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Prium Brussels 0809 Vub Site Visit Loosvelt


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From fundamental research to structured technology transfer – the VUB model, by Dr Hugo Loosvelt

From fundamental research to structured technology transfer – the VUB model, by Dr Hugo Loosvelt

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  • 1. From fundamental research to structured technology transfer – the VUB model Dr Hugo Loosvelt R&D Department, Technology Transfer Interface
  • 2. Regulatory background and institutional background Belgium: a federal country Flemish, French communities have legal competency over subsidised education Flemish region Walloon region Brussels capital region Flemish community French community German speaking community VUB
  • 3. Regulatory background and institutional background ‘ Flemish’ Universities: subsidised by Flemish community
    • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven – Leuven: ~30000 st
    • Universiteit Gent – Ghent: ~28000 st
    • Universiteit Antwerpen – Antwerp: ~10000st
    • Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Brussels: ~9500 st
    • Universiteit Hasselt – Hasselt:
    Each university forms an association with 1 or more colleges (Bologna harmonization of higher education landscape) 30 Colleges in Flanders: (‘hogescholen’, similar to ‘fachhochschule’)
  • 4. Regulatory background and institutional background Regulatory background:
    • US: Bayl-Dole Act of 1980 requires US universities to put into use (‘obligation’) the intellectual property rights (‘gift’) generated from their federally funded research
    • no equivalent in Belgium / Flanders until 1998: IP rights belong to the inventors
    • 1998: University decree, art 169 ter:
    “ De vermogensrechten op vindingen die, in het kader van hun onderzoekstaken, gedaan worden door personeelsleden van de universiteit … komen uitsluitend toe aan de universiteit …”
  • 5. R&D in Flanders and @ VUB
    • Technology life cycle
    Program driven Project driven Embryonic Potential growth Growth Mature Aging Industrial Product Generic technology Joint research Proprietary Funding, economic impact, visibility, … Risky, fundamental research strategic research, consortia Bilateral, industrial, application driven
  • 6. R&D in Flanders and @ VUB
    • Funding matrix in Flanders
  • 7. R&D in Flanders and @ VUB
    • Strategic research organisation Flanders
    • IMEC
      • To perform R&D, ahead of industrial needs by 3 to 10 years, in microelectronics, nanotechnology, design methods and technologies for ICT systems
    • VIB
      • Research institute, study of the functioning of the human body, plants and micro-organisms
    • IBBT
      • Research institute, ICT and broadband applications
    • VITO
      • Technological research, energy, environment, material research, earth observation
  • 8. Camel antibodies: case study @ VUB Practical laboratory session…examine antibodies…in blood samples from camels (crazy idea…) 1991: wild west of biotechnology … introduction to Prof Hamers group: diversity of subjects, creating new talent -> excellent setting for discoveries V H V L C L C H 1 C H 3 C H 2 V HH C H 3 C H 2 Conventional Antibody Heavy and light chains Both chains required for antigen binding and stability Heavy-Chain Antibody Only heavy chains Full antigen binding capacity and highly stable What they found: antibodies devoid of light chains
  • 9. Camel antibodies: case study @ VUB - spotting the possibilities of the camel antibodies! - laboratory: constant shortage of cash - not yet an era where publication pressure was so high… Luckily in this order !! Visionary at a time where the dominant feeling among professors was a reluctance or even a fundamental objection against valorisation of research results * ‘Hamers1’ patent was filed (Hamers, Casterman) Immunoglobulins devoid of light chains (priority date 21/8/1992) * Publication in Nature. 1993 Jun 3;363(6428):446-8
