Rutgers University’s TechAdvance Fund, a proof-of-concept fund created through the university’s Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) to advance early stage Rutgers technologies toward commercialization, received $100,000 from Celgene Corporation, marking the first corporate donation since the program’s inception in June 2017.
“The TechAdvance program serves as a catalyst to move Rutgers inventions beyond that basic research stage and into the marketplace for practical application. Celgene’s donation enhances our efforts to encourage invention and entrepreneurship among Rutgers researchers as they develop new solutions to real-world problems,” said Christopher J. Molloy, PhD, RPh, Senior Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Rutgers. “We are grateful for Celgene’s support and shared commitment to advancing innovation at Rutgers and improving lives.”
“Celgene’s donation to the Rutgers TechAdvance fund is consistent with Celgene’s entrepreneurial vision to enable bold pursuits in science and to support the start-up ecosystem in NJ. This mission is further demonstrated by the establishment of the Thomas O. Daniel Research Incubator and Collaboration Center on the Celgene campus,” said Rupert Vessey, FRCP, DPhil, President of Research and Early Development, Celgene Corporation.
Launched in June 2017, TechAdvance provides grants of up to $100,000 to Rutgers researchers whose inventions have the potential to create marketable products but don’t advance because there is no funding available to prove the concept and move the technologies forward toward commercialization. TechAdvance helps to bridge that gap and improve the prospects for funding and commercialization. Funded projects range from technologies in the life sciences and medical devices to materials science and engineering. TechXpress, a program within TechAdvance, provides smaller grants of up to $10,000 for projects that require less funding and can be completed within six months.
TechAdvance applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year and are evaluated by external industry reviewers to validate the market potential of each proposed technology. The goal is to support technologies that can be marketed via licensing to existing companies or the creation of new startups. Currently, more than 75 industry reviewers participate in the program, with expertise spanning large pharma, small biotech, engineering, materials science, hardware, software, virtual reality, and energy.
To date, the TechAdvance Fund has awarded $1.45 million to 22 researchers, and the first technology funded by TechAdvance was successfully licensed to a startup company.
“Inventors come to our office with hopes of marketing their new technologies to customers or industry partners, but the technologies are often very early stage and require more data,” said S. David Kimball, PhD, Vice President for Innovation and Research Commercialization at Rutgers. “TechAdvance provides funding with the goal of generating meaningful results that will increase the probability of follow-on funding, sponsored research, commercialization through licensing, or the creation of a new startup. By giving these researchers the boost they need, we hope to bring more valuable Rutgers technologies to market and make a difference in the world around us.”