Fostering technology transfer in industrial biotechnology by academic spin-offs

Industrial biotechnology is the commercial application of biotechnology using cells or components of cells, like enzymes, for industrial production processes including consumer goods, bioenergy and biomaterials. In the last years this area has gone through a fast technological development resulting in a high number of basic technologies based on research efforts at universities and research institutions. But a technology transfer gap exists between basic research and the commercialisation of the results. This gap can be closed by academic spin-offs which manage the technology transfer from universities and research institutions to industrial companies. After the spin-off process, the technology is further developed within the new venture normally using additional resources from external investors. As soon as the technology reaches a certain grade of maturity, the spin-offs can co-operate with an established company and work for them as a service provider or be acquired. The chosen approach of technology transfer depends on the type of company. Whereas multinational enterprises (MNEs) are very active in making new technologies available both by acquiring spin-offs or engaging them as service providers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are focused on partnering with spin-offs, due to limited financial and management resources.

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