Obama urges translation speed

Late last October, President Barack Obama directed all federal R&D agencies and departments to expedite and streamline their technology transfer efforts, urging them to form public-private research partnerships, issue small business R&D grants, and establish collaborations with university startups. The directive also gives agencies more flexibility to partner with industry and directs them to develop a five-year strategic plan to include the tracking of patents generated in federal laboratories. As part of this effort, the administration will soon expand an electronic portal called BusinessUSA (http://business.usa.gov/) to furnish information on pertinent federal services along with guidance for companies contemplating exporting goods and services. Although federal agencies such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) are pretty adept at managing technology transfer programs, others could make improvements that, in turn, could benefit biotech companies, particularly smaller ones, says Lila Feisee, vice president for global intellectual property policy at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington, DC. For example, tech transfer policies under the auspices of the National Laboratories, which are dispersed at several sites around the country, are not very uniform, sometimes complicating efforts for companies seeking to forge alliances, she says. This new effort towards uniformity is “not a bad thing” says Feisee. “How they go about streamlining is something we will have to watch.” In a related development, the NIH issued an electronic catalog of research materials available for companies to license.

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Fox, J. Obama urges translation speed. Nat Biotechnol 30, 9 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0112-9b

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