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Your Idea and Your University
  1. Charles D. Smith, PhD
  1. From the Apogee Biotechnology Corporation, Hummelstown, PA, and Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.
  1. Received November 17, 2010.
  2. Accepted for publication December 22, 2010.
  3. Reprints: Charles D. Smith, PhD, Apogee Biotechnology Corporation, Hershey Center for Applied Research, 1214 Research Blvd, Suite 1016, Hummelstown, PA 17036. E-mail: cdsmith{at}
  4. This presentation was part of the 2009 American Federation of Medical Research-Translational Medical Research Development Workshop and was supported by a grant (R13RR023236) from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the NIH. However, the contents of the presentation are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official view of NCRR/NIH, the AFMR, Apogee Biotechnology Corporation, and Medical University of South Carolina.

Issues in Academic Technology Transfer


Research discoveries may lead to products for commercial development. A central consideration for the researcher is how involved she or he will be in the commercialization process. In some cases, a university out-licenses the intellectual property, whereas in other cases, the investigator may want to be involved in the development process and choose to start his or her own company to develop and possibly to manufacture and sell the product. Before undertaking such a challenge, however, the investigator-turned-entrepreneur must consider a variety of issues, including career goals, financial and time commitments, potential conflicts of interest and/or commitment, start-up funding, and his or her ability to run a company or step aside to allow business experts to make necessary decisions. This paper discusses some personal considerations in deciding to start a spinout company and provides information on some of the available government grants to assist you should you decide to undertake your product's commercial development. In particular, the Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs of federal funding agencies often are the source of early funding for new biomedical companies.

Key Words
  • intellectual property
  • technology commercialization
  • faculty spinout company

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