Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 2008 Newsletter Now Available

Highlights from TTO's November 2008 newsletter:

Update: Strong Pipeline of Proposals for TTO Funding
TTO is currently processing proposals for three proof-of-concept programs: the Colorado Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant (BDEG), the TTO-EILC renewable energy proof-of-concept grant (POCre), and TTO's proof-of-concept investment (POCi). For the Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant, 29 total proposals were received from all campuses in the fields of therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and biofuels. TTO received 8 CU-Boulder applications for renewable energy POC grants, and 11 companies founded on CU technologies submitted POCi proposals.

CU Renewable Energy Symposium Highlights Colorado Research and Collaboration
On November 17 the CU-Boulder Energy Initiative, in partnership with regional federal labs, hosted an Energy Research Symposium featuring over 140 posters in which faculty, research associates, graduate students and scientists displayed their novel ideas for new research tackling energy and related climate change or sustainability issues. Researchers from several federal laboratories including NREL, NOAA, NCAR and NIST participated, with topics ranging from new energy materials to nanotechnology to biofuel production to carbon capture.

TTO Hosts Faculty 'Patent Savvy' Panel Discussion
On December 5, as part of the CU New Venture Challenge, TTO will host a panel discussion with top patent-savvy faculty on their role in successful patent applications and licenses. Featuring Alan Weimer (Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering; Founder, Copernican Energy Inc.) and Ryan Gill (Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering; Founder, OPX Biotechnologies, Inc.). CU faculty are invited to attend and find out how the inventor makes the difference between a patent that issues and generates income vs. a patent application that is rejected by the U.S. patent office.

TTO Releases Annual Technology Pipeline
The TTO has released its 2008 technology pipeline update. To learn more about CU technologies in all stages of development, please visit our newly updated technology pipelines online. A print version of this document will be available by request in early December.

Boulder Innovation Center Partners with Nation's First Aerospace Business Incubator
The 8th Continent Aerospace Business Incubator, which opened in late November at the Colorado School of Mines, serves as a virtual home for entrepreneurial companies that turn innovations from the Space Program and defense industries into profitable businesses and investment opportunities. The Boulder innovation Center (BIC), a TTO commercialization partner, will provide incubator management and advisory services, and is currently seeking a program manager to support this new alliance.

Save the Date: TTO Annual Awards Event
The seventh annual TTO awards dinner will be held on January 12, 2008 at the historic Tivoli Turnhalle in Denver. This event celebrates people and companies that are illustrative of the outstanding year experienced by technology transfer at CU. Invitations will be sent via email soon; for information about purchasing a table, please contact Lynn Pae at lynn.pae@cu.edu or 303-735-0550.

Read the full newsletter.

TTO Commentary: Douglas Prasher and GFP

Many have already the story of Dr. Douglas Prasher and how his discovery of one of the most powerful molecular biology research tools, Green Florescent Protein (GFP), resulted in the award of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Dr. Prasher’s former collaborators. Dr. Prasher provided his materials freely and without condition, to all comers, but his contributions to the field were not acknowledged when the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2008 Nobel in Chemistry, nor by federal granting agencies in the United States. Having enabled the field of fluorescent protein analysis, Dr. Prasher is out of money and out of science, with no attribution for his major contributions to the field of molecular and cellular biology.

Dr. Prasher should have provided his materials, openly and free of charge, to all academic collaborators under a Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) to encourage the advancement of science, while codifying his contributions to his collaborators, and the field, through guaranteed attribution, authorship, or citation. He should also have filed a patent with his technology transfer office, so that companies making money from his discovery would pay a royalty that could support further scientific research in his laboratory. The simple use of common practice of technology transfer practices would have ensured that Dr. Prasher:

-received due scientific credit for his work
-benefitted from any commercial exploitation of GFP, and possibly derivative proteins
-gained substantial financial support for his science, commensurate with his contributions to science

Commercialization and collaboration are not mutually exclusive outcomes, and technology transfer best practices can help innovators like Dr. Prasher benefit from both. For more information about protecting your contributions to your field, please see CU TTO’s Bulletins page and our Invention Disclosure Forms.

Rick Silva directs CU TTO's University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus office.