OHSU, PSU to Cooperate on Technology Commercialization

09/12/02    Portland, Ore.

OHSU, PSU to Cooperate on Technology Commercialization

Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University have agreed to collaborate to commercialize technologies invented by Portland State researchers.

OHSU Technology and Research Collaborations (TRC) will provide expertise and staffing to help PSU evaluate, patent, market and license its inventions. PSU will pay a fee for these "tech transfer" services, and the patents will be assigned to PSU. OHSU has similar agreements with the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Shriners Hospitals for Children-Portland.

"OHSU is becoming a real pipeline for technology," said Todd Sherer, Ph.D., director of OHSU TRC. "Companies seeking technology now have one central point of access for a wide range of discoveries. We're in daily contact with leading researchers in the biomedical sciences, information technology, environmental science, engineering and others. This partnership will further our goal to expand Oregon's technology community beyond our success in bioscience and will help strengthen the state's economy."

"The growth in research at Portland State over the past several years carries with it the obligation and opportunity to transform our research findings into technologies that benefit our regional economy and beyond," said Bill Feyerherm, vice provost for research and graduate studies at PSU. "By utilizing the range of specialized skills available through the OHSU office, we enhance the impact that PSU research has on our community."

OHSU TRC currently is evaluating potential commercial applications for three PSU discoveries. Mingdi Yan, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry at PSU, and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at OHSU, has developed polymeric coatings and methods of using them with semiconductor chips and other applications. Robert O'Brien, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at PSU, has developed a method to concentrate samples for gas chromatography. Jun Jiao, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at PSU, has developed a method for localizing the manufacture of carbon nanotubes, which is important to the ability to use these structures as wires or conductors in semiconductor manufacturing.

"The tech transfer office at OHSU has been excellent to work with. They have the infrastructure, the expertise, and the capacity to evaluate ideas and to determine commercial significance and potential impact," said Yan, who worked with TRC in filing a patent application in August 2001.

OHSU TRC provides an array of business services for researchers. For example, licensing associates in the office help evaluate the commercial potential of an invention, determining if the product is truly original, if there is a market for it, and if there is a partner to which the technology can be transferred.

"The process is arduous, and many researchers prefer to concentrate on their science," said Larry Simonsmeier, J.D., adviser to the Office of the President at OHSU, who worked out the agreement with PSU. "By managing the business aspects, we let researchers do what they do best."

OHSU TRC also applies for U.S. and foreign patents on behalf of inventors and works out the myriad details of licensing agreements, as well as helping with potential spin-off companies. OHSU has a strong record in this area, with 209 patents, 136 licenses and 17 spin-off companies as of last year.

During the past decade, sponsored projects at PSU more than tripled, to a current level approaching $30 million annually. In addition to a strong research base in social sciences and urban/regional issues, PSU has shown strong growth in science and engineering fields. Today PSU is developing new technologies that will have a positive impact on the regional economy in multiple fields. PSU research is particularly driven by its relationships with Oregon industry, government and community partners, which make the research findings even more grounded in practical applications. For more information about research activities at PSU, contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects at 503 725-3423.

For information about technology transfer of discoveries at PSU, OHSU, the Portland VAMC or Shriners Hospitals for Children-Portland, contact OHSU Technology and Research Collaborations, 503 494-8200.

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