If the purpose of university technology transfer is to maximize the benefits of public and private investment in research, those offices cannot rely exclusively on traditional licensing efforts. Some technologies lend themselves to a more entrepreneurial approach, where the total impact of a start-up may significantly exceed the monetary value of a license to an existing company, if such a license could even be executed.
Such entrepreneurial activity has increased over the past few years, however start-up companies face significant challenges. The risk remains that the start-up company will cease operations, before the benefit of the technology is fully realized. In order for the company to continue after the original founders have moved on, or for the operations to attract the interest of a buyer before initial funding has run out, the market needs to be developed further.
One of the programs of the NIH seeks to address this by providing individualized assistance to SBIR and STTR Phase II awardees, focused on specific commercialization objectives.
Similar to the NSF I-CORPS program, the primary mechanisms of the Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP) are mentoring and advice.
- One-on-one business mentoring with a principal advisor focusing on concrete deliverables.
- Advice from industry experts on regulatory and licensing issues, business strategy, investor pitch.
Unlike the NSF I-CORPS program, there is no financial component to CAP however however, participants with a current active SBIR or STTR Phase II award may rebudget funds within the award, to cover allowable travel expenses for CAP events. Certain restrictions apply.
There are 75 positions available for participation in teh next round, separated into two tracks:
- Commercialization Training Track (CTT) – With sixty (60) slots available, this track will apply to the majority of NIH SBIR/STTR Phase II companies. It is aimed at assisting participants with evaluating their commercialization options based on their specific technologies covering an 18-month period. It also assists participants in the development of market-appropriate tools to accomplish these objectives. Participants work one-on-one with a principal advisor and industry experts as needed.
- Accelerated Commercialization Track (ACT) – With fifteen (15) slots, this track will apply to a select group of NIH-funded companies who have successfully commercialized products and/or services, generated revenue, established partnerships and/or otherwise achieved a level of market development that is sustainable over a definitive period. However, they may need to address a specific applicable issue whose resolution is key to their continued growth. This track specifically deploys industry experts to help participants achieve these outcomes.
The current application period opened on October 17 and will close on November 7.
For more information, including eligibility criteria, the scope of the program, and a link to the application process, please refer to Program NIH-CAP 2012-2013.