TBED Community of Practice looks at methods to measure the success of state lab-to-market initiatives

Two senior leaders of state programs designed to help commercialize new intellectual property joined a TBED CoP webinar last week to discuss how they determine whether those initiatives are successful. John Hardin, executive director of the Office of Science, Technology & Innovation at the NC Department of Commerce, described the One NC Small Business Program and the evaluation process the office performs each year. They use surveys of award recipients and econometric analysis to demonstrate the program’s effectiveness. Vinit Nijhawan, managing director, MassVentures, discussed the START program targeted at deep tech companies and Catalyst grants, which support clean tech startup companies. Both programs have been shown to assist companies with commercialization activities. More than 100 attendees participated in the webinar, which generated many practical questions (and thoughtful answers) about how methods used in North Carolina and Massachusetts may be transferable to other states. The presentation and recording are available here.

Improving university commercialization success

Why do some universities excel at translating their research into economic impact while others lag? A recent NBER working paper explores the factors influencing the variation in universities' commercialization activities. The authors follow the career movements of 31,000 academic researchers across 1,100 U.S. universities and analyze how the situations at the different host universities may have influenced an increase or decrease in these researchers’ subsequent patent filings and company formations.

White House proposes use of march-in rights to help lower prescription drug prices

The Biden-Harris administration recently announced new actions to lower health care and prescription drug costs by promoting competition. These actions include a proposed framework that encourages agencies to use march-in rights to lower the price of prescription medicines. The proposed framework encourages agencies to consider price as a factor in determining whether a drug is genuinely accessible to the public.

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor says US entrepreneurship is on the rise

Those who gather data know that the results collected in 2020 during pandemic shutdowns do not reveal actual trends. This phenomenon was the case for a recent survey by Babson College researchers for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Adult Population Survey (GEM APS). They found that rates of entrepreneurship, which had been on the rise since 2015, dropped in 2020. However, their newest research shows an upward trend in 2021 and 2022, when the U.S. had the highest levels of entrepreneurial activity since their first survey in 1999. In 2022, 19% of working-age adults were in the process of running a business or were running a company less than 42 months old.

New National Defense Strategy stresses investing in emerging technologies

The 2022 National Defense Strategy, released last week, emphasizes the need to accelerate the Pentagon’s capacity for buying and deploying emerging technologies. Technology sectors called out as targets include advanced materials, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, clean energy, directed energy, hypersonics, microelectronics, quantum science and space. The report indicates that the Department of Defense (DOD) is considering R&D funding, ecosystem support and adapting civilian technologies among the tools it will use to pursue emerging tech.

SBA hosting Innovation Ecosystem Summit next week

The U.S. Small Business Administration is hosting its first innovation ecosystem summit, a free virtual event that is open to all. The summit is expected to connect entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) that work with startups and small businesses — particularly those serving underrepresented communities — that are trying to build out and commercialize their technologies. The three-day summit takes place next week, Nov. 15-17.

DOE awards over $65M to commercialize promising energy technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced over $30 million in federal funding, matched by over $35 million in private sector funds, for 68 projects that will accelerate the commercialization of promising energy technologies. The awards are expected to help transfer solutions from the National Labs to the marketplace and work toward the president’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

DOE awards $9.5 million to support clean energy innovation, commercialization

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that 10 accelerators and incubators across the country have been awarded $9.5 million in total funding through the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) to help develop pipelines for energy technology to reach the market. Created by the DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions, the EPIC funding program aims to encourage the growth of regional energy innovation ecosystems across the U.S. and supports new business formation. This announcement marks the second round of funding through the EPIC program, with the first awarding $500,000 each to 20 incubators and accelerators in October of 2020 to support energy innovation ecosystems and stimulate energy hardware development in regions across the country.

Recent Research: NBER working paper finds discovery team more important to successful commercialization than financial environment

Having interdisciplinary teams of scientists and relationships with “star” entrepreneurs are factors that can influence the chances for academic discoveries to reach the commercialization stage. While proximity to capital has traditionally been viewed as the core stimulus for academic commercialization, a recently released working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research reexamines the variables that play a role in the commercialization of academic sciences, and provides new insight into the importance of team composition throughout the commercialization process.

Recent Research: Balancing the returns from basic research

A recent study exploring the science underlying all 356 pharmaceutical drugs approved by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research since 2010, found each drug is based on life science investments the public sector has made through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, $230 billion, nearly 40 percent of the $586 billion the federal government has put into NIH over the past decade, can be tied to the development and success of those pharmaceuticals, contend the authors of Government as the First Investor in Biopharmaceutical Innovation: Evidence from New Drug Approvals 2010-2019. Not challenging the tremendously important role the federal government plays in life science R&D, the Bentley University researchers instead wonder if current technology transfer mechanisms enabled by the Bayh-Dole Act allow for an appropriate balance in capturing the financial returns from those investments.


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