Boston University has several “gap funding” programs managed by OTD. These allow BU research to advance towards commercialization leveraging government sponsored basic research funding. BU has a history of being an innovator in research commercialization. The Community Technology Fund established in 1975 was the first university venture fund. It invested in over 175 companies prior to its closing in 2005. Some of CTF’s investments include A123 Battery, Ensemble Therapeutics, Outstart, and Crossbeam. The uninvested portion of CTF was placed into BU’s endowment and provides about $750K annually for gap funding.
OTD funds BU technologies via two programs: Ignition Awards (see the current winners below) and Launch awards. Launch awards are convertible debt funds to bridge to private capital funding. Launch awards require non-BU matching funds. Launch awardees include Allegro Diagnostics, Intica Biomedical, Noblegen, Predictus and Sample6.
BU also has several externally funded programs: Coulter Biomedical Translation, NIH Center for Translational Science, Fraunhofer Alliance and Pfizer Center for Therapeutic Innovation. OTD either manages or supports all these programs, which account for about an additional $1.5M annually in funding for BU research commercialization.
Government basic research funding is increasingly requiring translational strategies for these technologies. Government funding for SBIR/STTR funding is increasing as are new Proof-of-Concept funding programs. This is a welcome pivot towards near term societal benefits from basic research spending by taxpayers.