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March 4, 2021 – Products, Partners & Public Health: How Your Organization Can Work with the National Institutes of Health – Steven M. Ferguson

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The United States currently leads the world in government support for non-military research and development (R&D), especially support for work that directly relates to health and human development.  A focal point for such investments to date in biomedical research has been the National Institutes of Health (NIH), receiving approximately $41.7 billion in fiscal year 2020.  Approximately 9% of this funding is spent annually on internal R&D projects (intramural research) utilizing the work of about 9,000 scientists.  The other funding is largely utilized to support the work of 35,000 non-government investigators (extramural research) at various colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad as well as corporate research undertaken at small businesses. 

Whether internal or externally based, the biomedical research performed has led to a large variety of novel basic and clinical research discoveries – all of which generally require commercial partners in order to develop them into products for hospital, physician or patient use.  Thus, the NIH needs and actively seeks partners and licensees to help develop and commercialize its research into products to help fulfill its mission as a healthcare agency.  

The presentation will examine how the NIH technology transfer program works to meet these goals as well as offering suggestions and practical advice for organizations seeking new product ideas or looking to interact with NIH scientists in order to start or expand their businesses.  With over 700 products from these license agreements currently on the market, licensing, collaboration, funding or contract activities with NIH cannot be overlooked as part of growth strategies for biomedical firms. 

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Steven M. Ferguson currently serves as Special Advisor at the NIH Office of Technology Transfer where he has worked since 1990. The biomedical technology transfer program at NIH is one of the world’s largest with a portfolio that includes about 1700 active licenses with aggregate sales greater than $6B per year that is based upon research that has also generated 34 FDA-approved drugs & vaccines.

A former chemist at the National Cancer Institute and biotech industry product manager, Mr. Ferguson holds Master’s Degrees in Business Administration (George Washington University) and Chemistry (University of Cincinnati) as well as Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry (Case Western Reserve University).

A registered Patent Agent and a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), Mr. Ferguson is faculty and Technology Transfer Department Chair at the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) Graduate School at NIH and the Biotechnology Industry Organization “BIO Boot Camp”. He also serves as a business reviewer or advisory board member for the US-India Science & Technology Endowment Fund, Maryland Industrial Partnerships, Maryland Innovation Initiative, Virginia Bio-Life Science Gap Fund, the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and the DOD Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program.

He has published extensively in the field of technology transfer and has also received the AUTM President’s Award (AUTM Band), the AUTM Volunteer Service Award, the NIH Director’s Award, the FAES Instruction Award, four “Deal of Distinction” awards and the Frank Barnes Mentoring Award from the Licensing Executive Society, six Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards, and fifteen NIH Merit Awards in recognition of his service and activities in technology transfer.