For research scientists whose technical innovations have the potential to improve patient care, OHSU created the Biomedical Innovation Program. For four years now, BIP has been providing expertise and resources to steward innovations from the laboratory to clinical application through the process of commercialization. The program is a joint effort between Technology Transfer and Business Development and the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute.
To mark this occasion, the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute sat down with Dr. John Muschler, recipient of BIP funding in 2015.
Dr. Muschler has been researching novel approaches to detect and treat diseases of the bladder since he joined OHSU in 2011. There are few treatment options for these diseases, and those therapies are ineffective and costly. Dr. Muschler’s laboratory has developed a technology platform that effectively targets early stage tumor cells in the bladder, making possible early detection and treatment.
As a 2015 BIP grant awardee, Dr. Muschler received funding and development, innovation education, project management support, and mentorship. His technology is now much closer to the marketplace.
OCTRI: As a BIP alumnus, who do you see benefiting from the program?
JM: For anyone with an invention that has commercial potential, the BIP program is an excellent mechanism to move it forward and test the waters. There are many benefits. Learning to think like an inventor or an entrepreneur is a valuable education in itself. And the BIP program can connect you to many creative, helpful, and insightful people.
OCTRI: Tell us how your research led you to the BIP.
JM: A research discovery of ours suggested a new method of targeted drug delivery. We filed an invention disclosure with OHSU Technology Transfer & Business Development, and were then looking for ways to quickly continue the work and develop its commercial potential. A colleague suggested OCTRI and the BIP as a source of early stage funding.
OCTRI: How was your experience with the BIP different from that with other funding sources?
JM: First, in preparing our submission for the BIP grant, we were required to provide information that you don’t see in standard grant proposals. These included a market overview for the proposed product and an outline of the path to commercialization. Also, reviewers of the BIP proposals provided commercialization experience that was helpful in guiding the project. Lastly, and most importantly, the BIP continued to support the team after the award was funded. Throughout the course of the grant, the BIP provided support for the project through connections to people with experience in the various steps of commercialization.
OCTRI: How has participating in the BIP helped move your technology forward?
JM: Obviously, the early stage funding has been crucial to keeping the project alive and to advancing the research. By helping me learn the paths to commercialization, the BIP is also helping to plan ahead and efficiently prepare for the next steps in the commercialization without wasting valuable time.
OCTRI: Can you talk about what you have learned from participating in the program?
JM: The BIP has helped me learn the path from research discovery to product commercialization. Through the BIP, with guidance from program staff and interactions with entrepreneurs, I have begun to step out of the “research scientist” mindset and become more comfortable thinking like an inventor and entrepreneur. A product that makes it to market offers many rewards; there’s a lot to gain with little to lose.
The BIP is a partnership between the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute and OHSU’s Office of Technology Transfer & Business Development. Visit the OCTRI funding page for information on the BIP and other opportunities. For more information on OCTRI resources for investigators and research staff, contact the OCTRI Research Navigator.