tech transfer

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.

NSF announces new $60 million program for academic institutions to scale the translation of research

The U.S. National Science Foundation announced a new $60 million investment led by NSF's Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships — the Accelerating Research Translation, or ART, program. The program will build capacity and infrastructure at higher education institutions that are needed to strengthen and scale the translation of basic research outcomes into impactful solutions and practice.

New DOE clean energy office to oversee $20B in investments, new tech developments

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the establishment of a new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations that will support projects in areas including clean hydrogen, carbon capture, grid-scale energy storage, small modular reactors, and more. The recently-signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $21.5 billion in funding for the office’s administration and projects through 2026.

AUTM reports increased patent activity in research institutions

The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) recently reported findings from its 2020 Licensing Activity Survey. The survey collects self-reported technology transfer activity volumes from universities, hospitals and other non-profit research institutions in the United States. The report highlighted a large increase in the number of patents issued in 2020 relative to 2019, with a growth rate of 15.6 percent. There was less clarity about changes in other metrics, however.

$100M grant to Pitt will help fund biomanufacturing hub, increase life sciences impact in region

In a move designed to strengthen southwest Pennsylvania’s role in life sciences research, the University of Pittsburgh and Richard King Mellon Foundation last month announced a $100 million gift to help fund a bioresearch and development facility. The grant, which will be disbursed in $10 million increments over 10 years, will help build Pitt BioForge, a biomanufacturing facility that will leverage biomedical research conducted at Pitt and bring “an entirely new commercial manufacturing sector to Pittsburgh and, if all goes according to plan, increase the economic opportunity for residents and families in and around Hazelwood,” according to a Pitt press release.

Opportunity to advance technology adoption in small and medium manufacturers

NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is working with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to support projects partnering universities and MEP centers to encourage adoption of advanced technologies by small- and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs). APLU is working with Innovation Associates and Jim Woodell & Company to select three collaborative university-MEP pilot projects to develop and test different models of technology transitioning. APLU is currently soliciting two-page, pre-proposals from university-MEP applicant teams by April 16.

NIST reveals regulatory, legislative changes to tech transfer

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has continued to follow through on improvements to federal technology transfer proposed through the Return on Investment initiative. In December, the agency revealed legislative text for statutory changes and, on Monday, released a notice of proposed rulemaking related to Bayh-Dole.

New technology framework facilitates access to innovations in fight against COVID-19

A new set of technology transfer strategies designed to incentivize rapid utilization of available technologies that may be useful for preventing, diagnosing and treating COVID-19 infection during the pandemic has been established by a group including Stanford and Harvard universities and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The licensing strategies are meant to facilitate rapid global access of available technologies to help fight the pandemic. The patenting and licensing strategies include rapidly executable, non-exclusive royalty-free licenses to intellectual property rights that the signatories have the right to license, for the purpose of making and distributing products to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19 infection during the pandemic and for a short period thereafter. 

When benchmarks breed bad behavior

The old adage, “we become/are what we measure” can push behavior of individuals and organizations into unanticipated negative space when the selected key performance indicators take on too much importance — sometimes amazingly negative space that becomes common practice and potentially damaging for the entire industry.  Counting life science startups created through the licensing work of technology transfer offices (TTOs) at the nation’s research universities appears to be the latest example of KPI (key performance indicator) pursuit potentially going bad, based on a recent Nature Biotechnology article.

Pilot study of Defense labs’ R&D partnerships finds $23 billion economic impact

The Department of Defense commissioned a pilot study by TechLink of the economic impact of cooperative R&D agreements (CRADAs) at three Defense labs — U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, and the Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing. The study received information on 628 of 645 completed CRADAs from 1996-2018, 168 of which resulted in sales for the lab’s industry partner. Related sales were $8.7 billion, of which $4.9 billion went to the U.S. military, and TechLink’s IMPLAN analysis estimates $3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues as part of a $23 billion economic impact. CRADAs are a partnership mechanism available across the U.S. federal lab system: learn about this, and other tools, from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer.


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