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Seven Deadly SinsEdit

The seven deadly sins of Technology Transfer. We all make mistakes – some unavoidable, others due to inexperience and the ability to see where our good intentions can lead us. We can learn from each other’s experiences and in this session we expose and discuss the worst mistakes you can make.
Robert MacWright Presentation (ASTP members restricted access

Commercialisation PlansEdit

How much effort should we put into developing commercialisation plans and strategy? Two speakers will advocate that the effectiveness of TTO is significantly enhanced using this approach – and striking the right balance between analysis and paralysis.
Robert MacWright Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)
Karen Laigaard Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)

When we can't find licenseesEdit

We often find ourselves pushing technologies that everyone believes in but no-one (corporate or VC) wants to invest in - we're told that they are 'too early'? What is going wrong? Is it our marketing? Should we use regional 'technology' funds to develop further? Are potential licensees right or are they acting irrationally - and what should our response be?
Patrick Jones Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)
Thomas Wehlage Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)

Collaboration-led licensingEdit

A major difficulty we have in TT is persuading potential licensees that a technology could be valuable to them. We tend to do this by providing ever more marketing and technical information. In this session we see an entirely different way of engaging with licensees – where applied research collaborations are used as a way of engaging with companies – who take licenses to the background, foreground (or both) once they recognise its value.
Presentation Eli Keshavarz-Moore (ASTP members restricted access)
André Clerix Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)

Engaging in business oriented activitiesEdit

When thinking about commercialisation strategies we tend to think in terms of ‘licensing’ or ‘spin-outs’. Both suffer the structural disadvantage of being quite arm’s mechanisms that can inhibit transfer of know-how. Here we look at two more collaborative and effective ways of commercialisation – via joint ventures and high-technology platforms.
Carsten Skamris Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)
Gerardo Turcatti Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)

Market / problem driven innovationEdit

Universities face specific challenges when exploiting biomedical research and drug related inventions - technology transfer in this area has changed dramatically in the last few years. Together with an external investor, a centre for drug design and discovery is being created at the KU Leuven to pro-actively enhance technology transfer in this field.
Patrick Chaltin & Laurent Braun Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)

Bridging the gap between academic research results and industry demandsEdit

Many promising technologies are just too early for licensing to established industrial partners and disappear in the "valley of death". In this session solutions to this problem will be presented in the form of a case study. The technology provider and the industrial partner will describe the pros and cons of the adopted approach from their respective viewpoints.
Martin Raditsch Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)
Konstantin Joanidopoulos Presentation (ASTP members restricted access, see below for a summary of Mr Joanidopoulos presentation)

scan^R Screening Station for Life Science

Bridging the gap: The long way from a research setup to a commercial product

Olympus recently launched the product scan^R that was developed on the basis of intellectual property from EMBL. Here we describe the framework and the difficulties of a finally successful collaboration between the EMBL, a leading academic research institute and Olympus Soft Imaging Solutions.

Olympus Soft Imaging Solutions (OSIS) are a competence center inside of Olympus that is based in Germany. OSIS develop and produce innovative life and material science imaging products for Olympus. A team of highly qualified experts, many with academic degrees, covers the whole product development process from biological application know-how to optics, hardware, electronics, firmware and software development. OSIS products are distributed and sold through the Olympus sales organizations. Market demands and trends are collected by the sales organization and influence product development plans. OSIS closely cooperates with the Olympus R&D center in Tokyo.

Additionally to this internal information flow direct contacts are needed for innovation.A company like Olympus can draw on many sources for innovation. Generally product development is based on internal sources that are in contact with academia. Direct cooperation with academia is an exception and usually coupled to publicly funded research projects. For Olympus as an innovative company there are many reasons to seek close cooperation with academic research. Research is our main market for life science microscopy products. Olympus is dedicated to innovation. Academic research is one of our most important sources for innovation and many of us have an academic background and close personal connections to academia.

Even under these ideal conditions it has to be considered that academia and industry are two separate worlds that besides of their distinctive cultures have a completely different understanding of “Research & Development”. A researcher develops technology for his special application. He or she will select the best devices affordable within a usually limited budget and her or his activities are focused on results. Corporate R&D targets markets that consist of many users with many applications. Development will be directed according to economic criteria with the final target to create a profitable product.

Collaboration with Academia has significant advantages especially if new applications, trends and markets are targeted. On the other hand it has to be considered that such projects are often at an very early stage associated with high risks the need of significant investments and the dependency of external know-how.

One of the central problems in industry – academia collaboration is the understanding of project status and commercial value. Usually projects are and have to be transferred into the corporate environment in a very early “proof-of-principal” status. Often this is seen very differently from the researcher who has performed many successful experiments with his setup and considers it to be ready for the market. Accordingly licensing negotiations can be very difficult if the value of the intellectual property is estimated on such assumptions. The tremendous efforts and costs of product development are usually underestimated by academic researchers. On top of classical R&D activities like i.e. hardware and software development product development includes testing, certification, documentation, production, marketing, teaching, sales, service and support that involve an increasing amount of manpower. All corporate activities have to comply with internal and international standards (ISO 9000). All products have to comply with all national regulations and standards with respect to the countries in which these products shall be sold.

Nevertheless EMBLEM and OSIS are presenting a success story here. Starting from an experimental setup that was established in Dr.Pepperkok’s laboratory and dedicated to 3 assays that have also been developed in this lab OSIS developed a new and unique product the scan^R Screening Station for Life Sciences. scan^R combines the flexibility of a microscope based setup with the performance of a dedicated screening system and is equally well suited for standard assays and assay development. scan^R provides fully automated image acquisition, advanced image analysis and powerful cytometric data analysis. The scan^R screening station is already applied successfully and covers very different fields like genome screening, drug screening, diagnostic screening and toxicological screening.

The mutually fruitful cooperation between EMBL and OSIS survived difficult times and continues up to now. It resulted in the innovative product scan^R. The effort, time and personal commitment that are necessary for cross-cultural projects between academia and industry should not be underestimated. Tasks should be distributed between industrial and academic partners according to their targets and structures.

OSIS gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Dr. Rainer Pepperkok and Dr. Urban Liebel to this successful project.


Dr. Konstantin Joanidopoulos Olympus Soft Imaging Solutions GmbH Robert-Koch-Str. 9, D-82152 Planegg, Germany tel: +49 89 897460-33 / fax: -11 e-mail:

Via venture capital to a trade saleEdit

We have had a strong focus on startups as the primary alternative to licensing deals. But we can also develop the technology within the university and then do a trade sell.
Patrick Naef Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)
Simon Crossley Presentation (ASTP members restricted access)

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