  • 10. Camel antibodies: case study @ VUB Expanding patent portfolio: patent costs soon became considerable: inventors turned to the VUB Agreement on transfer of the patent to the VUB (1995) and distrubution of possible income from the patents Starting negociations without confidentiality agreement with Unilever BUT: Unexperienced university in valorisation of research results (no technology transfer cell) Unexperienced researchers No framework/ ruling regarding IPR Actions/ results: -> Licence-agreement VUB with UNILEVER (1997) on ‘Non-healthcare’ applications -> Unilever starts filing patents around nanobody technology
  • 11. Camel antibodies: case study @ VUB Start Vlaams Interuniversiteit instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB) Advantages Dangers - light weight central administration dedicated to specific R&D theme - R&D done in university lab -> recruiting new talent - best from each R&D domain are involved - bridging gap between different monodisciplinery research domains - balanced/mixed leadership between industry and university - coherence of action - high performance - rules for new entries, exits of research groups - delicate balance between internal competition and collaboration - fragmentation of IP portfolio between universities and institute
  • 12. Camel antibodies: case study @ VUB * Lab of Raymond Hamers becomes VIB department * Agreement VUB-VIB: -valorisation strategy is carried out in partnership -VIB takes lead -Distribution of income
  • 13. Camel antibodies: case study @ VUB * Licence to Ablynx: diagnostics & therapeutics * 5 mio € capital * External CEO + 4 researchers VIB/VUB * Start of several government funded research projects with VIB/ VUB department * Ablynx becomes a biopharmaceutical company that further developes the NANOBODY ® technology Creation of AblynX
  • 14. Camel antibodies: case study @ VUB
    • > 160 employees
    • Successful IPO on Euronext Brussels, nov 7 th 2007
    • Extensive IP portfolio: > 200 patent applications and patents in > 50 patent families worldwide
    • Active protection of knowhow and trade secrets
    AblynX currently:
  • 15. Camel antibodies: case study @ VUB
    • Learning curve has lead to:
    • - valorization policy
    • - regulation comprising IP management and income distribution
    • - technology transfer cell: professionalization
  • 16. R&D in Flanders and @ VUB
    • Fundamental research: VUB management perspective
    • No thematic steering – initiative of individuals and research groups
    • Internal quality control based on peers and correlated with bibliometry
    • Depth of the project reviewing process depending on the level of research:
    • - seed level: quality of proposal; starters investment
    • - incubation level: matching of externally acquired funds
    • - excellence level: external peer review
  • 17. R&D in Flanders and @ VUB
    • Research @VUB: Focus on excellency
      • -> VUB was in 2006 worldwide the fastest growing university
      • (Times ranking)
      • -> VUB research management praised in an international audit
      • -> 10% increase of research funding in 2006
      • -> 2 years in a row the most succesfull university in obtaining IWT funding
      • -> number of scientic publications increased in 2006 with 11%
      • -> concentration of IOF-funding in ‘Zwaartepunten’ en ‘Groeiers’
      • -> strong presence in European FP
      • * 58 projects in 5 FP (10 mio Euro)
      • * 64 projects in 6 FP (10 NoE, 20 IP)
      • * Co-ordinator in two top projects: Diabetes and Photonics
  • 18. R&D in Flanders and @ VUB
    • Excellence centers
    Diabetes Photonics Sociology Biotechnology Multimedia Political sciences Reproductive medicine Robotics History Cancer Electrochemistry Multilingualism Cardiology Food technology Informatics System engineering
  • 19. Technology transfer
    • Every university (and SRO) has a technology/knowledge transfer office (TTO)
    • Mission:
      • encourage technology development
      • transfer of intellectual property to society , mainly industry
      • reinvest the benefits in research & development
  • 20. Technology transfer
    • - university policy & regulation
    • - support researchers in finding funding
    • - management of contract research
    • IP management &
      • work out commercialisation strategies
    • stimulation of entrepreneurship
    • management of incubation fund
    • research parks & incubators
    • industrial networks
    Structure and tasks of TTO: multidisciplinary
  • 21. Technology transfer
