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*Please feel free to pass this newsletter to others. If you received this from a friend and would like to be on our list, please drop us a line at info@arrowcan.com . Your feedback would be really valuable to us.*
We are always going to be centered on PEOPLE and not primarily on technologies. So our newsletter is no exception. It is geared to making this community closer and more aware of all of its members (both the BUY side and the SELL side of the equation).

NEWS:

Who's Gone Where
As usual there are a number of changes to report...
IP Policies
Our clients and others use this page. Is YOUR institution on there and is your information correct? We also have something else we'd like your feedback on this time please.

VIEWS:

How to Engage Industry

One of our colleagues who has experience in BOTH technology transfer at a University and in business development in Industry provides some useful insights.

CHALLENGES:

You get what you "incent"

Are we really providing the right incentives for success to our TTO teams?

NEWS:

Who's Gone Where

Over the last six months we have become aware of the following changes in the technology transfer scene in Canada. If you know of other personnel changes please contact us at info@arrowcan.com and we will include them in the next newsletter. Our aim is to increase awareness and connectivity within our Canadian TTO community.Thank you.

Ian Bell has left the UILO, University of British Columbia,Vancouver BC to pursue other interests in Ottawa ON.
Justine Bizzocchi has left Simon Fraser University Innovation Office, Burnaby BC to pursue other interests.
Rob Patterson has left Simon Fraser University Innovation Office, Burnaby BC to pursue other interests.
Ric Williams is a new Executive-in-Residence, TEC Edmonton, Edmonton AB.
Ravi Vinayak is a Marketing Consultant - Business Development, TEC Edmonton, Edmonton AB.
Jason Ding is no longer an Executive-in-Residence, TEC Edmonton but is CFO at Drivewyz and Intelligent Imaging Systems, Inc., Edmonton AB.
Michael Leydon is a Senior Innovation Officer, SpringBoard West Innovations, Saskatoon SK.
Susan Gorges has left SpringBoard West Innovations, Regina SK to pursue other interests.
Gina Feist has left NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute to join Western Grains Research Foundation as Research Program Manager, Saskatoon SK.
K.W. Michael Siu is the new Vice President Research, University of Windsor, Windsor ON.
Paul Paolotto will be leaving WORLDiscoveries, University of Western Ontario to be Executive Director, Western Research Park, London ON.
Jaipreet Bindra has left WORLDiscoveries, University of Western Ontario to join Deloitte Touche, Toronto ON. He also got married this year!
Maggie Weller is Industry and Grants Development Officer, Faculty of Science, University of Western Ontario, London ON.
Randy Battochio is the Applied Research Manager, College Boreal, Sudbury ON.
Ron Neumann has left the Innovation Factory, McMaster University, Hamilton ON to pursue other interests.
David Carter is the new Executive Director, Innovation Factory, McMaster University, Hamilton ON.
Vanessa Williamson is the Director, College Programs and Academic Relations, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Toronto ON.
Anna Schwarz is Program Manager, CONII and TTN, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Toronto ON.
Haridoss Sarma has left the Catalyst Centre, University of Guelph to pursue other interests.
John Molloy is a Special Advisor, PARTEQ innovations, Queen's University, Kingston ON.
Anne Vivian-Scott is interim President and CEO, PARTEQ innovations, Queen's University, Kingston ON.
Anne Marie Larose is the new Director of MBiV/Veleo Management, Montreal QC.
Robert Gilmour is the new Vice President Research, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown PEI.
Lindsay Bowman has left Mount Allison University and is the Atlantic Region Representative, MITACS, Moncton NB.
Rejean Hall Directeur-Bureau de soutien a L'innovation, University of Moncton has retired, Moncton NB.
Gisele Levesque has left the University of Moncton, Moncton NB to start her consulting business GinnovAide, Grand Barachois NB.
Rick Saulnier Director of Applied Research, Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick is joining NRC as an Industrial Technology Advisor, Moncton NB.
Denise Lalanne has left NRC and is a Business Development Manager, BIOTIC, Halifax NS.

Congratulations to John Molloy for being inducted into the Kingston Business Hall of Fame, Kingston ON!

