Posts Tagged: "university research"

The Evolution of University Technology Transfer: By the Numbers

In recent years there has been a paradigmatic shift towards commercializing technology through startups. There is a universal understanding that university inventions are in early technology readiness level and need substantial development to be ready to go to market. Many universities have taken it upon themselves to fund some of the startups, sometimes co-funding alongside venture funds… The next frontier for this industry will likely be in the transformation of data-rich sectors using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies. One area largely accumulating data is the healthcare sector. Medical knowledge is doubling every 73 days, yet we are barely scratching the surface of utilizing this data. With our computing power today and the new era of AI we are at the cusp of a healthcare revolution. Academic institutions are sitting on massive amounts of valuable data that is vastly underutilized, and research institutions will soon begin to recognize and develop healthcare data into the next revolutionary asset.

Happy Birthday, Senator Birch Bayh

Hopefully, you’ve been fortunate enough—at least once in your life—to work for someone you really admired. That happened to me as a Senate Judiciary Committee staffer for Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), who gave me the opportunity that changed my life. He turns 91 today… Bayh-Dole not only cut through the bureaucratic red tape strangling the development of federally-funded R&D; it marked a turning point in how patents were viewed in Congress. When I first joined the Committee, patents were considered tools for big business to stifle competition. Intellectual property fell under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopolies. The Senate Small Business Committee was a hot bed of anti-patent sentiment.

Fine Tuning the Trump Administration’s ROI Initiative

The Trump Administration’s Return on Investment (ROI) Initiative, which is geared toward increasing the American taxpayer’s benefits from federally-supported R&D, is potentially a big step forward. The draft recommendations were contained in a “Green Paper” open for public comment until January 9, 2019. The paper acknowledges the importance of a strong, dependable patent system and lauds the Bayh-Dole Act as the cornerstone of the U.S. technology transfer system, which leads the world in turning federally-funded inventions into new products, companies, jobs and even entirely new industries. Review of the 122-page paper confirms its overall value but also reveals some concerns.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Holds Hearing on China’s Threat to U.S. Innovation Leadership

On the morning of Thursday, July 19th, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing titled China’s Threat to American Government and Private Sector Research and Innovation Leadership. The day’s hearing was dedicated to discuss strategies, both legal and illicit, which are employed by the Chinese government and designed to gain a competitive advantage over the United States.

House Subcommittees Hold Hearing on China’s Predatory Trade, Investment Strategy

The day’s hearing featured discussion of actions the U.S. government should be taking in order to counter deceptive trade practices pursued by the Chinese government, a topic which has become a main theme of the administration of President Donald Trump… Despite initiatives like the Made in China 2025 program, there’s no way for the Chinese economy to get close to catching up to the United States’ competitive advantage in many industries over the next 20 to 30 years without cheating by stealing innovation according to panel witness Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Atkinson argued in his opening statement for a stronger antitrust regime to go after specific Chinese firms, such as rules prohibiting Chinese firms that have stolen U.S. IP from using our nation’s banking and financial systems.

AUTM Licensing Survey: Ominous trend likely attributable to eroding patent rights

Concerns about the ability of academic institutions to keep contributing to the U.S. innovation economy go well beyond federal funding stagnation according to the recent AUTM survey. In an executive summary section entitled The Perils of Eroding Patent Rights, AUTM notes that a slight decrease in options and exclusive license agreements compared to the number of non-exclusive license agreements could be due to fears that licensing companies have over protecting the intellectual property under the current iteration of the U.S. patent system. In 2016, option agreements were down year-over-year by 7 percent while exclusive licenses dropped 2.1 percent. Non-exclusive license totals, however, rose by 2.1 percent to 4,201 such license agreements in 2016. A sharp increase in startups ceasing business activity, up 37.4 percent to a total of 331 such startups, is another “ominous trend” which AUTM notes is likely attributable to eroding patent rights.

When Big Brother Comes Marching In: Patent Challenges on Entrepreneurial Campuses

Bayh-Dole has recently come under attack, as some are trying to highjack certain provisions to be used as a cost control measure for novel therapeutics as the cost of drugs skyrocket. Should the federal government actually march in on an exclusive license covering a federally funded technology, there will be rippling effects throughout many industries. Academic institutions would reassess the value in investing resources and energy in the commercialization process if they struggle to secure a licensee for their federally funded technologies. The biggest effect, however, will most likely be felt by the general public, as they will no longer benefit from the research their tax dollars have funded for decades, but will instead be on the hook for funding the development of once promising, but now languishing, inventions.