      • Flemish government (minister economy and scientific policy) supports ‘interface’ function in universities
      • IOF funding: allocation in function of ‘output’
        • * Ph D’s
        • * publications & citations
        • * external funding for industrial research
        • * Participation in EU FP
        • * Patents
        • * Spin-off companies
        • * Scientific staff
  • 22. Technology transfer
    • VUB model: ruling
    • - IPR on R&D results belong to VUB
    • - obligation to disclose prior to publication / VUB decides wether or not to start valorisation dossier / publication might be postponed -> disclosure form
    • - valorisation: 2 routes primary: VUB funded (patent fund), VUB leads secundary route: IP rights back to researchers, valorisation at own cost
    • - researchers obliged to collaborate OR primary route stopped
    • - income from valorisation belongs to VUB
    • - distribution netto income: 1/3 to patent fund; 2/3 to research group (researchers can apply for a personnel fee, max 1/3 of netto income)
  • 23. Technology transfer
    • Patent portfolio
    • > 50 patent families (application) VUB
    • > 20 patent families (application) with IMEC
    • (Interuniversity institute for Micro-electronics)
    • > 10 patent families (application) with VIB
    • (Flemish Interuniversity institute Biotechnology)
    • Several patent families (application) with
    • other research institutions and industry
    • More information on technology offers:
    • or contact [email_address]
  • 24. Technology transfer
    • Patent per VTE: VUB ranks third in Flanders
  • 25. Technology transfer
    • Spin-offs: seed capital fund BI3
    • Imagination- Incubation- Innovation
    Aim: Provide seed capital for VUB spin-off companies Partners: Fortis Private Equity, KBC Private Equity, Ethias Leven, GIMB, VUB Value: 6 mio Euro (extendable to 12 mio Euro) Obtained in 2006 VINNOF recognition Participations: Elsyca, BruCells, Symbion, Eggcentris, ..
  • 26. Technology transfer
    • Incubators
    Brussels : ICAB Incubator Arsenaal Brussel Near campus Etterbeek Operational in 2008 Flanders : IICB Innovation & Incubation center Zellik Near campus Jette
  • 27. Technology transfer
    • VUB spin-offs
  • 28. Technology transfer
    • Spin-offs per VTE: VUB ranks first in Flanders
  • 29. Technology transfer
    • Research @VUB: partner for industry
    * Medium to long term research projects * Contract research * Consultancy and testing facilities * Training & industrial residents Contact the technology transfer interface [email_address]
  • 30. Technology transfer
    • Example of industry – university collaboration
    Software cell: * Research needs : inventarisation of demand from industry (top down) * Research offers : inventarisation of ICT research at the VUB (bottom up) * Formulation of a strategic research project (submitted at IWOIB-Impuls program) * Future: applied R&D projects for industrial partners, based on results of the strategic research
  • 31. Technology transfer
    • Technological entrepreneurship: educational program
    Introduce technological entrepreneurship in the Masters Engineer <-> Business engineer Courses Business administration <-> Technology Entrepreneurship <-> Entrepreneurship for Bus.engineers Writing of a business plan Start up of a student business via ETC (Entrepreneurial Talent Corporation) Partners PMV, Yakult, Ethias, WTCM, IBM, Fundus, Bank De Groof, Solvay, Bekaert, Tyco Electronics Raychem,...
  • 32. Technology transfer
    • Crosstalks: industry – university network
    • Creating an exchange dynamics
    • Encouraging cross-talking and stimulating innovation
    • Through different formats
    • And international publications
    • Conferences, science & industry lunches, workshops...
    • Windows by Day, Linux by Night: open source paradigma
    • The Future of Technology
    • The Future of our Digital Commons
    • Early Warning Signals
    • Grenzen van de Geneeskunst
    • Early Warning Information Systems
    • The Future of Medication in a Patient-Centered Health Care
    • .........
  • 33. Technology transfer
    • For more information contact the technology transfer interface:
    • [email_address]
    • Thank you for your attention!