Dallas -- August 4, 1998 -- As part of an effort to bring biotechnology companies to Dallas and to take more biomedical discoveries from the research lab to patient care, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has inaugurated the Office for Technology Development.
Dr. Dennis Stone, who was named vice president for technology development, said the need for expanding the former Office of Technology Transfer became evident as the quantity and quality of research by UT Southwestern scientists outpaced available staff.
"We plan to add several new people to the staff, which will be anchored by the people currently in technology transfer," Stone said. "But more importantly, we will be more proactive in dealing with investigators, the pharmaceutical industry and outside investors to place our technologies in situations more rewarding for all. More specifically, we will be working to develop biotech industry here in Dallas in parallel with the goals set forth in the Dallas Plan."
The Dallas Plan proposes to locate biotechnology companies along Harry Hines Boulevard near UT Southwestern. These firms would develop new medical treatments made possible through molecular biology and genetic research.
"The quality of research on campus, judging just by our total National Institutes of Health grants ($82.7 million), indicates we should probably be able to justify the creation of half a dozen biotech firms," Stone said.
The responsibilities of the core staff of technology transfer is to oversee the details of licensing agreements, making certain they comply with the rules and regulations of the UT System Board of Regents and the laws of the state of Texas. They also generate contracts, begin the patent process and initiate deals with pharmaceutical companies.
The current workload of the staff precluded being available to work proactively with investigators on such things as marketing a project and packaging related technologies to increase their values, said Stone, a professor of internal medicine, physiology and biochemistry and holder of the NCH Corporation Chair in Molecular Transport.
UT Southwestern took another step toward biotechnology development recently by launching the on-campus Center for Biomedical Inventions, which will help take research from the idea stage to commercialization before it is licensed to outside companies.
"These moves are vital steps to ensure that the research being done at UT Southwestern realizes its full potential and is used to develop better ways of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease," said Dr. William Neaves, executive vice president for academic affairs and holder of the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Chair.
Stone said, "This (new office) will open the way toward developing a biotechnology industry in Dallas. It is something that can interplay dynamically with the university; it is not a one-way street. The university can supply new technologies, and industry is capable of advancing those discoveries in ways investigators cannot accomplish in their own laboratories.
"It is extremely labor intensive to start such a company. That's why I'm particularly excited by the Dallas Plan and the efforts of Robert Hoffman, vice chairman of its board of directors, to establish core financing for this type of industry in Dallas."
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