Fellows Present Findings in Inaugural Innovation to Commercialization Fellowship

Eight Graduate Students Gain Insight into Commercialization Process

I2C fellow Frank Stabile presents his work with McCormick faculty members.Eight Northwestern University students last week presented the results of the summer-long Innovation to Commercialization (I2C) fellowship, outlining their recommendations for commercializing a variety of technologies developed in Northwestern labs and centers.

The inaugural group of fellows — which included graduate students from the McCormick School of Engineering, Kellogg School of Management, and the Law School — spent 10 weeks researching intellectual property and licensing opportunities for Northwestern innovations, such as a novel treatment for erectile dysfunction and new sheet-metal shaping method.

“This program is so beneficial for both the students and the University,” said Sonia Kim, manager for marketing and industry partnerships at Northwestern’s Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO). “The University benefits by moving these technologies out into the market, and students gain experience and exposure to entrepreneurship in a protected academic environment.”

Fellows worked closely with products’ inventors to determine which innovations had the most potential for success. They evaluated the project’s market potential and financial feasibility, assessed the strengths and weaknesses of its competitors, and finally presented the research to the inventors on August 14. The fellows also attended presentations by entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and Northwestern faculty, as well as workshops on intellectual property and pitching.

Robert Van Lith, a fifth-year PhD student in biomedical engineering, worked with the creators of Remedyon, a novel cancer drug that could also find applications in the fights against Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes. In a series of analyses, Van Lith identified competitors and potential partners, investigated funding options, and identified potential research and development strategies — vital steps when eying a step into the cancer drug market, which is expected to reach $76.2 billion globally by 2015.

“Taking part in this fellowship meant that I was away from my research for 10 weeks, but it was definitely worth it,” Van Lith said. “One of the most valuable lessons was that what might be the most logical path from a scientific standpoint is not necessarily the best path to get your technology to the public. That knowledge will impact and guide my work in the lab, and particularly help with making technologies patentable.”

A promoter and resource for Northwestern entrepreneurs, INVO conducts faculty outreach, provides resources for business development, and manages intellectual property rights for University inventions and innovations.

2012 Innovation to Commercialization Fellows

Allison Bedell (McCormick) — CHITREC: Privacy & Security Office Assistant

Douglas Ford Harrington (Kellogg) — Narrative Science: Commercialization for the Education Space

Eneda Hoxha (Feinberg) — A Novel Prosthesis for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

Kotaro Kuroda (Kellogg)— Project Scimplicity and Project Remedyon

Roberto Margáin (Kellogg) — INVO Integral Marketing Strategy

Ahalya Sriskandarajah (Law School) — Novel Force Gauged Infant CPAP Nasal Interface with Visual Force Indicator

Frank Stabile (Law School) — Project Scimplicity: An Innovative Dieless Forming Method for Sheet Metal Components

Robert Van Lith (McCormick) — Project Remedyon: Building a Commercial Strategy for a Novel Cancer Drug