News from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

Office of Technology Transfer

New blood at OTT

We wish to confirm the recent appointment of Michael D. Stern as a new licensing officer at OTT. Dr. Stern's domain of responsibilities will include bio-technology, bio-medical and medical equipment. As part of the OTT team of advisers to researchers, he will negotiate contracts, assess technology with respect to disclosures of inventions, counsel as to the protection and commercialization of such inventions, and, as the case may be, participate in the structuring of spin-offs.

Michael will bring to OTT and to McGill University more than 20 years of pertinent experience in prominent industries. These include Ayerst Laboratories, where he conducted pharmacokinetic studies; BioMega Inc., where he participated in the start-up of the company; IAF BioChem International Inc., where he was involved in the initial development of an anti-AIDS drug; Nordic Merrell Dow Research Inc., where he coordinated research projects; and Theratechnologies, where he held various development and administrative duties.

Dr. Stern obtained a BSc, MSc and PhD from McGill University and was a post-doctoral fellow in the department of Experimental Medicine. He is also a violinist and concertmaster of I Medici di McGill. Dr. Stern can be reached at 398-4200 or 398-2393 or at

In other news, one of OTT's officers, Dr. Jean-Marc Juteau, has joined Replicor, a McGill spin-off, as CEO.

For more information about OTT, you may wish to consult our Web site at

New programs from Quebec

The March 1999 provincial budget included a number of welcome measures to promote research and its commercialization. While details about these new programs are still pending, we can see from the sheer numbers that the government is indeed committed to favouring collaborative research. Under "Valorisation-recherche Québec" there will be $100 million over three years, $50 million for multidisciplinary team projects and $50 million for commercialization of research product. The latter will be of particular interest to OTT and, hopefully, additional services will become available in the future under this program. Furthermore, under "Fonds Innovation Québec" $75.2 million will be disbursed under a variety of programs, some of them for new professors and their teams, some for multi-disciplinary or multi-institutional research projects and some for industry-university projects. Details will be found on the FGSR Web site as they become available. The government of Quebec has also announced that it will pursue its endeavour of adopting a science and technology policy, to be announced later. All these initiatives, coupled with the nomination of a new Minister dedicated to "Research, Science and Technologys" are quite encouraging.

Another new initiative is the "On the Job Research Scholarship" which intends to provide master's and doctoral students with a joint industry-FCAR scholarship to encourage long-term employability in areas of particular needs. There will be about 100 such scholarships providing a minimum of $20,800 annual income. An industrial partner is required. Do not hesitate to contact the Office of Fellowships and Awards for more details.

OTT and the spin-off trend

Researchers on campus and elsewhere have shown great interest in spin-offs, to the extent where, at times, the spin-off attraction appears to overcome other more traditional ways of commercializing technologies. It is too early to establish the relative long term potential of either a licence or a more complex approach involving spin-offs. In fact, spin-offs also include a licence. But while the licence is of similar nature, it is accompanied by a shareholder's agreement. One of the points of attraction is that spin-offs generally mean a closer oversight by the researcher through a scientific advisory committee. This is coupled with research contracts that do tend to be awarded to the researcher. Thus, there are advantages to the spin-off route.

On the other hand, not all technologies are generic enough to warrant a spin-off. Some technologies can also be developed more diligently if they are part of a larger development thrust carried out by an existing company. Such licences can be attractive and may bring the concept or the product to the market more quickly. Thus, OTT will help you in this early assessment and decide, with your concurrence, the most appropriate approach. As you know, the preliminary step is a report of invention to be dropped off at OTT. The report can be left with an officer, if you've already dealt with one of OTT's officers. Otherwise, it should be left to the attention of OTT's director, Alex Navarre.