picked up into single-asset companies or by early investors. But by and large, a considerable amount of early-stage life sciences research languishes in the “Valley of Death.”
  • Keen attention to detail can prepare you for more successful royalty audits. It may not literally be “found” money, since it is money that is truly owed to your TTO, but a well-run royalty audit can potentially add hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue to your bottom line, according to Karen Wang, CPA/CFF, CVA, director at Stout, a firm that focuses on litigation consulting and royalty/contract compliance audits.
  • College Ventures Network aims to level the playing field for student start-ups. A consortium of more than two dozen student-led accelerators from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom this summer launched College Ventures Network, a global coalition that hopes to link student start-up founders with the money and support they need – but so often can’t access.

Posted September 14th, 2021

Technology Transfer Tactics, August 2021


Technology Transfer Tactics, August 2021The following is a list of the articles that appear in the August 2021 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 15, No. 8, August 2021

  • Fraud allegations after biotech start-up’s IPO put university in a tough spot. The allegations of research fraud by the chief executive of Athira Pharma, a Washington State University biotech spinout developing treatments for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, are raising questions about how a university can protect itself when a company using its licensed IP faces class action lawsuits and a potential investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • U-M finds ‘work-around’ to restrictions on licensees’ use of university brand. Any TTO would be pleased to know that a licensee wants to “brag” about their relationship with the university — but like many things in life, it’s just not that simple.
  • Student consulting club supports Emory’s biotech start-up efforts. While it’s in the DNA of TTOs to help faculty and students get start-ups off the ground through a variety of programs and education, a new extracurricular student club at Emory University in Atlanta that also supports these efforts is a horse of a different color. The Emory Biotech Consulting Club (EBCC) is essentially students helping students and faculty get their start-ups off the ground.
  • U Oregon program seeks to address key challenges faced by women innovators. Gender-specific barriers to success in innovation are being addressed at the University of Oregon through the Women’s Innovation Network, a nine-month program launching in October that’s open to UO faculty members, staff, and students as well as members of the community.
  • UChicago innovation fund adds new matching requirement. Innovation funds investing in university start-ups come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all share a common goal: find the new ventures with the most promise, and hope that at least a few of them make a big exit and solid returns. But how can you increase those odds? In the case of the George Schultz Innovation Fund, it recently began requiring that start-ups get matching funding from accredited institutional investors, betting that confidence among the professionals signals a realistic chance at success and can bring an extra measure of expertise.
  • U Kentucky continues strengthening innovation culture as it builds on success. Suppose your university research grew by 28% over two years, and during that same period, your commercialization and entrepreneurship activity reached record levels. Would you adopt an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ posture?

Posted August 12th, 2021

Technology Transfer Tactics, July 2021


Technology Transfer Tactics, July 2021The following is a list of the articles that appear in the July 2021 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 15, No. 7, July 2021

  • Search for improvement leads to revamp of Duke’s innovation activities. Sometimes when university TTOs decide to engage in self-examination, they are pleasantly surprised to find that things aren’t as bad as they may have thought. Such was the case at Duke University, where the university’s Board of Trustees initiated a study to examine the university’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
  • UGA hires COI director to tighten up on potential conflicts. With growing interest in commercialization from faculty comes the potential for a concurrent rise in conflicts of interest that can have substantial consequences, so the University of Georgia in Athens is elevating oversight with the addition of its first conflict of interest director.
  • Tell your SBIR/STTR companies about this little-known supplement. Other than classified intelligence, the Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) supplement might be the U.S. government’s best-kept secret. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program supplement is still new and not well-described on federal agency sites or even listed on www.sbir.gov to help people understand what it’s all about. But if TABA isn’t something you’re encouraging your SBIR companies to apply for, they’re leaving money on the table.
  • Pandemic spurs new venture opportunities in CU Boulder “hyper-accelerator” program. During the first months of the pandemic in early 2020, officials at the University of Colorado Boulder noticed how much organic innovation was happening. By March, researchers already had begun looking at new ways of diagnosing, tracking, and understanding the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.
  • CRM-based system customized to enhance functionality for TTOs. Recognizing that there’s no need to re-invent the wheel, Tamir Huberman, CIO and head of marketing at Yeda Research & Development Co., Ltd., the TTO of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, has developed a new system for tech transfer management which adds customized tech transfer modules to the out-of-the-box solutions offered by ZOHO CRM.

Posted July 14th, 2021

Technology Transfer Tactics, June 2021


Technology Transfer Tactics, June 2021The following is a list of the articles that appear in the June 2021 issue of Technology Transfer Tactics monthly newsletter.

If you are already a current subscriber click here to log in and access your issue.

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Technology Transfer Tactics
Vol. 15, No. 6, June 2021

  • As pandemic eases its grip, TTOs take stock and look forward. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the activity of some tech transfer programs and forced an unprecedented dependence on remote work, but others are saying the pandemic year has been a boon for their metrics.
  • TTOs assess potential as Berkeley breaks mold with NFT auction. The advent of blockchain technology has given rise to a whole new vocabulary: Cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Dogecoin, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Coinbase and other new terms seemingly spring forth daily. And for technology transfer offices, a looming question is whether there’s something to it all that could benefit their operations.
  • Using stock options as a vehicle for hiring university start-up teams. As TTOs help move inventions from the laboratory to commercial viability, one obstacle that often stands in the way is funding – and the inability without it to build a start-up team. On that topic, Tony Stanco has the makings of an evangelist.
  • U of Arkansas creates new option agreement for ‘pre-incorporation’ teams. A new type of IP agreement has been introduced by Technology Ventures at the University of Arkansas with the defined goal of overcoming a clear barrier to potential start-ups: the inability to secure rights to their IP while still in the earliest stages of their growth.
  • Innosphere Ventures offers TTO partners a no-cost way to help more start-ups. For TTOs looking for an extra hand, Innosphere Ventures, a Colorado-based science and technology incubator, has a University Partner Program that may serve as a good model to study. It works directly with TTOs at leading research universities across a multi-state region to accelerate the success of university start-ups with an exclusive commercialization program, specialized office and laboratory facilities, and a seed stage venture capital fund.

Posted June 15th, 2021