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U Georgia’s new start-up license offers speed and favorable terms in two-phase approach


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

A detailed article on UGA’s new Georgia Startup License appears in the April issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, click here.  

The University of Georgia’s Innovation Gateway is offering a new “Georgia Startup License” combining technical assistance with a streamlined technology licensing process that offers preferred terms. But in a new twist on the express licensing concept, the start-ups must meet certain criteria to qualify for the deal.

Innovation Gateway, the technology transfer office of the Athens-based university, created the express licensing program to speed the transition of IP from the laboratory to the marketplace, says Tim Martin, MS, associate director of the Startup Program with Innovation Gateway.

Like other express style programs, the Georgia Startup License offers a more efficient path to licensing than the traditional approach, minimizing the time and cost of negotiating an agreement, Martin says. But not all start-ups can qualify, which helps to ensure the new ventures are built to last.

“Over the past four or five years we’ve had discussions around how to simplify and streamline the start-up license process between the tech transfer office and start-ups coming out of University of Georgia research,” Martin says. “We tried to figure out the best practices from universities around the country, and I had previous experience with one at the University of North Carolina. Through that process we came to the Georgia Startup License, which incorporates some aspects of the express terms of a streamlined licensing process but adds in a lot of analysis and requirements that the start-up must meet in order to have access to those preferred terms.”

Martin describes UGA’s approach as a middle ground between the standard negotiating process with full diligence on the company and a streamlined, no-questions-asked express license.

“It’s somewhere in the middle where you have the ability to have some impact on the trajectory of the company, to understand and help them based on what’s expected of start-up companies coming out of universities,” he says.

The Georgia Startup License is available to UGA inventors and those who hold equity in a start-up company involving UGA IP.

The license uses a two-phase approach, which Martin says is aimed at ensuring start-ups that benefit from the preferred licensing terms have achieved some external validation, such as grant funding or dilutive investment.

In Phase I, UGA’s tech transfer team helps the start-up evaluate its market and business strategies, identify potential shortcomings, and develop an action plan to improve its overall readiness and maturity, Marin says. Once Innovation Gateway and the start-up finalize an action plan, the Express Option agreement becomes available. If the start-up chooses to exercise this option agreement, it offers the benefit of excluding competitors from the patent rights of interest.

In Phase II, the start-up implements the action plan developed in Phase I. It also participates in the UGA I-Corps or other entrepreneurial training and programming, working toward accomplishing predefined milestones.

When those requirements are met, the start-up can access to the express license — a standardized, non-negotiable agreement containing favorable terms and simplified costs compared to a typical UGA licensing agreement. (More information the Georgia Startup License is available online here.)

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Oxford start-up behind AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine files to go public


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

Vaccitech, the biotech start-up behind the COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, has filed for an IPO in the U.S. continue reading »

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Best Practices for Licensing Research Tools and Materials


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

Mouse models, cell lines, data, reagents, software…. Your university has a vast inventory of research materials and tools that represent valuable IP assets with significant licensing potential. The challenge is to find, categorize, and market them to create a new or expanded revenue stream for your TTO.

These tangible research materials, whether biological, chemical, physical, or otherwise represent significant untapped revenue. The key is identifying these materials and making them readily available for licensing via click-thru licenses for immediate revenue, as well as understanding the structure and negotiation strategy required for larger or bundled licenses.

To ensure you get maximum value from your research tool assets, Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has partnered with attorney and UNeMed Business Development Manager Joe Runge for this detailed webinar: Best Practices for Licensing Research Tools and Materials, scheduled for April 21st.

For complete program details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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U College London start-up raises $175.5M in IPO to develop novel treatment for solid tumors


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

A cancer treatment start-up from University College London (UCL) has raised $175.5 million through its initial public offering in the United States. continue reading »

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AB Science and UChicago sign license agreement to advance promising antiviral drug


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

Drug developer AB Science has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of Chicago (UChicago) to advance a novel treatment for nidoviruses, coronaviruses, and picornaviruses. continue reading »

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U of Chicago Polsky Center enters partnership to launch the first quantum start-up accelerator in the U.S.


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

The University of Chicago (UChicago) Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has partnered with the Chicago Quantum Exchange to launch the first accelerator in the country focused solely on quantum technology start-ups. continue reading »

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Mind the Gap 2020: The University Gap Fund and Accelerator Program Report


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

The Mind the Gap Report 2020 is a one-of-a-kind guide for current and aspiring university gap fund managers detailing 141 gap funding programs affiliated with 84 research institutions. It provides critical insights and details into their sources of sustainability, processes and management, and ultimately their impact on the innovation community and its capabilities.

