Each year, as part of the University of Chicago’s strategy for successfully bringing innovation to the marketplace, several members from UChicagoTech, the University’s Center for Technology Development and Ventures, head to the BIO International Convention to meet with industry representatives.
“Partnering meetings made possible by BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ system give us a chance to make connections, promote institutional capabilities, and pitch many opportunities at once,” said Thelma Tennant, Assistant Director at UChicagoTech.
Tennant and several other UChicagoTech staff members spent much of their time at BIO 2015 working to develop or grow relationships with pharmaceutical and biotech companies, many of which were interested in areas of research that are particularly strong at the University, such as clinical trials and immune-oncology. UChicagoTech was one of the top five performers in BIO’s One-on-One Partnering® service in 2015, participating in 58 meetings and connecting with 81 companies.
Those meetings ended up yielding 72 follow-up interactions, including several that resulted in meetings with faculty and investment opportunities for startup companies that spun out of the University. Specifically, partnering meetings resulted in discussions with a research partner that culminated in a license and several trips to campus by companies to meet with specific faculty members to discuss potential collaboration. The interactions also helped UChicagoTech build relationships so that they could put targeted technology information in front of those contacts.
UChicagoTech’s success as part of BIO’s partnering service was in part due to increased strategic planning by the organization, which included preparing more decks and briefs and making sure that information and materials were available online.
“Our number of follow-up interactions has nearly doubled since 2013, and that is a direct result of being very intentional with our approach,” Tennant said. “We are having conversations that are more relevant to parties, and are better preparing our team, ensuring that we’re pairing the right team members with the right companies.”
Heather Walsh, Assistant Director at UChicagoTech, Tennant, and other members of the team are working now to prepare for BIO 2016. Walsh said the team plans to continue building relationships and to leverage those relationships to drive transactions, and that the team is working to streamline their approach to pitching technologies.
“We are preparing materials that allow for multiple levels of diligence based on interest, and we will spotlight high-priority projects to illustrate the technologies we have available for licensing,” Walsh said. “We are planning to continue to have many fruitful partnering meetings and follow-ups at this year’s meeting.”