GW Technology Commercialization Office Helps SMHS Bring Innovation to Market
A drug developed at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), GIAPREZA, can increase dangerously low blood pressure in life-threatening situations, offering the potential to help hundreds of thousands of patients in the United States. The drug was made available on the market thanks to the work of the inventors at SMHS and of the GW Technology Commercialization Office (TCO).
The TCO, according to managing director Steve Kubisen, helps researchers transform innovative technologies into commercial applications.
“We do everything from speaking with a potential inventor, to helping them prepare the patent, to working with a patent attorney and then with entrepreneurs or corporations that may be interested in the technology,” Kubisen explains. “We connect technology, people, and money.”
The TCO has worked with hundreds of inventors throughout GW to commercialize inventions including medical devices, software, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, diagnostics, and more. The office can help assess inventions or solutions for their potential commercialization, seek legal protection of ideas, and identify partners for licensing and collaboration.
For researchers and clinicians at SMHS, one of the most important things to consider if you want to file a patent is the publication of the research.
“If you publish before you file the patent, you’re going to lose some rights,” Kubisen explained.
“There are two steps, and all universities do this: You file a provisional patent, which is relatively inexpensive, and then you can take a manuscript and submit that to the patent office. Then within a year you have to convert it into a full patent,” he said.
The process to earn a patent can take up to two to three years, and getting an innovation on the market can take a lot longer, Kubisen said.
“It could be 10–15 years before it’s on the market, especially for a pharmaceutical just because you’d have to do the Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III trials. But for something like software, that could work out in a couple years. If you’re doing something like a device, that could be about four or five years,” he explained.
However, Kubisen said, despite the length of time, if a clinician or researcher is interested in having a direct impact on society, bringing a product or service to the market could be the best way to help the largest number of people.
He added that members of the office are always open to talking through whether an invention or idea would be patentable.
“People often say ‘I don’t know if I have an invention,’ and I say ‘well, did you solve a problem?’ If you solved a problem then you could have an invention and it’s our job to help see if it’s patentable,” Kubisen said. “If you’ve solved a problem, you should talk to us. Even if it’s not a patentable invention, you can learn more about the process and what our office can do for you.”
To learn more about the TCO, visit https://commercialization.gwu.edu/.