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Biotechnology-Academic Sponsored Research Engagement Opportunities

Biotechnology-Academic Sponsored Research Engagement Opportunities: Eight Guiding Principles and Best Practices

Edited by Peter M. Pellerito & Austin M. Donohue

When biotechnology companies and universities work in tandem to push the frontiers of biotechnology based knowledge, they become a powerful engine] for innovation and economic growth. 

Universities and industry have been collaborating in biotechnology based research activities for over a century, but the rise of a global knowledge economy, and fundamental changes in the marketplace regarding the manner in which industry acquires and develops innovations, has intensified the need for strategic partnerships that move beyond the traditional funding of discrete research projects.

This success also requires academic research centers and the biotechnology industry to engage far beyond the conventional exchange of research for funding thrown over the wall. When both entities work well, strategic partnerships merge the discovery-driven culture of the university with the innovation-driven environment of the biotechnology company. But to make the chemistry work, each side must overcome the cultural and communication divide that can impair biotech industry-university partnerships and undercut their potential.

On the academic side, in addition to maintaining the spirit of research pursuits for the common good, there is also a growing trend in support of the commercialization of discoveries from basic research into medical products for the marketplace, a transformation facilitated by groundbreaking legislation in the U.S. beginning with the Bayh-Dole Act.

For industry’s part, sponsored research with academic partners broadens the search for innovative R&D approaches and scientific knowledge in order to expand industry’s capacity to address complex, unmet medical needs.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s Technology Transfer Committee has been reviewing the fundamental needs of both parties involved in sponsored research efforts, and has identified eight guiding principles that can be valuable to universities and industry in pursuing sustained sponsored and translational research collaborations.

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