BIO, AUTM Host Technology Transfer Symposium @ BIO 2010

BIO-AUTM Technology Transfer Symposium
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Hyatt at McCormick Place – Regency Ballroom B

2233 South Martin L. King Drive

Chicago, Illinois

The BIO Technology Transfer Symposium, in partnership with the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), will explore the role of universities in the U.S. innovation economy, with a particular emphasis on technology transfer. The Symposium will examine the opportunities and challenges of collaborative biotechnology research and licensing to heal, fuel, and feed the world. The Symposium provides a unique occasion for dialogue among a diverse group of university, company, investor, and policy thought leaders.

Seating is limited. To RSVP and for additional information, email

Download the Program Schedule. (743 KB PDF)

Program Speakers:

W. Mark Crowell, Vice President, Business Development, Scripps Research Institute; Co-chair, BIO Technology Transfer Committee

Linda P.B. Katehi, Chancellor, University of California (Davis)

Steve Mento, President & CEO, Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Robin A. Chadwick, Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner (SLW)

Andrew Cittadine, Co-founder & CEO, American BioOptics

Tom Skalak, Vice President for Research, University of Virginia

Wes Blakeslee, Executive Director, Johns Hopkins University Office of Technology Transfer

Polly Murphy, Vice President Business Development, Pfizer

Eric Risser, Vice President for Business Development, Macrogenics

Mark Rohrbaugh, Director, National Institutes of Health Office of Technology Transfer

Jon Soderstrom, Ph.D., Managing Director, Office of Cooperative Research, Yale University
The BIO-AUTM Symposium is sponsored by Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner and Sunlight Research (SLW/Sunlight).  BIO Thanks SLW/Sunlight for additionally co-sponsoring the BIO-EPO IP Counsels  Reception.


Where Breakthroughs Will Soon Call Home: Wisconsin’s BioAg Gateway

The Wisconsin BioAg Gateway is a visionary project being sited on Madison’s southeast side at the crossroads of Interstates 90 and 94. This location puts the BioAg Gateway at the center of the Midwest’s IQ Corridor—two hours from Chicago, an hour from Milwaukee, four to Minneapolis—and just minutes to the Dane County Regional Airport, with over 100 flights a day.

Importantly, the Gateway is a project that encompasses the natural and manmade assets of the area. The Madison Region is located in the driftless region of Southcentral—Southwest Wisconsin—the heart of “America’s Breadbasket,” between the Northwoods, the Misssissippi River Basin and the Great Lakes Basin. This location and landscape strongly inform our economy. Agriculture is a $1.86 billion industry in the Madison Region, we have the highest number of CSAs and farmers markets per capita in the region, and we are national leaders in food production and processing facilities throughout the region.  The research capacity of the University of Wisconsin—Madison works with our leading private sector companies to advance food safety, health, and to treat disease.  And we are in many ways the birthplace of the modern sustainability movement; the home of Aldo Leopold and John Muir, the launchpad for Gaylord Nelson’s Earth Day. The spirit of their work carries through to the region today in our cutting- edge R&D of bioplastics, alternative energy technologies, clean tech and environmental sciences.

So, bringing it all together, the BioAg Gateway is an ambitious project, pulling together four integral components that take agricultural products from research to development to commercialization through the MidWest BioLink Center and the BioAg Business Park; and to continue to educate about and promote both our hertiage and our future to the public through the Ag Discovery Center and Ag Showcase.

A little more about each of the four components of the BioAg Gateway:

MidWest BioLink Center: A secure, state-of-the-art research facility, the Midwest BioLink Commercialization and Business Center will provide bio and ag entrepreneurs the catalyst to take their technology to the next level and beyond.

  • Experimentation and prototyping flex space
  • Controlled environment facility
  • Plant science commercialization greenhouse
  • Office and lab space
  • Pilot processing
  • Conference and meeting space
  • Business services and financial assistance

BioAg Business Park: The BioAg Business Park will help bio and ag companies turn their breakthroughs into successful business ventures by quickly getting them up and running.

  • Building sites and commercial office space
  • Over 20 existing bio and ag businesses
  • Nearby resources:
    • Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
    • Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
    • UW Extension Ag Facility
  • Easy access to city, region and county

Wisconsin Ag Showcase: A regional showpiece for visitors from around the globe, the Wisconsin Ag Showcase will demonstrate the area’s vast agricultural diversity and commitment to sustainability.

  • Ag crop and renewable energy showcase
  • Trade groups and corporate partners
  • Best practice demonstrations
  • Field test plots
  • Ag and bio exhibits
  • Pantry gardens

Wisconsin Ag Discovery Center: A space designed for opening eyes, minds and doors, the Wisconsin Ag Discovery Center will educate visitors on all the amazing advancements taking place in the state.

