Former Harvard Official Tapped to Expand Tech Transfer at Brown U.

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Apollo BioPharmaceutics, a developer of drugs for Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the central nervous system that was sold to former San Diego-based biotech MitoKor for an undisclosed amount in 2001. Her initial job at Harvard was a dual position in the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center and the university’s tech transfer office. After Kohlberg took over tech transfer at Harvard, she dedicated all her time to tech transfer, primarily for Harvard Medical School.

Still finding her way around Brown, Gordon said she is meeting with the university’s researchers and faculty to learn about their work and draw up strategies for commercializing the discoveries. She reports to Clyde Briant, vice president of research at Brown. Her office has five people, but she expects that number to grow. She also took down her office’s website until an updated site in the works is ready to go online, she said.

Hiring Gordon is a recent example of Brown’s efforts to boost entrepreneurial activity at the university. Earlier this year Brown co-founded the RI Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the City of Providence and state economic development officials. The center operates as part startup incubator and part resource center for young entrepreneurs. Brown has also spent money to hire new science and engineering faculty and recently completed construction of a $100 million life sciences building to house its top scientists.

Gordon said that while increasing licensing revenue at Brown is one of her goals, perhaps more important to her is ensuring that research at the university in areas such as nanotechnology or potentially lifesaving drugs is made available and benefits the public. Still, a big part of ensuring that research is transferred from the lab to the public involves attracting investors, companies, and entrepreneurs to the university. Gordon says she plans to tap her network of investors and executives in the Boston area and beyond to make the appropriate connections between them and Brown faculty.

“I’ve always had good interactions with the tech transfer office at Brown—I’ve also had the sense that not all the technology that could be commercialized was commercialized,” said Barrett Bready, CEO of Brown spinout NABsys, based in Providence. Bready, who also teaches a class on biotech management at Brown, added that he thinks that hiring Gordon and other actions by the university indicate its desire to bring more of its commercially viable discoveries to market.

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