The ivory tower academy has had to learn the language of business economics.[1]

17.1 As noted in Chapter 11, most upstream human health related biotechnology research conducted in Australia is funded by the Australian Government and occurs in universities, other research institutions, health departments and government agencies (together referred to as ‘research organisations’). This chapter considers the transfer of upstream research to the biotechnology sector for commercial development. It focuses on the interface between research organisations and the biotechnology industry. As transfer most often occurs between universities or other research institutions and industry, the chapter will particularly focus on intellectual property management within these organisations.

17.2 This chapter addresses some of the potential impediments to transfer for commercialisation. These include lack of commercial experience or institutional support, researcher attitudes, difficulty in finding industry receptors and lack of resources. Variability in transfer practices and lack of clear ownership of patented technology may also hamper effective transfer for commercialisation. A variety of options for addressing these issues are examined. This chapter also considers transfers that are not specifically aimed at commercialisation and briefly discusses issues surrounding materials transfer agreements (MTAs).

[1] D Nicol and J Nielsen, Patents and Medical Biotechnology: An Empirical Analysis of Issues Facing the Australian Industry (2003) Centre for Law and Genetics Occasional Paper No 6, 50.