  • Interactive center communicating and demonstrating invention
  • Emerging ag technology exhibits
  • Future of BioAg economy and new opportunities
  • Trailhead to state resources and innovators
  • Hands-on services for growers and ag entrepreneurs
  • BioAg success stories

You can find the BioAg Gateway at BIO 2010 in the Wisconsin Paviliion: 4107

Jennifer Smith, Thrive | |Twitter:
Thrive is the economic development enterprise for the 8-county Madison, Wisconsin Region.

Boosting Small Company Presence at 2010 BIO International Convention, Wisconsin Madison Region Shows Off Talent

BIO 2010 Scholarships

In 2009, Thrive, the economic development enterprise for the eight-county Madison, Wisconsin USA region, developed a scholarship program to help regional biotech companies attend key business development events at the BIO International Convention. This year, Thrive partnered with BioForward, the City of Madison, UW-Madison CIBER, and Alliant Energy to increase the amount of funding available to biotech businesses. This year’s Small Business Scholarship Program was designed to help small Wisconsin biotech companies in medical, agriculture, energy, or other sectors, including medical devices, to participate in the convention’s One-on-One Partnering or company presentation forums. Companies that have participated in these events in the past have noted these opportunities as some of the most valuable aspects of their BIO experience. In an event the scale of BIO – with over 1,700 exhibitors – the ability to target and connect face-to-face with potential partners is a true opportunity. One 2009 grant recipient scheduled 27 one-on-one meetings at BIO, and remains in contact or has contracts with 15 of those companies today.

This year, 10 Wisconsin biotech companies were awarded scholarships of $1,100 each out of this grant partnership. Nine of those 10 companies are located in the eight-county Madison Region. The region’s recipients are:

  • C5-6 Technologies (Middleton) — Develops and commercializes solutions for the conversion of agricultural and forestry feedstocks into five carbon and six carbon sugars, high value chemicals, food products and fuels.
  • CellCura (Madison) — Dedicated to the development of novel equipment and products for use in Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Stem Cell Research. Products from CellCura will improve safety and efficiency in both clinical and research environments.
  • Echometrix (Madison) — Early-stage developer of proprietary ultrasound technology that offers a new, quantitative approach to the assessment of tendon, ligament and muscle pathology.
  • InvivoSciences (McFarland / Wauwatosa) — Researches and develops engineered, tissue-based assays that mimic human and animal functions. The high-throughput system and ready-to-use tissues grown in a three-dimensional (3D) environment are predictive and cost-effective.
  • Intense Engineering (Madison) — Helps dynamic companies in the medical and biotechnology fields by providing expert design and engineering services for technology development and product line advancement.
  • Neoclone (Madison) — Develops monoclonal antibodies for research and diagnostic applications and has a research program for making human therapeutics.
  • Primorigen (Madison) — Develops innovative, low cost protein and cell biology research products to speed development of new regenerative medicines and other therapeutics for conditions such as diabetes.
  • Quintessence Biosciences (Madison) – A private biopharmaceutical company developing anticancer compounds that attack a new target, the RNA in cancer cells. The company has a drug called QBI-139 in a Phase I clinical trial.
  • Vatrix Medical (Fitchburg) –A medical technology company focused on developing less invasive and more complete methods to diagnose and treat the root causes of aneurysmal disease.

Madison Region at BIO 2010

For the past two years, Thrive has collaborated with partners – the cities of Fitchburg, Madison, and Middleton, along with Alliant Energy and Madison Gas & Electric – to establish a regional presence and promote the region’s biotech assets to the world at BIO. That partnership continues this year, where Thrive and our partners will staff a booth in the Wisconsin Pavilion and connect with an international audience.  Find Thrive and the Madison Region at BIO 2010 in the Wisconsin Pavilion, Booth 4107

Julia Hatton, Thrive Project Director | | Twitter @thrivehere
Thrive is the economic development enterprise for the eight-county Madison Wisconsin Region

From Lab to Commercialization: NIH Licenses Offer Another Path

(Original post at BIOtechNow)

If a biomedical breakthrough occurs within a federal lab, chances are your company can license use of the technology from the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT).

Every year, literally hundreds of biomedical breakthroughs take place in federal labs, and OTT handles licensing of such technologies for all labs within the Health and Human Services Department. NIH promotes licensing and use of these developments to create practical applications.

While NIH works to make the licensing process easy, it also seeks the development of as many products as possible that have the potential to improve public health. For that reason, it rarely grants exclusive-use licenses. In fact, the more licensees the better, in its view.

“This allows more than one company to develop products using a particular technology, products which may ultimately compete with each other in the marketplace,” OTT points out in its licensing documentation. “NIH recognizes that companies typically need an exclusive market position to offset the risk, time and expense of developing biomedical diagnostic or therapeutic products; however, companies do not necessarily need to achieve that position by exclusively licensing a government technology used to develop that product.”

