By Ted Nesi
PBN Web Editor
Could Brown University invent the next Gatorade?
The electrolyte-boosting sports drink was created in 1965 by researchers at the University of Florida searching for a way to energize the school’s football team. The university went on to receive $150 million in royalties after the blockbuster beverage was released commercially.
Although Gatorade remains the best-known university commercialization success story, schools across the country have tried to move inventions from the lab to the marketplace, particularly since the federal Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 gave them title to innovations created in their facilities.
Brown is now stepping up its own efforts to become a leader in the world of technology transfer.
“Certainly if we create a Gatorade, that’s fabulous,” laughed Clyde Briant, Brown’s vice president for research. He has high hopes for the university’s new Technology Ventures Office (formerly known as Brown Technology Partnerships).
Briant has hired Katherine Gordon, a veteran of Harvard’s tech-transfer department, as the new office’s managing director. She is tasked with reinvigorating the office by reaching out to Brown researchers and building relationships with investors, companies and other organizations.
“[Brown] is a really interesting university,” said Gordon, who received her Ph.D. in science from Wesleyan University and went on to found a life sciences company she sold in 2001. “There’s a lot of under-tapped potential to expand the scope of what our office is doing.”
Briant said he does not want the Technology Ventures Office to focus solely on generating license revenue for Brown. Rather, he wants Gordon and her staff of four to help faculty members understand the commercialization process, including the ins and outs of patenting a discovery, and to serve as an ambassador to the private sector and other nonprofits that conduct research.