Best wishes to Rejean Hall at the University of Moncton for his retirement! Thank you for all of the support you gave ArrowCan over the past 8 years.

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IP Policies:

One of the most frequent questions we get asked is "What is the IP policy of... (fill in the institution's name)?" The usual (but not exclusive) reason for this question is that someone is interested to participate in a commercialization exercise and they want to know ahead of time who they will need to be dealing with.
We already have a community table on our web site which gives one the url for the location of the IP policy for every institution we work with. Its been a great tool for us and we want to thank all those who have helped make it accurate and efficient. But it is not enough. So we are thinking of putting an additional column on that table (or a map with color coded dots or something like that) which will give one a quick "visual" about who can independently commercialize an invention at a given institution:

The inventor (so-called "Inventor Owns" policy)
The institution (so-called "Institution Owns" policy)
NEITHER (so-called "Joint Ownership" policy)

Before embarking on this laborious process we thought it wise to just get some feedback from you first. If you are reading this, would you please do us a favor and let us know if this would be helpful to you. You just need to rate the idea from 1 to 5 with 1 being for HATE THE IDEA to 5 being for LOVE THE IDEA. Drop us a line at info@arrowcan.com and let us know. Thanks a million and thanks to Sean Flanigan for the great suggestion of a color coded map.

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VIEWS:

How to Engage Industry

Julian Vasilescu was a very successful member of the ILO staff at the University of Saskatchewan. He's now made the switch to industry and so we asked him if he would be willing to share his unique perspectives about technology commercialization from BOTH sides of the table as it were. Thank you Julian for agreeing to do so. Julian's personal views are contained in the piece below. These are his own insights and are not necessarily the views of any other party. Your comments would be welcome.

It’s been almost two years since I left a university tech transfer position to join the business development group of one of Canada’s largest biotechnology companies. This transition has expanded my skillset, grown my network of contacts, and has enabled me to learn how key decisions are made in industry. The goal of this brief article is to share a simple piece of advice with my friends and former colleagues in the tech transfer community that will hopefully increase your chances of securing a technology licensing agreement with an industry partner. Establish relationships with senior R&D personnel since they can act as the most effective internal champions.

The business development group in a company is the preferred point of contact for most tech transfer professionals since they are responsible for evaluating new business opportunities and deciding which of them merit further consideration. They also develop the business cases that assist senior management in making the critical go/no-go decisions.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that the business development group often acts as a barrier rather than a gatekeeper. This is because they are pro-actively searching for and bringing-in technologies to advance existing product development and cost savings initiatives and have limited time and incentive to thoroughly review all of the non-confidential summaries and other marketing materials they receive. Furthermore, part of the business development group’s role is to mitigate risk and the last thing they want is to be held accountable for the failure of an initiative they pursued without the initial support of other departments.

Senior R&D personnel within a company may act as an effective ally and internal champion for the licensing and adoption of early-stage technologies. They have the technical expertise to understand the potential benefits and risks of a new technology and possess the drive, energy and tenacity that are required to overcome the obstacles associated with change. Furthermore, their opinions usually have considerable sway with senior management. Marketing and sales personnel, on the other hand, may be biased towards opportunities that will likely generate returns and commissions in the short-term.

There are many ways to meet R&D personnel and establish relationships with them. These include attending conferences, industry events, and scientific presentations. One strategy I’ve employed involves contacting the technical support group of a targeted company and asking a sufficiently challenging product question that requires a follow-up response by a senior scientist or engineer. The inventors of the technology may also have an existing network of collaborators and former graduate students/post-docs currently working in industry that are receptive to learning about new technologies or at least providing the names of colleagues who are.

I hope this advice proves to be useful and I wish you the best of luck with your future licensing efforts!

Julian Vasilescu is a Business Development Officer at STEMCELL Technologies Inc. His responsibilities include evaluating new business opportunities and negotiating licensing agreements and other business contracts. Julian previously worked as a Technology Transfer Officer for the University of Saskatchewan’s Industry Liaison Office.