It’s the go-to source for comprehensive best practices, benchmarking, and program development guidance for university affiliated gap fund and accelerator programs. Through a mix of data, benchmarks, strategies, and impact measures, this valuable report provides success stories that managers and stakeholders can use to build towards their unique fund objectives.

For complete details including a report summary, click here.

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Rational Vaccines and LSU sign license agreement to advance herpes vaccine


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

Rational Vaccines has entered into a license agreement with Louisiana State University (LSU) to advance a vaccine against the herpes virus.

Developed by LSU researcher Konstantin ‘Gus’ Kousoulas, the VC2 vaccine has demonstrated great promise in treating Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) as well as facial and ocular herpes in animal models.

According to Kousoulas, the VC2 is unique in that it prevents the virus from entering the neurons. Typically, HSV infiltrates a person’s neurons and remains latent within the nervous system and can reactivate to cause substantial disease. This means some patients can be asymptomatic carriers, spreading the virus while showing no signs of infection themselves.

Through the license agreement, Rational Vaccines will advance VC2 towards clinical trials, with the goal of deploying it as a prophylactic vaccine in the fight against HSV-1, which affects over four billion people worldwide.

“We are one step closer to eradicating the herpes virus,” says Kousoulas. “Taking our research and moving it into clinical trials through Rational Vaccines ensures a clear path to delivering a vaccine that can ease pain and suffering from herpes.”

Edward Gershburg, chief technology officer at Rational Vaccines, comments, “The signing of this license agreement is an important event for our ongoing live-attenuated vaccine development program and is reflective of our optimism and commitment to rapidly advancing the program. We anticipate that multiple HSV vaccines will be necessary for the goal of broad public health protection. The VC2 mutant, which has shown safety and efficacy in animal studies, if successfully developed, will become a critical vaccine to address the ongoing ‘silent’ HSV epidemic.”

Source: Cision

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U of Edinburgh start-up develops “liquid biopsy” device to detect and monitor cancer


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

A University of Edinburgh start-up has raised over £1 million to commercialize a “liquid biopsy” technology that could revolutionize the early diagnosis and monitoring of difficult-to-detect cancers. continue reading »

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Ben-Gurion researchers use probiotic yogurt to develop new anti-inflammatory drugs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) are developing drugs derived from probiotic yogurt to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other inflammatory conditions. continue reading »

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European Institute of Innovation and Technology launches new center to boost university tech transfer


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 14th, 2021

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is launching a new center to boost tech commercialization among universities in the EU. continue reading »

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Supreme Court ruling in Google v. Oracle has major implications for software copyrights


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: April 7th, 2021

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of Google in a long-running copyright dispute against Oracle that has huge implications for Silicon Valley, and for university TTOs seeking copyright protection for software innovations.

The court found that Google did not violate the law when it used more than 11,000 lines of Oracle’s software code in developing its Android mobile operating system. The tech industry in the U.S. has carefully watched the case since it will help determine rules around building software, and how much code from other programs constitutes “fair use.” A decision in the other direction could have brought upheaval to the huge software industry, calling into question the legality of many software innovations that are built on pieces of other programs.

The decision addresses how U.S. copyright applies to API — software code that enables programs to work with each other. Google had been accused of pilfering a sizable cache of API code developed by Sun Microsystems, which was later acquired by Oracle.

“We assume, for argument’s sake, that the material was copyrightable,” the decision said. “But we hold that the copying here at issue nonetheless constituted a fair use. Hence, Google’s copying did not violate the copyright law,” the ruling stated.  

Google argued that API is regularly used freely by developers to increase interoperability between different products and should be covered by the fair use provisions in copyright law, which allow the unlicensed use of otherwise copyrighted material under some circumstances.

Oracle had argued that the code was protected under copyright law, and that Google should have paid for using it.

Both sides also made arguments for why their position was important to future innovation in the field. Google said that applying stringent copyright protections to APIs would chill developers who build many important software products using shared code. Oracle countered that looser restrictions would discourage programmers from investing deeply in software development, knowing that the resulting code could be used by others without compensation.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court said Google’s use of Oractle’s API “included only those lines of code that were needed to allow programmers to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program.”

Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, described the ruling as a victory for innovation. “The decision gives legal certainty to the next generation of developers whose new products and services will benefit consumers,” he said.

Source: Politico

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