Technology Transfer Office wins Licensing Executives Society “Deals of Distinction” award

Licensing Executives Society (USA and Canada) Inc. (LES) will honor the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of Case Western Reserve University with a prestigious “Deal of Distinction Award” at the society’s annual meeting in New York on Oct. 27. CWRU’s TTO is the only representative of an academic institution to receive the award this year.

The awards recognize outstanding intellectual property licensing deals. Among them is an agreement that advanced the research of David Schiraldi, professor and chair of Case Western Reserve’s Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, from technology to startup phase.

In 2014, Case Western Reserve’s TTO completed negotiations with AeroClay LLC of Austin, Texas, to commercialize Schiraldi’s technology, which produces a wide range of materials for packaging, insulation and absorbency from freeze-dried clay with small amounts of polymer additives.

The technology enables an array of lightweight, durable and environmentally friendly aerogel materials. The resulting product is a spongy, feather-light but sturdy, heat- and flame-resistant and eco-friendly material for applications as an absorbent, insulator or packing material.

The ongoing relationship with AeroClay was cultivated and enhanced through TTO’s negotiation of an exclusive license agreement. The deal, while defining specific applications for the technology, also creatively allows the licensee to quickly adjust to new uses.

“The license encourages the licensee to maximize the product applications quickly in different sectors by offering low-cost hurdles to participate in the chosen market,” said Michael Allan, TTO senior licensing officer. “The licensee is then charged commensurately higher fees to buy extensions of time to develop a product for other uses as they are identified.”

With this award, CWRU and AeroClay join the ranks of past award recipients, including Yale University, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Oncolys BioPharma; University of Pennsylvania and AstraZeneca; and the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development and Bayer Healthcare AG.

In its 50th year, LES is an independent, professional organization that facilitates global intellectual property commerce through education, networking, standards development and certification.