The changing face of university technology transfer

Today (TTOs) are increasingly being run by professionals who are experienced in startups, licensing, monetizing and have tremendous depth of technical knowledge in a variety of fields. But they are all waging a losing battle in an industry where 73% of the offices are losing money and an additional 16% just breakeven. It is not because of the efficiency of these offices, it is because of the underlying business model… But the impact of technology transfer on the US economy has been enormous. Since 1980 more than 5,000 startups have been created. From 1996-2013 technology transfer has contributed $518 billion on the US gross domestic product, and $1.1 trillion on the US gross industrial output.

Think Twice Before Pulling the Plug on Tech Transfer

Most assaults on public/private sector R&D partnerships are launched by those who believe patents are inherently bad and that through some undefined magic publicly funded inventions will be developed if they were only made freely available.  However, every couple of years attacks come from another, more threatening direction — claims by well placed, but inexperienced “experts” that if their pet theories were adopted technology transfer from the public sector would sky rocket. One idea being promoted is that universities should double or triple the number of their inventions to justify continued federal funding, thus triggering a spike in commercialization rates. In reality the only  spike would be in patenting dubious inventions to pad the numbers, leading to depressed licensing rates as portfolios were filled with junk.

Conservatives’ Letter to U.S. Senate Says Preserve Bayh-Dole

Though aimed at certain pharmaceutical products, Sens. Angus King’s and Bernie Sanders’ potential amendments would throw the key to the Bayh-Dole Act’s success —certainty and exclusivity of the intellectual property associated with technology transfer in order to agree to attempt commercialization in the first place — into disarray beyond a single product or sector, the signatories contend.

Bernie Sanders’ Really Bad Idea

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation requiring every agency and non-profit entity to include a “reasonable pricing” provision based on King’s formula for any life science invention made with government support. Apparently the colossal failure of a similar requirement forced on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the 1990’s which led to the collapse of industry partnerships without any reduction in drug prices is either unknown, or made no impression on Sen. Sanders. Or perhaps like his trust in socialism, he thinks that what failed in the past will somehow work by some weird magic if trotted out again.

Academic Patent Licensing Helps Drive the U.S. Economy

What’s even more impressive is the impacts on gross industry output and GDP are up 14% while  the number of U.S. jobs supported rose 12% since the previous report issued two years ago. That’s remarkable at a time when the overall U.S. economy has been treading water… While the attacks on Bayh-Dole (and the patent system) are largely driven by emotion, here’s some additional data BIO cited that’s worth considering: over the past 25 years academic inventions led to the formation of 11,000 startups and the commercialization of more than 10,000 new products.

The Plight of the Public Sector Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. While it is a tough road for anyone, it’s particularly tough if you’re in the public sector and threatened by politicians… Rather, the march in provision is intended to insure that good faith efforts are being made towards commercialization and that sufficient quantities of resulting products are available to meet public health or safety needs. If the government is ever pressured to misapply the law for price control, the bottom would fall out of our public technology transfer system. Such a change would not be restricted to drugs but to any product commercialized under Bayh-Dole. What company would commercialize a federally funded invention if an agency could retroactively apply a completely arbitrary standard of fair pricing to justify taking the technology away through compulsory licensing? The answer is easy to guess.

Early Stage Innovation’s Chance to Save Itself

Universities in particular must explain to their congressional delegations why R&D must continue to be funded and why its Bayh-Dole based commercialization bridge must be protected so federal funds already in the pipeline can produce the future jobs, growth and beneficial scientific progress they expected when they voted formerly to support R&D… Unless universities actively justify their commercialization of federally-funded R&D, other influential interests on the Hill who care little about future scientific study, but care a lot about their own survival, will now perceive R&D’s annual funding as a bridge to their own survival. This is no time to wait and watch from the sidelines.

The National Cancer Institute Didn’t Deserve This Treatment From the New York Times

While those in the military are often thanked for their service, let’s also thank researchers like Dr. Rosenberg and his colleagues who spend their lives trying to alleviate human suffering. But that can only happen when their discoveries are commercialized– otherwise they are merely generating interesting research papers. Rather than deserved accolades, NCI and Kite Pharma got a pie in the face from the NY Times.