Working with Industry

MCW is interested in fostering the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among MCW faculty and engaging the broader business community. Although industry has long funded academic laboratories, typically, the two entities have stayed at arm’s length, perhaps due to their disparate goals – profits for the former and the pursuit of knowledge for the latter.  Today more than in times past, however, there is a shift in this paradigm, with companies looking to ensure that relationships further the goal of research validation and exploitation and academia being more receptive to opening its doors to diversify funding sources and gain access to new technology.  This willingness has resulted in the forging of a new kind of industry-academia alliances that connect researchers from both sides of the fence where the research projects are often jointly designed, executed, published, and patented.  The bottom line – to accelerate the translation of basic research to targets and ultimately into products for the better medicines, devices and methods.

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  What are some general guidelines about working with industry?

The OTD recognizes the importance of reaching out to the local investment community.  In this regard, President Raymond and the OTD have hosted a series of introductory meetings with several venture capitalists (VCs) and representatives of angel and venture capital organizations (VCOs). Each expressed interest in obtaining greater access to and providing supporting information about discoveries and technologies and the companies formed around these discoveries/technologies, for identifying investment opportunities.  VCs to explore mutual interests, share information about values and processes, and develop a plan for engaging the VC community to achieve individual and common goals.

In keeping with these trends, MCW and the OTD have developed practices which will facilitate the building of an entrepreneurial ecosystem where such interactions encompass diverse industries and investment groups, build mutual respect and trust and foster efficient communication.  Our practices aim to facilitate meaningful relationships which result in mutual benefits as outlined below:

To our Industry and Investment Partners:

  • Access to new technologies and know-how that can form the basis for new products and/or companies
  • Access to MCW scientists and clinicians who can lend their technical and medical expertise and product-market due-diligence
  • Potentially stimulate co- or follow-on investments

To MCW by helping the OTD achieve its mission:

  • by assessing new technologies for their commercial potential
  • providing service to MCW faculty, postdoctoral fellows, students and staff

To help MCW accomplish its mission:

  • Faculty retention and recruitment
  • Community Engagement
  • Research Funding
  • Employment opportunities for our postdoctoral fellows and graduate students

To help both parties in terms of

  • Financial returns
  • Regional Economic Development
  I have been approached by a company that wants me to do research. What should I do?

MCW’s Office of Grants and Contracts manages Sponsored Research Agreements (SRAs) for MCW investigators and has the appropriate templates for such contracts.  The interested company may have their own SRA template which would need to be reviewed by the GCO.  Please contact the GCO. Particular care needs to be taken if MCW intends to or has filed for intellectual property protection of any matter to be included in the SRA: the GCO  works with the OTD to review those sections in MTAs which pertain to IP rights.

  I have been approached by a company to be a consultant. What should I do?

Although there is no central office which handles consulting agreements, for those that pertain to matters on which MCW intends to or has filed for intellectual property protection, please contact the OTD.  We are happy to provide an overview on best practices and refer you to resources available from other offices within MCW to assist you.

  What is a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)?

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract that governs the transfer of tangible research materials between two organizations, when the recipient intends to use it for his or her own research purposes. The MTA defines the rights of the provider and the recipient with respect to the materials and any derivatives.  Biological materials, such as reagents, cell lines, plasmids and vectors, are the most frequently transferred materials, but MTAs may also be used for other types of materials, such as chemical compounds and even some types of software.  Three types of MTAs are most common at academic institutions: transfer between academic or research institutions, transfer from academia to industry, and transfer from industry to academia. Each call for different terms and conditions.

  What MTA should I use and where do I submit it?

The MCW Office of Grants and Contracts (GCO) manages MTAs for MCW investigators and has the appropriate templates for exchange of materials.  Whether for incoming or outgoing materials, often the external Party may have their own MTA form which would need to be reviewed by the GCO.  Particular care needs to be taken if MCW intends to or has filed for intellectual property protection of the material to be exchanged: the OTD reviews those sections in MTAs which pertain to IP rights.  Please contact the GCO if you have any questions.