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Pulse - Winter 2018 FAQ: Technology Commercialization

What is the role of the Office of Technology Commercialization?

The Office of Technology Commercialization, or OTC, works with Drexel faculty across the University to identify research discoveries with commercial potential ( OTC interfaces with intellectual property counsel to secure patent or copyright protection and works with faculty to develop commercialization strategies for the technology. OTC actively reaches out to established companies, entrepreneurs, and investors to find the best fit and resources to develop technologies and bring them to market. This process promotes relationships with industry, has positive impacts on local economic development, and commercializes technologies for the public good. OTC negotiates license agreements, material transfer agreements, confidentiality agreements, and sponsored research agreements. The income generated by OTC is shared with Drexel inventors and reinvested in Drexel's educational and research programs.

What are the benefits of working with OTC?

OTC helps academic research transition to the marketplace as products and services that advance the public good. Drexel researchers benefit through relationships and funding with corporate partners, access to grants dedicated to commercialization, or building a startup company with entrepreneurs and investors from the ground up. The existence of pending or issued patents can also bolster a federal grant application's scientific and translational merit.

Whom do I contact to discuss my invention, and how do I document my idea?

The licensing manager who works with College of Medicine faculty is Sarah Johnson, PhD. She can be contacted via email at or by phone at 215.571.4291. The office has a standard invention disclosure form for faculty to submit, which includes experimental data, research plan, stage of development, inventors, previous and upcoming public disclosures, and funding sources used.

When should I contact OTC about my invention?

Ideally, researchers should contact OTC before any public disclosure occurs for a project of patentable subject matter with a commercial opportunity. Public disclosure includes journal publications, oral presentations where non-Drexel employees are present, conference abstracts, poster sessions, dissertations, public oral defenses, and online publications, blogs, and videos. Researchers are free to present what they want, when they want, but early disclosure helps the University preserve patent rights and commercialization opportunities.

What internal funding is available to support such projects?

The Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Partnership aims to develop products that will save, extend, and improve the lives of patients suffering from any disease or condition, in any size market, in any country. The program provides funding for projects that serve an unmet medical need with scientific merit and a strong intellectual property position, in addition to a high probability of attracting follow-on funding. Each year, the program funds four to seven projects at a level of $75,000–$200,000 for one year of support. For more information, please contact the Coulter program director, Kathie Jordan, PhD, by email at or by phone at 215.895.1860.

Answers were provided by Sarah A. Johnson, PhD, licensing manager in the Office of Technology Commercial-ization, where she is responsible for managing intellectual property and commercializing inventions from life sciences and the College of Medicine.

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