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CHALLENGES:

How Do We Incentivize “Success” in University Technology Transfer?
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Few people will argue that Canada is not punching at our weight class in the conversion of inventions to PRODUCTS that sell in the marketplace and change our economy. We have tried various “fashion-based” approaches to solve this problem over the decades. This is the “anticancer, green, bio-nano, in the cloud” syndrome that works so well for grant writing but fails in business. Some examples are:

the changes in IP policies at universities (the latest being University of Guelph)
the frequent changes of leadership of the TTOs (the latest and most dramatic being that at PARTEQ innovations)
the creation of the so-called CECRs (no need to go into how well THEY have done!)

All of these changes have made only minor perturbations on the general theme of failure of the system in my opinion. I have the image of a condemned building whose structure is in dire need of fixing where one continues to change the wallpaper in the hope that this will make a permanent and lasting positive structural impact. Maybe it is time to explore something inherently DIFFERENT.

In business there is a very useful phrase that has stuck with me. It is said “you get what you incent”. Maybe it is time to examine what exactly we are incentivizing in our TTOs and to propose a structure that; though it may run against the socialistic, egalitarian, core of the academic philosophy; is more aligned to the OTHER side of the interface which people in TTOs work with. What if we paid all members of the office a core salary and offered them a percentage of the grants, deals, and business that they brought in? Heretic? Well maybe in the university world, but definitely not in the business world. After all, it is this business world we want the TTO personnel to interact with and relate to. Let's examine the consequences of such a decision.

Many of the benefits that these folks would earn would come DIRECTLY as a consequence of their own actions and decisions. As a result, they would feel much more empowered and motivated to succeed. The type of people we would attract would be those who have an entrepreneurial spirit and the confidence that they could make a success happen. Now they have a stake in their own success. We would promote intra- and inter- office co-operation since the spirit would be to create win-win situations where profit sharing could occur rather than hoarding of good inventions which the individual does not know how to commercialize. These are inherently business-minded people! They know that a smaller piece of a bigger pie can be a bigger amount in the end. It would empower staff to make the hard choices of what will succeed and what will not because they have a stake in the OUTCOME not just the effort.

But there are other advantages. The university would have a reduced burden of costs for the TTOs because benefits would (COULD) only be paid out on core salaries. To supplement that, and as an incentive, universities would only pay out a small percentage of the overhead they charge. So universities would only pay when they made money and then only a small insignificant portion of what they made. For example, just 2% of a research budget from industry contributions of overhead could amount to a significant difference in the operating budget of a TTO and could be used as a significant incentive for productive members of that office. In case you think this will never happen in Canada, I am proud to tell you that Algonquin College in Ottawa already returns a part of the overhead to its Office of Industry Engagement. This has made a very significant difference in the staff that this office is able to hire, the students they are able to give summer jobs to, the projects they are able to “invest” in, the growth that they are able to achieve, etc. etc. etc. Keep up the good work Mark! The step would put a natural selection process in place since only those who were really successful would be able to afford to stay.

No doubt there will be many many reasonable-sounding arguments brought to bear on why we should NOT do this. Some obvious ones are:

It will incentivize members of the TTO to only look for the BIG deals and ignore the smaller ones. If ONLY we could know prospectively what the really BIG deals were I am sure we would all do the same! Why not do this when time is scarce and efforts need to be spent regardless of how big the deal is likely to be?The reality is that each successful member of the office will develop their own strategy. This will allow many approaches to be tried and the successful ones to survive.
It will discourage people who are having a “bad” year. Those who have a short time horizon actually are not suited for this job and this will help select them out. There can be other approaches to using the “incentive” funds to help make sure that good people are not lost. After all, sales forces and business development offices in industry have worked out many of these bugs already.
It will cause large discrepancies in the amounts that officers make. Isn't this the BEST incentive to those who are not making top dollars to do even more to achieve better personal results or to decide on alternate career paths? Right now there is a feeling that no matter how much one works one makes the SAME amount of money at this job. Isn't that a DIS-incentive to work harder that we would/should want to remove?

If we want to do business we have to think like business. That is a great challenge sometimes at our idealistic universities.

Please send us your feedback (positive AND negative, we welcome anything over silence). We'd love to be a facilitator in this national conversation.

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