Interviews with Tech Trans Offices
The interviewed TTOs have different experience in commercializing biomarkers, but all agree that currently there is no proven successful pathway for this. They agree also that guidelines would be very useful, ensuring that researchers become aware of the basic demands for commercialisation in the early phases of their research on Biomarkers.
In the evaluation of a marker’s commercial potential, TTOs use a number of specific criteria among which:
- Need - the clinical need must be clearly described
- Type of biomarker - different paths of commercialisation for different types of markers
- Quality - sensitivity, specificity, current standards
- Validation - the stage, quality and level of the validation process of the marker
- Adoption - how does the biomarker match the technologies in clinical use
The key issue include the time for patent application and validation. It is clear that in order to pursue the commercialisation of a biomarker, you need to have a patent.
In terms of commercialisation, it would in many cases be better to wait with the patent application to get sufficient validation, but this often clashes with the researchers’ wishes to publish.
Another dilemma is that most universities demand the technology transfer within 30 months (before the national phase), whereas in the TTOs’ experience, deals get rarely done before the national phase and that usually the process of commercialisation of a biomarker takes between 5-15 years. This is mainly due to the time needed for validation and development. This phase is often prolonged by funding issues.
In addition to these points, a list of concrete screening and selection criteria and a list of expectations to the researchers from a TTO point of view has been created based on the input from the TTO.
Finally, the TTOs are in favour of the creation of a matchmaking platform, as long as it is supervised and regularly updated, as well as a economy plan for the platform is agreed before launching it.