Life science entrepreneurship and commercialization is about much more than creating and exploiting the elements of intellectual property- patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.
There are several additional ways to work with industry and other partners in biomedicine. While licensing and spin outs seem to grab most of the headlines and get most of the attention from technology transfer and licensing managers and the investment community, biomedical entrepreneurs, whether they are academics or community-bsed, consult with industry, participate in research and development collaborations, design and contribute to clinical trials, and engage in knowledge transfer or knowledge exchange programs with industry.
Knowledge exchange programs create a platform where academics and industry scientists can work with each other. The three pillars of knowledge exchange are dissemination (pushing out information from the research base), research use (identifying a clinical problem, market need, or supplement a technological capability in the company) and knowledge brokering.
For example, at Kings College London, graduate life science students can elect to spend time with local bioscience companies, including such companies as Glaxo Smith Kline, Astrazeneca, and others, under the supervision of a company research and development expert and a faculty mentor. In addition, Kings faculty can spend a sabbatical working on a targeted problem in industry, while their counterpart in industry spends time at the the College.
Knowledge exchange programs, particularly for those with an academic basic or clinical research background, are a great way to build your networks , experience and knowledge base. To that end, the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs is organizing several bioentrepreneurship fellowships for those who want a better understanding of how devices and drugs are developed and get to market. This six month experience, sponsored by drug and device companies , will last for six months and costs will be shared by the company and the fellow. They are designed to provide the fellow with a wide breadth of experience in product design and management, regulatory affairs, sales and marketing, finance and all the other elements that result in biomedical innovation.
Innovation erupts when disciplines intermix. Knowledge transfer programs, whether internal or external, are a useful way for people to get a different view and get their creative juices flowing.