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MASS BIO RESEARCH INSTITUTE ADDS TUFTS' $70 MIL. OF "REPRESENTED RESEARCH"

Executive Summary

MASS BIO RESEARCH INSTITUTE ADDS TUFTS' $70 MIL. OF "REPRESENTED RESEARCH" to its nascent Unified Office of Technology Transfer, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Institute said Nov. 15. "Tufts University significantly increases our size and pushes MBRI towards its goal of attaining the portfolio of represented research and business management skills needed to become a world-recognized technology transfer office," MBRI maintains. The office represented approximately $120 mil. in research before Tufts joined. Other participating MBRI institutions are Clark University, College of the Holy Cross; the Medical Center of Central Massachusetts; Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology; Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and Worcester State College. A similar venture is being established in Maryland. MBRI said Tufts brings to the office "a broad base of superior technology in the health sciences" including strong biomedical, dental, nutritional and engineering programs. A Tufts official said all of the schools that constitute the university's basic medical sciences will participate in the program, joining the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, which was one of the office's original members. Skip Irving directs the seven-institution technology transfer office as VP of commercial development. Irving is a former head of the pharmaceutical consulting practice at the Cambridge, Mass.- based Arthur D. Little. Designed as a "novel approach" to economic development, the technology transfer office was established in 1992 as an MBRI program to marshal the "shared resources of participating institutions to establish a critical mass of represented research," MBRI said. The technology transfer office evaluates the marketing potential of specific research projects at the participating institutions and produces plans for their commercial development. Technology with a market potential will be licensed to an existing company. A small percentage of research may warrant the formation of new commercial entities, in which case the technology transfer office will assist the researcher and institution in the initial process of constructing a new company. MBRI has not announced any signed licensing agreements; the office's first contracts are expected in the near future. Founded nine years ago in Worcester, Mass., MBRI was established to create a biotechnological industrial center in the mid-state region of Massachusetts. In Nov. 8 testimony before the House Science/Technology Subcommittee, MBRI President and CEO Marc Goldberg described the various programs that constitute MBRI. As well as the technology transfer office, Goldberg outlined the functions of three programs: the Innovation Center, which identifies "potential start-up companies" and provides them with extensive scientific support; Reinvestment in Basic Research, which funds basic grants for participating institutions to stimulate new research directions; and the Office of Public Policy, Education and Training, stimulation and job creation, Goldberg said.
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