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Biocat and CRG, at Imperial College Business School in London

Partners in the European ETTBio project met in the English capital to begin sharing experiences and become more effective in transforming biotechnology research into successful companies.

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By Biocat

The ten partners in the European ETTBio project (Effective Technology Transfer in Biotechnology), including Biocat and the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) from Catalonia, met on 13 and 14 December at the Imperial College Business School in London to identify the strengths and weaknesses in technology transfer of the participating bioregions (Catalonia, Flanders, London, Moravia-Silesia, Saxony, southern Estonia and Warsaw).

Over the two years of the ETTBio project, one of the priorities of the EU Innovation and Knowledge Economy program with a budget of more than €2 millions, participants will share best practices in technology transfer from each region in order to “take advantage of the commercial potential of biotechnology research,” according to professor Mike Wright, head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Imperial College. Professor Wright clearly said “there are great possibilities as long as universities, technology transfer offices (TTO) and academic entrepreneurs recognize and tackle challenges beyond the start-up phase.”

And the three best practices “that cover weaknesses in our system, like for example funding, will be brought back to Catalonia and implemented,” explained Carlos Lurigados, Biocat project director. “We have a strong partner in this sense, where knowledge-transfer culture is more integrated and which has better access to funding, in Imperial College Business School of London,” remarked Lurigados. In fact, the United Kingdom is about to approve a regulatory framework that reinforces technology transfer “and will incorporate indicators from this area into research assessment.”

Imperial Innovations Group, from TTO to venture capital

During their stay, the partners in the ETTBio project visited the Imperial College incubator with director Graham Hewson. They also had the chance to get a first-hand look at the Imperial Innovations Group, created in 1986 as the TTO of Imperial College and traded on the London stock exchange since 2006. Since then, they have raised £200 millions to invest and grow business in the healthcare arena based on innovative academic research of excellence. Imperial Innovations not only invests in intellectual property from Imperial College, but also invests in that from the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and University College London (UCL).

This was the second visit of ETTBio members to benchmark European regions in technology transfer. The first was to the University of Vrije  —one of the partners of the project— in Brussels on 11 and 12 October 2012.


Imperial College London is one of the most prestigious universities in the world in science - Photo: Christian Richters.