Friday, January 23, 2009

Moving breakthroughs beyond the bench

The MGH is a hub of scientific research and discovery, but translating these breakthroughs into commercial applications can be a challenging and sometimes confusing process. In an effort to guide MGH investigators interested in pursuing this path, the MGH Office of Research and Licensing, in collaboration with the MGH Office of Research Career Development, has created the Invention Liaison Program (ILP). The ILP assists MGH investigators in evaluating their discoveries, protecting their intellectual property, commercializing their work, understanding general issues of technology transfer and working with industry.

At the core of the ILP are two groups of liaisons-- program and advisory -- who each play an integral role in helping MGH researchers. Program liaisons concentrate on working one-on-one with investigators in a specific area Ð devices, imaging, biomaterials, biology or medicine-- that best matches that liaison's background and expertise. A larger group of advisory liaisons is also available to any MGH researcher by request to help provide guidance on specific issues. All liaisons are MGH faculty members experienced in various aspects of intellectual property protection and technology transfer and commercialization.

Mark Poznansky, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the MGH Infectious Disease Unit, is one of the four program liaisons along with Melissa Thomas, MD, PhD, of the Department of Endocrinology; Brett Bouma, PhD, of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine; and Orhun Muratoglu, PhD, of the Orthopaedic Biomechanics and Biomaterials Laboratory. Poznansky brings a wealth of personal experience to the role-- he has been involved in multiple biotechnology startup companies, helping organize licensing deals and develop intellectual property-- and encourages his fellow scientists to utilize the resources available through the ILP. "The ILP is incredibly valuable," he says. "This type of program didn't exist when I began at the MGH, and as I went through the process of commercializing my work I remember thinking, 'other faculty here must already know how to do this.' Now, through the ILP, there is a structure that allows MGH scientists to tap into that knowledge base and network of contacts in the field."

Learn more about the ILP

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