From the Director: COVID-19’s Impact on Technology Transfer

Todd Sherer, PhD is the Associate VP for Research and Executive Director of the Emory Office of Technology Transfer. In this article, Todd Sherer discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the technology transfer industry and on the Emory Office of Technology Transfer specifically. Humankind has longed for better ways of doing things for centuries.  More recently, this phenomenon to make products that solve problems, as well as to create jobs and wealth, has been termed the “innovation economy”.  The demand for technology innovation is global, and there is always the desire to make people healthier and happier. However, Read More …

From the Director: Looking Ahead in 2020

What priorities is OTT focused on for 2020? These two are at the top of the list a) program review and b) process improvement. Our top priority in 2020 is to systematically review our overall program that is focused on IP, licensing, marketing, startups, and industry partnerships. The timing is right for us to conduct a review to assure that we continue to implement best practices in a rapidly changing world. Over the past 5 years there has been many changes to the Emory innovation ecosystem, the larger ecosystem around us, and growth in the research enterprise. We want to Read More …

From the Director: IP Policy Q&A

Many people are unaware, but most universities, including Emory, have formal intellectual property (IP) policies. At first glance it might seem counterintuitive to the university mission of creating and sharing knowledge, but the policies are written in a way that both encourage scholarly activity and the open exchange of ideas while balancing the potential to commercialize new inventions. What these polices say is that if one happens to make an invention that could end up as a new product then the institution owns the invention – but in return, as part of the deal, the institution fronts various costs associated Read More …

From the Director: Revenue Forecasting Pros & Cons

This is a guest post from Todd Sherer, the former Executive Director of Technology Transfer and current Interim Vice President for Research Administration. Technology Transfer offices are often asked to provide projections of revenue to senior administration. There are a number of reasons administration may be looking for these numbers, it could be due to declining sponsored research funding or a desire to diversify the revenue streams to the institution. As one could imagine such forecasting is challenging. Below are some of the pros and cons on such activities. What are the key pros and cons of revenue forecasting? Academia Read More …

From the Director: Challenges of Tech Transfer: “Everything is just getting harder to do” – Part 2

In this two-part blog we discuss the present and future of technology transfer at Emory and nationally with our Executive Director Todd Sherer, PhD, CLP, RTTP. You can find the first part of the blog here. How has patent reform, as well as recent Supreme Court decisions, impacted Emory OTT? Patent reform and recent court decisions are making commercialization at the university more challenging. I guess that’s a theme, that everything is just getting harder and harder to do. It is now harder to get a good patent. It used to be that you could get fairly broad claims covering Read More …

From the Director: Challenges of Tech Transfer: “Everything is just getting harder to do” – Part 1

In this two-part blog we discuss the present and future of technology transfer at Emory and nationally with our Executive Director Todd Sherer, PhD, CLP, RTTP. What do you see as the three biggest challenges in technology transfer today? I think that the three biggest challenges would be constrained resources, the proliferation of organizations and entities focused on commercialization, and limitations on researchers time coupled with the established academic reward structure. Constrained resources have always been a challenge for technology transfer and it seems to get a little worse every year. Simply, we are always trying to do more with Read More …

From the Director: Navigating Proof of Concept Funding – Part 2

 In 2014, the Office of Technology Transfer created a proof of concept (POC) fund. This fund was created to address the lack of funding in the “Valley of Death,” between basic scientific research and a demonstrable product. The POC fund is designed to help move technologies closer to the market. See part one of this interview here. How was OTT’s first investment chosen? Are there any other inventions that are in the process of applying for funding? The first investment was chosen because we happened to have a cardiologist that had a great idea for a new device at that Read More …

From the Director: Navigating Proof of Concept Funding – Part 1

In 2014, the Office of Technology Transfer created a proof of concept (POC) fund. This fund was created to address the lack of funding in the “Valley of Death,” between basic scientific research and a demonstrable product. The POC fund is designed to help move technologies closer to the market. See part two of this interview here. What is a proof of concept fund? A proof of concept fund, generally speaking, is non-diluted funding that can be used to take an early stage idea and get it to a proof of concept or proof of principle stage. Although this stage Read More …