Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NIH Marketing Tech Transfer

Ajoy K. Prabhu, head of marketing operations in the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) at NIH, spoke at the local chapter of the D.C Technology Transfer Society on September 22nd, to discuss NIH tech transfer marketing initiatives. The NIH Office of Technology Transfer evaluates, protects, markets, licenses, monitors, and manages the wide range of NIH and FDA discoveries, inventions, and other intellectual property with the goal of moving thousands of the technologies into product development and eventually into the hands of consumers.

One of the biggest challenges for any technology transfer office is to identify companies to approach for marketing purposes. OTT has a new market data mining system “Synapse™” that enables OTT staff to quickly and easily find companies that have expressed prior interest in a similar disease area. This database includes epidemiological and clinical trial information on various diseases to help OTT staff fine tune their positioning of a particular technology.

The OTT test mining tool has now been expanded to include technologies from non-profits worldwide. This helps OTT develop customized reports to industry to help in their search to acquire new technologies and to be able to identify a more valuable licensing package from multiple institutions.

OTT has created a RSS data feed to include information on NIH/FDA technologies available for licensing. In addition, OTT created a subscription-based automated email service where subscribers receive information on new technologies targeted to their areas of interest.

After a technology is marketed and licensed, some technologies become products that detect, treat, prevent disease, or assist researchers. OTT has developed a “Product Showcase” to display the products developed by commercial partners from NIH and FDA intramural research programs.

OTT continues to develop an electronic web site for Research Materials (eRMa) to serve as a marketplace for many hundreds of research materials available for licensing from NIH/FDA intramural research programs. This interactive website will provide a marketing and licensing option designed to expedite the licensing process, decrease transaction costs, and to help disseminate research materials to companies.

The Pipeline-to-Partnership (P2P) is a “virtual” space where SBIR/STRR grantees can self-publish a showcase of their technologies and product development for potential strategic partners and investors.

The Rare Diseases and Conditions Technologies web site supported by OTT and the NIH Office of Rare Diseases Research provides an added venue for marketing and opens up new possibilities for packaging various inventive components of the technologies where there is great medical need but a weak market existing for investments.

NIH”s OTT and the Office of Financial Management have teamed up with to speed tech transfer payments. The new payment site makes it easier for companies to license inventions owned by NIH/FDA to make their royalty payments. Royalties are typically paid upfront for biological materials and over the term of a commercial patent license.

An example of technology that OTT now has available for licensing is software that can provide prognostic information for different diseases and in particular for cancer. The software can determine whether a particular genotype has a significant association with survival time for an individual receiving treatment. For details, email John Hewes PhD at

For more information on the OTT program, go to