The OTT website provides extensive lists and details of the technologies available for licensing. Toward its goal of improving public health, the agency breaks out licensing opportunities for neglected diseases and rare diseases in their own sections on the site. In addition to explaining the different types of licenses and research opportunities available, the site also provides examples of the forms and documents needed to apply for licenses.

NIH developments have played a role in many successful biomedical products. Determining the value of the government’s technology transfer work is tricky, the agency concedes. Typically, success is measured in patents approved and royalties received by the government.

“This approach does not depict the full scope of activities and may, in fact, distort the importance of ensuring that novel biomedical inventions are commercialized,” the agency notes in the preface to NIH Technologies in the Development of Healthcare Products, an online collection of case studies that showcase the impact of tech transfer.

Ultimately, the report notes, the most crucial factor is “the extent to which technologies developed in NIH laboratories and transferred to commercial partners are meeting the NIH mission of improving the public health.”

Based on that mission, the licensing process focuses on ensuring that licensed technology results in the creation of actual products. When applying for a license, a company must submit a business development plan, which OTT then uses to create performance benchmarks. OTT monitors each licensee’s performance and adjusts benchmarks as needed to ensure commercial development of government-derived inventions.

The Office of Transfer Technology will have a booth providing information about its programs at the upcoming BIO International Convention.

FluGen: Tech Transfer in the Madison, Wisconsin Region

credit: UW Communications

Kawaoka. credit: UW Communications

I first became acquainted with the work of Dr. Yoshihiro (Yoshi) Kawaoka at a 2006 CEO Summit held at the University Wisconsin-Madison hosted by UW Alumni John Morgridge. This unique forum was designed for leading Madison Region executives who shared a common experience—being UW Madison alumni. UW Madison, which ties with Harvard for CEO production, was hosting this event to profile recent cutting-edge research (showcased that day by Dr. Kawaoka, Dr. James Thomson, of human embryonic stem cell fame, and Paul Barford, internet security researcher). Dr. Kawaoka impressed me as of course brilliant, cutting edge, and well-spoken enough to both frighten and reassure me about the nature of his research.

Dr. Kawaoka had, at the time, been researching influenza for at least 10 years as a member of the UW Madison School of Veterinary Medicine; soon after this summit, he was to take advantage of the infrastructure of the UW Madison and Madison Region to launch FluGen, an influenza product R&D business.  FluGen is a strong case study in not only top leading research happening at the UW Madison, but also of how the infrastructure of the region helps this R&D spinout into productive, leading global businesses that help heal, feed and fuel the world.

With Gabriele Neumann (UW Madison) and Paul Radspinner (former exec with Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals –Madison and Eli Lilly who assumed position as president and CEO of FluGen), Dr. Kawaoka and his team received exclusive influenza vaccine licensing rights from WARF in 2008 shortly following FluGen’s launch.  Working with the UW Madison’s Office of Corporate Relations, FluGen began travelling the Angel and Venture Capital circuit for funding. To-date, FluGen has received $2.2 million in angel funding and is currently raising an additional $3 million in bridge round funding.

“The combination of great UW science, extraordinary facilites at the University Research Park and the Waisman Biomanufacturing Center, expert assistance and support from OCR and WARF, and venture cpaital will help us to keep scientists like Dr. Kawaoka and their businesses here in Wisconsin,” said Radspinner in a 2008 interview.

In 2008, FluGen was awarded a nationally-innovative tax credit dubbed Act 255, Angel and Venture Fund Tax Credit programs. Act 255 offers Wisconsin income tax credits to angel investors and investors in seed-stage venture capital funds. Those who invest in the businesses are able to claim tax credits under the legislation originally enacted in 2004. Thrive was a key player in a 2009 statwide coalition that pushed to successfully expand these nationally-recognized credits.  FluGen will again benefit from these credits as it grows.

In 2008, UW Madison was awarded a $1.3 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for influenza research (team headed by Dr. Kawaoka); WARF and Maryland-based Lentigen Corp agreed to broadly disseminate the knowledge generate in this project to the scientific community, meaning that key pieces of the intellectual property created during the project would be donated by WARF to the international research community to improve human health across the globe.

Following a breakthrough by a team led by Drs. Kawaoka and Toko Watanabe in 2008 identifying the genes that enabled the deadly 1918 Spanish Influenza (responsible for killing between 20 and 50 million people), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the UW Madison a five-year, $9.5 million grant to identify virus mutations that would serve as early warnings of potential pandemic influenza viruses. Dr. Kawaoka was the principal investigator on the international team, charged with detecting an early warning system for pandemic viruses.

