Innovation – how do you take your research to market?
Inven2’s main area of focus is taking research results and turning them into a product or service in a market. This is done through a value chain that starts with idea hunting and marketing of Inven2’s services aimed at researchers at the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital.
‘We receive 150–200 research results, DOFIs (Disclosures of Invention), for evaluation every year. Our employees validate the results and consider whether they can be commercialised, either by being licensed to established industry partners or by establishing a new company,’ says Mohammed Amarzguioui.
Amarzguioui is VP Project Management at Inven2. He works closely with the director of innovation and is responsible for overseeing research ideas that are submitted. Jonny Østensen was head of the innovation department at Inven2 up until autumn last year (2020). He has now retired, and Jens Halvard Grønlien will take up this position on 1 February 2021.
When a DOFI is submitted, a project manager will be assigned to it based on which of Inven2’s employees has the required expertise in relation to the specialist area that the project covers. The project manager has a team, which, depending on the character and requirements of the DOFI, will include a business developer and someone with legal and patent expertise.
If the project is considered to have adequate commercial potential, it will be accepted as an active project with the aim of a commercial exit.
Do you work in this industry, and do you have responsibility for licensing products or services?
There is a description of attractive licensing opportunities within a number of specialist areas along with contact details for the individual project managers on the Inven2 website: www.inven2.com/licensing-opportunities/?lang=en
About 25–35% of all research results that are submitted are accepted as projects. Amarzguioui follows the progress of the projects ensuring that they are planned appropriately and adequately funded so that they can develop in a commercial direction.
Patenting is also an important part of this process, and Inven2 uses both internal patent specialists and external patent consultants.
The Inven2 website has an in-depth description of the process from when you submit an idea until a product or service is launched on the market: inven2.com/innovation/researchers/?lang=en
Most of the research results that are submitted come from the medical field.
‘I’d estimate that 75–85% of our work is health-related. The rest involves different forms of technology within ICT, materials, energy and the development of equipment,’ explains Amarzguioui.
The reason for this medical dominance is that there are many good medical research environments at the University of Oslo, Oslo University Hospital as well as the other hospitals under the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. These environments are particularly adept at recognising the innovative potential in their results.
‘Oncology is the biggest area within medicine. Approximately 40% of our medical projects are cancer-related, and a lot of exciting innovation is happening within the development of immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. There are also a number of immunology projects that can be applied to disorders others than cancer. Other specialist areas that stand out are cardiology and infectious diseases,’ says Amarzguioui.
2020—a very different year
The ongoing pandemic has made 2020 a very difficult year for many people.
At the same time, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of health research and the commercialisation of research. Funding for greater volumes of research-based innovation projects has become more readily available through different schemes from Innovation Norway, the Research Council of Norway and the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.
‘Throughout 2020, we have particularly seen an increase in projects on infectious diseases and many new COVID-19 projects,’ says Amarzguioui.
7 companies were established in 2020, while 28 licensing agreements were entered into on the utilisation of research results.