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IN-PART’s ‘closed loop’ offers universities more targeted industry contacts

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Patrick Speedie, director and co-founder of the U.K.-based firm IN-PART, says that what his company offers universities is a “wired up approach to getting new technologies from universities out to companies.” That approach, he asserts, offers them more targeted industry contacts than they can often find on their own. IN-PART, launched in January 2014 with six universities and 25 companies signed up, now has 43 universities and over 400 companies and is about to launch a U.S. pilot.

IN-PART seeks to connect universities with senior level R&D individuals in an effort to spur collaborations, and also provides its university clients with “Impact Reports” that offer industry feedback and identify the level of commercial interest in their IP.

“We look at all the latest opportunities, from early-stage projects seeking to bring in a ground floor co-development partner to perhaps a co-applicant for funding,” Speedie explains. “In the U.K. that makes you much more likely to get a grant accepted.”

In fact, he continues, IN-PART will work “right through to a technology that has been worked up and is commercially ready; the university may have done market feasibility, and is looking for a company that is either seeking to start a new pipeline or roll the technology into an existing one and license it.”

Once a university clicks the “contact” button on the site’s home page (www.in-part.com), IN-PART will meet with them personally. “We don’t just get on the phone,” says Speedie. Then, the university is asked to provide IN-PART with one-page technology summaries, which are presented in the site’s “closed loop.”

Limited access

“The only people who get access are those in R&D and working in industry,” he explains. “That goes up to VP of Research, CTO, CSO, to the owner.” Everyone with access in the loop can take action. The technologies are categorized by subject area; the companies are researched by IN-PART and also choose their interest areas, so when IN-PART gets a new technology they can notify the relevant people, such as those involved in drug delivery, or immunology. “If they are interested they can ask questions via the system and get right through to a university,” Speedie notes.

What makes the system unique, he asserts, is the exclusivity of the audience. “You can’t get into the system with G-mail; there are no consultants; we are focused specifically on R&D — we’re just by and for the industry,” says Speedie. He says that, for example, IN-PART’s users include 11 of the top 12 pharma companies.

Other advantages, he adds, include the profiles available on each university indicating their suitability for partnerships. “Information on universities is located online, but it’s often difficult to find,” he notes. What’s more, he observes, “because the platform is a closed loop it allows completely clean impact reports, which show how some technologies do versus others, which companies are more engaged in specific types of technology, and other qualitative information.” These reports, he says, have been extremely successful. “Universities use them to influence strategies, as well as to provide feedback to academics,” Speedie says. “They can engage more with the tech transfer office.”

In terms of revenue, the business model in the U.K. is subscriptions. “There are no fees downstream,” says Speedie. “We look at income and produce a sliding scale fee, so the top five pay significantly more.”

He adds that approximately 55% of the technologies handled by IN-PART are in life sciences, with the rest in engineering and high tech areas such as advanced materials.

So far in the U.K., says Speedie, IN-PART has helped generate numerous co-funding collaborations and additional research collaborations. He says IN-PART is launching a three-month U.S. pilot with seven U.S. universities, including three Ivy League institutions, in September, following a boost from his attendance at BIO in June and subsequent meetings on the east coast. “We got an amazing reception,” he asserts.

Speedie says that through his company a university “stands to increase the reach of their technologies significantly. They may know a company, but not the right person.” IN-PART’s goal, he says, is to help universities of all sizes to be on the same footing. “It should be about the technology — not the university,” he concludes.

Contact Speedie at +44 114-222-4614; e-mail: patrick@in-part.co.uk.


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