How OHSU’s Research Spins Off into Tech Start-Ups

Marty Patail, Portland Monthly

Dan Dorsa is OHSU senior vice president of research. He explains the MedTech Alliance, which spins off the university’s research into private tech companies.

The MedTech Alliance helps form new start-ups. Why? OHSU has a responsibility to convert discoveries to potential commercialization in the private sector. And it’s an opportunity to bring together investors, entrepreneurs, and students.

How does it work? Our faculty can personally receive roughly a third of revenue if one of their projects goes to licensing or a company is formed. And then another third of that money is reinvested in the research laboratories or faculty to expand their activities.

How do you know which technologies can be commercialized? They’re all different. But it has to be at a stage where the idea has been tested and there has been enough proof-of-concept research to show that it works in an animal model, or some form of comparative testing. And obviously, getting a patent is a key piece of it.

What problems do you have? In the bioscience area, the local capital is not as large as it needs to be. We’d like to see people more engaged in the the venture capital community and for more major companies outside Oregon to come here. We need capital from outside the state to be interested in what we are doing, from the Bay Area and Boston and other areas.

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