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Now live! Explore the program for the upcoming 2024 Global Conference, taking place May 5-8, 2024.

University-Foundation Relations: From Transactional to Transformative Partnerships

In biomedical research, both nonprofit disease foundations and academic research institutions are committed to translating research into effective therapies for patients. Despite this key area of alignment, universities and foundations have expressed different views about what mechanisms can best foster innovation and development. As just one example, many nonprofit disease foundations have incorporated provisions allowing them to exercise rights to foundation-supported inventions if the grantee fails to meet certain development milestones. These provisions, also known as "march-in rights," are included in an effort to ensure that research continues to move forward toward commercialization. However, many academic institutions have pushed back against such provisions, cautioning that this approach can actually hinder development by discouraging critical third-party investment. 

In recent years, the nonprofit and academic communities have each produced thoughtful work product and participated in group discussions directed at addressing these disagreements and identifying ways to maintain fruitful partnerships. On Sept. 8, 2014, FasterCures convened a group of more than 60 stakeholders representing academic research institutions, nonprofit disease foundations, industry, investors, and the legal community to explore these issues and identify actionable solutions. Led by facilitator Robert Mittman, the interactive workshop, “University-Foundation Relations: From Transactional to Transformative Partnerships,” consisted of dynamic, candid discussions designed to identify strategies to overcome barriers to successful university-foundation partnerships.