OTC to showcase science technology

The event will help researchers target potential investors and licensers.

The University of Minnesota will present many of its developed technologies to the public Thursday in a showcase at the University Enterprise Laboratories facility in St. Paul. The Office of Technology Commercialization will hold the Life Sciences Showcase, which is a first for the OTC and will feature about 12 technologies developed by researchers in the life science field. Presenting at the showcase will be two OTC technology marketing managers: an adviser from the life sciences field and a CEO-in-residence. The showcase, which begins at 7:30 a.m., intends to inform the public not only about startup technologies at the University but also technology it plans to license to larger companies already involved in the industry of life sciences, said Doug Johnson, director of the Venture Center at the OTC. âÄúThere is some level of interest in it on the part of different people, and we just want to accommodate them,âÄù Johnson said. Joe Hofmeister, technology marketing manager at the OTC, who will also be presenting at the showcase, said the showcase is intended to make Minnesota life science companies aware of the technologies the University has developed. Jim Rhodes, technology marketing manager at the OTC, said this is different from the way the OTC formerly presented its technologies. âÄúIn the past, a lot of these introductions were done just for the sake at the different venues, but not targeted to a specific slice of the marketplace,âÄù he said. Although Rhodes expects the event to draw a mix of businesses that are potential licensers, more than half of the confirmed attendees will be venture capitalists looking to invest in the technology in the future. With the hope that some of the technologies being presented have startup capability, having a CEO in residence is crucial, according to Hofmeister. âÄúIt is very fortunate that we have a couple of people able to present on Thursday that could potentially become the CEO of a technology one day,âÄù he said. With venture capitalists making up a large part of the registered audience, the CEO is the most important element in acquiring the financing from these potential investors, according to Johnson. âÄúThe technology has to be useful, valuable, protectable, patentable, but without the right CEO the company wonâÄôt get funded,âÄù Johnson said. Besides the CEO, Johnson said the showcase would allow people to more effectively learn more about both startup and licensable technology, which Johnson said can be extremely complicated, especially in the life sciences field. âÄúThey require some time to understand, both in the terms of the promise of these technologies and also in the risk [of] âĦ failure involved,âÄù he said. Johnson said the showcase will have faculty members on hand to answer questions and to give more background and information. The timing of the showcase comes shortly after the OTC completed one of its largest startup agreements, Miromatrix Inc. âÄî the medical device company by the UniversityâÄôs Dr. Doris Taylor. Hofmeister said the agreement made the OTC more knowledgeable in how to handle the various technologies of the University. âÄúI think we learned a lot from it, and one way is that we have to get the word of opportunities like this out earlier in the process,âÄù he said. Although some of these technologies have been introduced to the public in the past, Hofmeister said all of the companies are early on in the process of being licensed or becoming a startup. Many of the technologies have been formerly introduced, but the timing may not have been ideal to a potential licensee. Representatives from the OTC declined to comment about specific technologies that will be presented at the showcase. âÄúCompanies have said that we are looking into that, but we donâÄôt know anything about it yet,âÄù Hofmeister said. âÄúBut maybe now it is a year later and there has been some published material on it in their field.âÄù Rhodes said this is the inaugural showcase of this kind for the OTC, but he hopes it will not be its last. âÄúWe will want to repeat this,âÄù Rhodes said. âÄúWe are starting with life sciences, but each of our technologies will have its moment, if you will.âÄù