(228f) Erc-Sops - a Pre-Competitive Model for Strategically-Driven Research and Technology Development and Commercialization

Authors: 
Muzzio, F. J., Rutgers University
Escotet-Espinoza, M. S., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Wang, Z., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Ierapetritou, M., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

In this talk, we share the experience of the last 9 years of C-SOPS, an NSF-ERC focused on Pharmaceutical products and manufacturing processes.

Creation of the academic/industrial partnership for C-SOP started well ahead of NSF funding.  Our first meetings with industry took place approximately one year before the pre-proposal was submitted, and about 2 years before our center was funded. In the initial discussion with pharmaceutical (and other) companies, we focused on primarily two questions - the scope of the research program, and the collaborative model. A strategy emerged from these consultations, indicating that we should focus on pre-competitive research topics of maximum interest to pharmaceutical manufacturers. Once these companies joined the center, we anticipated that many f their technology providers would also be motivated to participate.

This approach succeeded as intended. In nine years, C-SOPS has executed over 60 membership agreements, currently has 40 members, including not only pharmaceutical companies, but also suppliers of manufacturing equipment, control equipment, sensors and process analyzers, modeling software, and others. These members have contributed cash memberships in excess of $7 million, in kind equipment and software iciness in excess of $10 million, and have funded collaborative projects in excess of $20 million.

The pre-competitive model makes IP developed at the center available to all members on a royalty-free basis, provided that is used in-house for non-commercial purposes. Commercial use (defined narrowly as using center IP to define and enable a company's commercial product) requires a commercial license, which is offered simultaneously to all center members.

Overlaying the pre-competitive research program is a large and rapidly growing set of projects that are funded directly by member companies. These projects also benefit from center IP and know-how, but because they are funded directly by members, IP deriving from these projects is negotiated on a case by case basis. Whenever possible, these projects are funded via service agreements, and negotiations regarding commercial disposition of IP rights is delayed until after the IP is developed.

In our experience, this model has been an extremely useful component of our center engagement model and has helped attract substantial levels of support over almost a decade of uninterrupted growth.