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Picture by Bryan Clifton
| Kevin Sexton, M.D., stepped into the position as president of BioVentures LLC this 12 months with a imaginative and prescient and a plan for rising commercialization sources to College of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)-affiliated researchers.
Inside a number of months, the BioVentures group expanded to incorporate profitable educational researchers with robust backgrounds within the commercialization of mental property.
“We’re researchers; we’re clinicians,” mentioned Sexton, a surgeon, inventor and entrepreneur. “Our imaginative and prescient is to assist change the tradition of UAMS. We wish to carry entrepreneurial sources and coaching in order that we will make innovation an integral a part of the UAMS ecosystem and the financial engine of our college.”
His group shall be constructing relationships with school, departments and institutes throughout UAMS, together with a program of sources to assist their fellow researchers develop their applied sciences, he added.
BioVentures helps researchers with mental property growth, business licensing and accessing the sources that school have to take part in startup corporations. Its position consists of discovering licensees for a researcher’s mental property if the researcher chooses to not create or take part in a spin-off firm.
“We get between 35 and 40 invention disclosures yearly, and we have to improve that,” Sexton mentioned. “The way in which to extend that’s to help inventors after they submit disclosures.”
One of many new group leaders at BioVentures is Eric Peterson, Ph.D., government vp. He’s overseeing two just lately established packages. They’re:
- The BioVentures Growth Award program to incentivize commercialization inside UAMS’ analysis neighborhood.
- An engineering core inside BioVentures in partnership with the UAMS Institute for Digital Well being & Innovation (IDHI) and the College of Arkansas, Fayetteville to assist researchers develop prototypes of their innovations.
Different initiatives to assist researchers are beneath growth, together with:
- A grant proposal growth and execution help program, primarily for Small Enterprise Innovation Analysis (SBIR) and Small Enterprise Know-how Switch (STTR) awards from quite a lot of federal sources (Nationwide Institutes of Well being, Nationwide Science Basis, Division of Protection, and so on). This system is led by Robert J. Griffin, Ph.D., professor and radiation biologist within the Faculty of Medication Division of Radiation Oncology, who additionally just lately led a funded SBIR with a start-up supported by BioVentures.
- An Entrepreneur in Residence Program to be led by Jay Gandy, Ph.D., affiliate provost on the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus and former division chair and interim dean of the UAMS Fay W. Boozman Faculty of Public Well being. Gandy will transition to the BioVentures position from his affiliate provost place on the finish of 2022.
Growth Award Program
Introduced in June, the BioVentures Growth Award Program goals to speed up growth of recent, extremely progressive applied sciences and to help entrepreneurship exercise at UAMS.
The one-year awards are tiered, with Tier 1 offering as much as $10,000 for brand spanking new discoveries which have been reviewed by the UAMS Patent and Copyright Committee and have acquired a “Retain Rights and Encourage Additional Growth” choice. Tier 2 awards help applied sciences in later phases of growth with a provisional patent and needing extra information to help a full patent software.
The awards help the event of applied sciences which have secured or are securing mental property safety however want extra sources for proof-of-principle help of the applied sciences.
“We’re very enthusiastic about this new award program,” mentioned Peterson, chair of the UAMS Patent and Copyright Committee, an affiliate professor within the Faculty of Medication Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology and an inventor.
The awards are presently funded by BioVentures.
“Our intention with the BioVentures Growth Award is to encourage extra researchers to submit invention disclosures, and we consider it would,” Peterson mentioned. “Funding for commercialization initiatives has all the time been briefly provide, and these awards could make an enormous distinction in a researcher’s capability to speed up work on their innovations.”
As government vp, Peterson additionally oversees expertise growth in partnership with the College of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Sexton has facilitated partnerships with IDHI and the College of Arkansas to determine a employees of engineers and a school supervisor who might help inventors construct their prototypes. The group is in place and already has contracts to assist develop medical machine prototypes.
“The objective is similar because the grants growth program — to offer the sources our researchers have to create a purposeful prototype or minimal viable product,” Sexton mentioned.
BioVentures goals to attach with early-career researchers as quickly as they be a part of UAMS and is reaching out to extra skilled researchers, as properly.
“A variety of our inventors have nice concepts, however they most likely don’t have the technical abilities to develop a prototype,” Sexton mentioned. “We wish to be a associate with them in how they plan their analysis in order that commercialization turns into the pure evolution of how we’re doing analysis and bringing our discoveries to market.”
SBIR/STTR Help Program
NIH SBIR/STTR funding could be important, Peterson mentioned, and but few researchers apply for it.
“It’s not precisely straight ahead for a researcher to handle commercialization, small enterprise creation and their educational profession,” Peterson mentioned.
Analysis school enthusiastic about forming a startup firm to obtain SBIR/STTR funds shall be supplied with a roadmap and greatest practices for reaching their objectives whereas sustaining their educational profession, he mentioned.
Sexton mentioned it is a chance for UAMS to diversify its analysis income streams at a time when conventional NIH funding sources are flat.
“That is one other method for researchers to help their labs and develop applied sciences as properly,” Sexton mentioned. “We’re partnering with Dr. Griffin to construct the infrastructure to use for these awards. He and different school with SBIR/STTR expertise are advising us in order that we will develop techniques that make this a lot simpler for them to do.”
Peterson added that Griffin “is the proper individual to steer the initiative and function a useful resource for UAMS-affiliated researchers as a result of he has navigated all of it and has been a profitable applicant for SBIR funding.”
Sexton mentioned he and his group will work with researchers enthusiastic about commercialization to provide a expertise evaluation report, which can function a foundation for an SBIR or STTR funding software.
“On the finish of the day, we’re putting in a system that provides researchers one of the best alternative to make their discoveries commercially obtainable,” Sexton mentioned.