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Best Practice(s) = Hustle

January 9, 2012

Best practices in commercialization of university technology?  Not sure there are any.  Meaning, I think it is always situation specific.  And tied to whatever metric you want to trumpet for PR purposes.

David Steinberg, a Partner at PureTech Ventures, offered some suggestions for benchmark university-affiliated translational/commercialization efforts/entities; The University of Chicago’s Innovation Fund and the Partners Innovation Fund, among others.

In 2010 the University of Utah spun off the highest number of start-ups based on licensed university technology in the nation.  That got lots of attention.  I don’t know enough about that to comment intelligently.

Allied Minds, Inc. is a private equity-funded innovation company that forms, funds, manages and builds start-ups based on early-stage technology originating from U.S. universities and federally funded research institutions.

QB3, which founded the first start-up incubator in the University of California system, is a joint venture between the three UC campuses at Berkeley, San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

This “proof of concept center” idea is interesting.

As I’ve noted in previous posts, we’re at a disadvantage growing life science start-ups in Louisville, KY.  Not just my opinion, the opinion of others with experience, as well.

Several local “reports,” etc. over the last couple of years have led to sort of a rolling discussion of “technology commercialization” and “technology transfer” strategies and tactics.  How do we do it better? 

I submit that there is no off-the-shelf one-size-fits-all model.  But please comment on places that are doing technology commercialization well.

My probably lame sports analogy…  The 1993 Philadelphia Phillies that won the National League Championship Series but ultimately lost the World Series.  Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, Wild Thing.  A group of whatever it takes kind of players.  The team was a scoring machine–a MLB high 877 runs scored that year.  However, they were not a big power hitting team; they just got on base (hits, walks, stolen bases) and scored.  They hustled!

In my opinion, that’s what Louisville has to do to be successful in commercialization of university technology, especially in biotech/pharma/life sciences.

We (Louisville, collectively) need a team of whatever it takes players.  And we need to get on base and score.  We’re not going to hit for power à la places like Boston and the Bay Area.  So, we need to get on base and move runners along!

Does that make sense?


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