The BALSA Group
The Tech Transfer Training Program is an ongoing partnership between WashU and The Biotechnology and Life Science Advising (BALSA) Group. The primary objective of the Tech Transfer Training Program is to expose participants to the earliest stages of technology transfer. The program is designed to train participants in reviewing and analyzing emerging academic technologies through a collaborative environment that also provides an understanding of commercialization principles and challenges associated with academic discoveries.
Over the course of the program, each BALSA team determines the marketability of multiple technologies submitted to OTM as invention disclosures by Washington University faculty members and staff. Through discussions with OTM and faculty inventor(s), the team evaluates the resulting product of each invention disclosure as follows: (a) determines whether there is a market, (b) estimates market size and degree of fragmentation, (c) identifies the primary competitors and potential strategic/licensing partners, and (d) examines associated barriers to entry. The team presents their analysis and findings, along with a recommendation for product commercialization, to OTM’s business development team.
Projects are ongoing and run for 7 weeks. Teams are composed of four members: three consultants and one project manager responsible for directing the team. During the 7 week project, one team member is trained as the manager for the subsequent 7-week project and becomes a board member at The BALSA Group.
The BALSA Group is a non-profit organization founded and led by Washington University graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. The BALSA Group aims to facilitate close collaborations between the local business community and Washington University researchers and students, assist local biotechnology firms in overcoming obstacles, exploring opportunities, achieving growth and maximizing profits, as well as provide opportunities for its members to obtain real-world experiences in the life science industry while improving their leadership, team work, and business skills.
Collaboration between WashU and the BioEntrepreneurship Core (BEC) is central to the BEC’s mission of educating its members in matters related to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization at Washington University. To this end, the OTM sponsors a number of BEC events each year, including the BEC’s Coffee Hour Series. The Coffee Hour Series provides opportunities for Washington University affiliates to informally engage in small group discussions with experts on topics ranging from intellectual property, tech transfer, entrepreneur development, start-up funding, and others.
The BEC is a multidisciplinary organization open to all Washington University affiliates, begun in 2004 and now comprising upward of 400 members. Our mission is to educate students, faculty, and staff regarding biotechnology-based entrepreneurial opportunities and skills. We also encourage greater exchange between Washington University affiliates and the St. Louis entrepreneurial community through organizing events which bring these groups together and facilitate social and professional interactions. Above all, the BEC strives to create a network which brings together people of all disciplines—including science, medicine, business and law—that fosters and promotes scientific innovation.