Our core business is to ensure that Erasmus MC’s inventions, from apps to biomarkers, are brought to market and are ultimately made available to patients. It goes without saying that this leads to increased visibility and additional income that we can use for research. Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) are actually a relatively recent development in the Netherlands; we launched them in the late 1990s. But TTOs have now proved invaluable and almost everyone within Erasmus MC knows about us.
Column by Thijs Spigt, Director Technology Transfer Office Erasmus MC
Our TTO team has expanded significantly in recent years, to about twenty people, and we have agreed on clear critical performance indicators. In the past few years we’ve seen rapid growth in all types of care innovations, including a large number of apps. This is a field where it’s difficult to obtain good (patent) protection. This is because it almost always has to be developed with external parties. This is one of the reasons why we’ve further expanded our collaboration with V.O.
I think the best example of this is our initiative of a drop-in consultation at V.O. with Erasmus MC in-house. In this way, we’re really putting V.O. at the forefront of our organisation, meaning they become an extension of our team. It’s actually a relatively simple process. If a scientist walks in wanting to discuss an idea and we get the impression that we don’t have this expertise but V.O. does, we schedule a follow-up meeting during the consultation time with a patent attorney from V.O. You can see it as a high-level intake with V.O., whereby many matters become immediately clear. At an early stage. What else needs to happen? Important: the patent attorney finds the weak spots in the story; an external expert can fill this role effectively.
One fixed day works well, as this means that scientists can drop in here more easily to discuss issues with us and the patent attorney.