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Accelerating Innovation: How to Increase Speed and Reduce Risk for Technology Transfer

Posted by Drake Goolsby and Andrew Rosato, Battelle Business Development on Mar 24, 2021

What do copy machines, bar codes, CD-ROMs and dual-channel fiber optics cables all have in common? They can all trace their roots back to Battelle. We’ve been in the innovation and technology transfer game for more than 90 years. Over that time, we’ve generated more than 2,500 patents (and counting!) and helped numerous companies turn scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs into products that transform entire industries.

We’re still at it today. As a not-for-profit entity operating in both government and commercial spaces, we are uniquely positioned to help companies speed up development, reduce time-to-market and de-risk the technology transfer process. We work with companies through licensing, technology transfer or joint development to bring innovation out of the lab and into the world—as smoothly and safely as possible.

Bringing Government Innovation to the Commercial Market

Battelle occupies a unique position in the research and development (R&D) space.

  • We are not an academic institution, though we are proud to employ more than 1,000 researchers and engineers with advanced degrees along with thousands of world-class technicians spanning nearly every field of research and technology development.
  • We are not a government agency, though we manage many of the National Labs and oversee large research programs for both military and civilian agencies.
  • We are not a for-profit business, so we do not bring innovations to market ourselves and never compete with our clients.

Our position as a large, not-for-profit research institution and government contractor gives us unusual insight into the new discoveries and emerging technologies that will transform the world tomorrow. We have access to resources and expertise far beyond the scope of most start-ups, tech incubators or academic institutions.

We occupy a “middle ground” in between early-stage academic research and commercialization. Our focus is on technology maturation. We leverage the technical expertise and knowledge we gain in the government sector to help companies find commercial applications for new technologies and scientific advances. In keeping with our not-for-profit mission and charter, we also reinvest our earnings to further the development of promising technologies with the potential to benefit humankind.

Over the years, that’s translated to a lot of innovation. Our innovators generate around 120 patents each year. We’ve translated drone technologies to the automotive industries and NASA advances to the telecommunications industry.

Battelle Heat Coating Technology _Infographic4


Passing the Baton: Our Approach to Technology Transfer

There is a lot more to technology transfer than simply turning over the files and intellectual property (IP). Some companies merely “throw technology over the fence”: selling the IP and leaving the purchasing company to figure out the rest. This leaves all of the risk in the hands of the IP buyer. What if the technology can’t be scaled for commercialization? What if they don’t have the right skill sets in-house to complete development? What if the economics simply don’t work?

At Battelle, we take a different approach. We work with companies to develop a technology transfer approach that minimizes risk and smooths the pathway to market. We can work with companies in three ways:

  • Divestiture
  • Licensing
  • Joint development

Over the years, we have found that a joint development approach works best for many of our client companies. This allows the purchasing company to continue to take advantage of our expertise as we work together to customize the technology for a specific commercial application, build it out to scale and prepare for its introduction to the market. We have worked with small start-ups, Fortune 100 companies, and everyone in between.

Here are a few of our current projects and past successes.

  • We are working with Microsoft, IBM and other industry leaders on the Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototype (RAMP) using Advanced Commercial Capabilities Project, which will develop solutions for a secure microelectronics supply chain.
  • Our work on a bi-directional brain-computer interface (BCI) for the DARPA Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program will generate transformative bioremediation technologies for the private sector.

A Faster (and Safer) Road to Commercialization

Our approach to technology transfer does two important things for our client companies.

  • It accelerates time-to-market by leveraging IP we have already partially developed and applying it to new commercial applications.
  • It de-risks the technology transfer process by ensuring that our commercialization partners have access to the expertise they need to maximize the chances of success.

We have a vested interest in the success of our commercialization partners; our reputation rests on our track record of helping companies bring new technologies to market quickly and safely. We have built that reputation over the course of almost a century of transformative R&D work. And we’re not slowing down now. We are continuing to develop new IP through our internal R&D and government contract work. Many of tomorrow’s transformative commercial technologies are already incubating right here at Battelle.

Companies interested in partnering with Battelle for joint IP development, or purchasing or licensing existing IP, can contact us at solutions@battelle.org.

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