Intellectual Property and Corporate Ventures Office

By its very nature, translational research advances discoveries across the boundaries between academic research labs, corporate drug development and clinical application. As a leading independent non-profit biomedical research institute, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass. Eye and Ear is well positioned to combine our knowledge with that of companies in the eye care industry to solve unmet medical needs for patients.

The Intellectual Property and Corporate Ventures Office works with companies that have the ability to license our academic discoveries and take them through product development, clinical trials, regulatory filings and other steps necessary to turn a lab discovery into a treatment for patients. Making the process as efficient and seamless as possible helps assure that exciting discoveries and technologies from Schepens labs don’t get lost in translation and find their way to the patients who need them. By collaborating with corporations, the Institute is able to move forward innovation at every stage of the pipeline—from earliest ideas to products ready for clinical trials—with the companies who have a track record of delivering results to patients around the world.

The Office of Intellectual Property & Commercial Ventures also helps to enable research project collaborations with eye care companies who share our goal of finding therapies to address unmet medical needs and help eye care professionals and their patients. Often Schepens scientists have an innovative hypothesis that requires funding to do proof-of-concept studies in the lab. Companies recognize the excellence of the faculty and research quality at Schepens and may provide funding for these studies. Positive results of these small early studies often lead to multi-year larger government grants to thoroughly investigate the idea. Publication of our studies allows academic and corporate scientists around the world to share the benefit of our breakthrough advancements in eye research.

Scientists from eye care companies are invited to attend scientific meetings at Schepens to discuss ideas and uncover mutual interests for research projects. Company funding for such projects allows our faculty to pursue basic research, generate and publish data, and sometimes results in inventions that Schepens can license for development. When an invention results, a critical element of success is to find a company to take the drug or device forward through the complicated business activities necessary to eventually bring it to market and help patients. Academic institutes are for the most part entirely unqualified to take on these tasks and they fall outside our nonprofit mission to do research. Early stage drug candidates or drug targets identified through Schepens research are needed by companies to develop novel ways to prevent or even cure blindness.

For more information, contact:

Ojas P. Mehta, J.D.
Director, Intellectual Property & Commercial Ventures
Massachusetts Eye and Ear
243 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114
Fax: 617-573-6923
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Aida Herrera, Ph.D.
325 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
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