Technology Transfer: Protecting the True Public Interest - Pharmaceutical Technology

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Technology Transfer: Protecting the True Public Interest
Ties between the biotechnology industry and university research are crucial.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 36, Issue 9, pp. 90, 89

Today and beyond

The pipeline of promising academic research continues to flow. BIO's Technology Transfer Symposium, to be held in San Francisco on Oct. 8, 2012, will highlight recent and successful early stage technology transfer deals from a variety of perspectives. University and government panelists will analyze how value was determined in early stage discoveries by discussing specific successful licensing deals and the parameters that were taken into consideration. Venture capitalists will provide insights into how they evaluate which early stage discoveries to fund.

While deals and economic impact are certainly important, there's a better metric of how far we have come. Before BayhDole, not one drug was developed when the government owned the patent rights. Since then, at least 153 new drugs, vaccines, or in vitro devices have been commercialized from university or federal laboratory research. Cisplatin, Hepatitis B vaccine, human growth hormones, Taxol, Citracal, Cervavix, Gardasil, and the platform technologies that formed the basis of many early biotech products all came from federally funded research.

In 2010, Senator Bayh was honored at a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Act. There were many speeches lauding the success of the Bayh-Dole Act. However, when a cancer survivor looked him in the eye and said: "Senator, because of your law, I'm alive today" she captured the most important measure of its success.

We work in a world where relieving human suffering is the ultimate goal. By recognizing and protecting the foundations of technology transfer, millions around the globe will be able to say: "Thank you for my life—or for the life of my child."

That's reason enough to keep pushing on against the odds.

Jim Greenwood is President & CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Washington, DC.


1. L. Pressman et al., The Economic Contribution of University/Nonprofit Inventions in the United States: 1996 2010 (BIO, 2012).


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