Buying into the Buy Side: Technology Transfer Initiatives at the NCI
NIH’s technology transfer offices open for business; there are thousands of technologies available for or licensing.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest basic science research institute in the world. We are the epicenter for discoveries around the fundamental nature of living things. Our research protects, diagnoses, treats and improves health. We are the largest government funder of research around the world. With the largest number of hospital beds in the country, patients treated at the Clinical Center receive unique care, available nowhere else, at no cost.
All this is true. But, if this is all you know about NIH, then you don’t know NIH.
Long thought of as the go-to place for academics to work with a thought-leader and publish in a top-tier journal, NIH’s technology transfer offices are establishing themselves as open for business – as one of the go-to places for the healthcare industry to work with a thought-leader, overcome a technology or knowledge gap, and get their products to market. Translational and clinical innovators across 27 Institutes and Centers cover nearly every disease and disorder imaginable – and marketable. We develop drugs – as well as devices, diagnostics, wearable and digital health solutions, and software.
We are not merely the largest provider of direct support in the world – almost $40B this fiscal year. We are the largest provider of in-kind support in the world. Research tools – mice, cell lines, antibodies – are provided at little or no cost. Our largest clinical center in the world? We work with companies to run dozens of clinical validation studies where each side pays its own way. When it comes to being competitive, there are thousands of technologies available for licensing that require little or no up-front equity. Our royalty rates compare favorably with the other world-renown places; as a federally funded agency, we seek fair market value – not maximum returns. An array of cooperative agreements is successfully executed at a rate of more than 10 a day.
Look again at our mission statement. Surprise: it includes accelerating and promoting economic development. That means working with companies to positively impact your chances as an equity investment, a M&A target, an active employer. We might not be the first place you think of to bolster their pipeline or solve that development problem – but perhaps we should be.
Dr. Michael Salgaller leads the Invention Development and Marketing Unit (IDMU) within the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) Technology Transfer Center. He leverages over 20 years of business, scientific, and investment experience in various life science sectors to support technology development and commercialization.