From L-R: Paul Radspinner (president-CEO), Yoshi Kawaoka (co-founder), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gabi Neumann (co-founder), Pamuk Bilsel (VP R&D) and Daryl Buss (Dean of UW Veterinary Medicine).

From L-R: Paul Radspinner (president-CEO), Yoshi Kawaoka (co-founder), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gabi Neumann (co-founder), Pamuk Bilsel (VP R&D) and Daryl Buss (Dean of UW Veterinary Medicine).

In the meantime, FluGen was developing its product pipeline, and in March 2009 announced that it had secured exclusive rights to a novel, patent-protected vaccine-delivery technology developed by Madison, Wisconsin-based Ratio, Inc. FluGen is in pre-clinical testing of this device and expects in the first quarter of next year to submit an investigational new drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval to enter Phase I clinical trials by mid 2011.


Brief history of the recent work of Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka: Joint appointment UW Madison (virologist, UW Madison School of Veterinary Medicine) and University of Tokyo; internationally-recognized expert on influenza research.

  • 1997: Dr. Kawaoka conducts detailed surveillance on Hong Kong Flu
  • 1999: Dr. Kawaoka and his team create the first artificial flu virus
  • 2005: Dr. Kawaoka studies a Vietnamese girl’s resistance to Tamiflu; begins production of a new technology to speed bird flu vaccine production
  • 2006: Dr. Kawaoka and team begin researching how flu viruses replicate
  • 2007: Dr. Kawaoka and team identify key steps in viral bird flu spread in humans
  • 2007: Dr. Kawaoka, Dr. Gabriele Neumann and Paul Radspinner, CEO, incorporate FluGen (Madison, Wisconsin)
  • 2007: FluGen secures $2.2 million in seed funding
  • 2008: WARF licenses flu vaccine and antiviral technology to FluGen
  • 2008: FluGen receives innovate Act 255 tax credits
  • 2008: Dr. Kawaoka and team identify lethal 1918 Spanish Flu genes
  • 2009: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards UW Madison $1.3 million for flu research
  • 2009: FluGen secures exclusive rights to innovative vaccine delivery device
  • 2009: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards UW Madison $9.5 million for flu research; principal investigator, Dr. Kawaoka

Jennifer Smith, Thrive | | Twitter @thrivehere
Thrive is the economic development enterprise for the eight-county Madison Wisconsin Region.

PatentlyBIOtech Series: Wisconsin Thrives

Thrive, the economic development enterprise for the eight-county Madison Region in Wisconsin, is guest blogging for PatentlyBIOtech up until the 2010 BIO International Convention, where the Wisconsin Technology Council, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce will showcase their work on the Exhibition Floor (link to floor plan search). BIO supports innovation from the ground up, starting at the local level with both the academic and business communities working collaboratively.

Thanks to Thrive, PatentlyBIOtech readers can get a glimpse of what a successful biotech community looks like. Many states are currently catching up to establishing policies that Wisconsin initiated in the Wisconsin Idea:

For a state that many might find hard to immediately locate on a U.S. map, Wisconsin is amazingly (and perhaps surprisingly) progressive. We’ve long been known as innovators and strong proprietors of creative, intellectual capital—home of the first kindergarten in the U.S., for example, home to the first tech transfer office in the nation and home to the UW-Madison (second in the nation in R&D funding in the nation after Harvard and MIT combined).

We are also, importantly, home to the Wisconsin Idea, the notion that the knowledge and discoveries engendered at the university must reach the borders of the state to help its citizens broadly. The Wisconsin Idea is the principle that education should influence and improve people’s lives beyond the university classroom—to the borders of the state.

This guiding principle has steered the university’s work for over 100 years across economic development, tech transfer, medical and scientific advances and continuing education for Wisconsin’s citizenry and for the world.

Wisconsin was already known for progressive politics when the Wisconsin Idea was first attributed to UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904. Van Hise, a friend of then Governor Robert M. LaFollette, used his friendship with the Governor to forge closer ties between the University and the state Government.

The Wisconsin Idea was first viewed as a unique public-private governmental experiment, with the university’s faculty elite aiding legislative efforts. Over time, however, the University has more broadly applied this principle and it now embodies the spirit of public-private research, tech transfer and public service by the University. You can read up on more on key moments in the Wisconsin Idea timeline and history here.

Ideas into action—that’s long been the hallmark of Wisconsin, and it’s also the theme of this blog, introducing some of the innovative public-private relationships in the eight-county Madison, Wisconsin Region and the state, the groundbreaking research being done here, the tech transfer, business development and economic development systems we have in place and continue to create and refine and how that helps you—and your business—thrive.

Jennifer Smith, Thrive | | Twitter @thrivehere

Thrive is the economic development enterprise for the eight-county Madison Wisconsin Region.