“We are a nonprofit focused and dedicated to saving the lives of patients through transfusion medicine.” Listen as Lisa and her guest, Laura Savatski, discuss what Versiti Inc is, how her office functions, and where she got her tech transfer experience plus much more on this episode of Tech Transfer IP.
Laura Savatski is the Technology Transfer Officer for Versiti, Inc, a healthcare company known for supplying all thing’s blood, as well as having an extensive research footprint at the Blood Research Institute in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Laura has been responsible for technology transfer at Versiti for about 20 years. Before Versiti, Laura was a Vice President at Prodesse, a startup diagnostics company that she co-founded, which was later acquired by Gen-Probe. She is the chair-elect for AUTM and serves on the board for the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals.
Laura shares that she had no tech transfer experience when she started at Versiti but, with the help of some of her early bosses, received excellent on-the-job training. She speaks about what her office is responsible for and what makes it different from other tech transfer offices. Laura also discusses how she believes the Bayh-Dole Act has affected innovations in the U.S., particularly at universities and organizations like Versiti.
Listen as Laura shares how she made her office profitable in two years, and how she uses AUTM’s stat database to benchmark her office against other tech transfer offices in the U.S. She also speaks about why her office files only about half of the patents that most tech transfer offices file on, even though they have between 10 and 20 times the revenue. Laura also speaks about their corporate partners and the unique requirements they have.
Laura discusses some things Versiti is doing with COVID-19, the philanthropic organizations that give them grants, and her office’s biggest wins and most significant challenges. Celebrating success with cake is one way that Laura likes to recognize people on her team for doing an outstanding job and how important she believes credentialing to ascertain that a person is qualified.
Laura has a unique outlook on tech transfer and doesn’t hold anything back. She believes that being a part of an organization like AUTM is very beneficial and shares how they are evolving and focusing on change and the need for new content.
In This Episode:
- [01:45] Laura, welcome to the show!
- [02:10] Laura shares her background working with NASA and her startup Prodesse.
- [05:17] Was Versiti your first tech transfer position?
- [06:04] Laura discusses Versiti and how it functions.
- [08:56] Laura shares that her office protects Versiti’s extensive assets that may have been created in a research environment.
- [10:09] How many people do you have in your office?
- [12:14] Laura speaks not having any tech transfer experience and how she could learn what she needed on the job.
- [13:46] What impact has the Bayh-Dole Act had on innovation in the U.S., particularly universities and in organizations like yours?
- [16:06] Laura discusses what she would advocate changing with the Bayh-Dole Act.
- [19:11] How many inventions get disclosed in your office, and what is your patenting process?
- [21:14] Laura shares how she got her office at Versiti to profitability.
- [24:16] Laura uses the AUTM stat database to benchmark her office against other offices in the United States.
- [25:57] The metrics at Versiti look different from other tech transfer offices because they file at about half the rate of other offices.
- [28:00] They do about 10 to 20 times the revenues of other offices even though it is hard to maintain that level.
- [29:49] Laura believes they could do better with startups.
- [31:05] One reason she believes they don’t have the startup activity that universities have is that they don’t have a sizable group of undergrads.
- [33:08] Do you have a lot of corporate partners?
- [34:23] Laura shares the unique requirements their corporate partners have, and so the deals are structured differently.
- [35:21] What unique things are you doing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
- [37:51] Laura speaks about the Aurora Illinois facility and the tubes they are producing for the COVID testing.
- [38:44] She discusses some philanthropic organizations that have given them grants.
- [40:36] Looking back on your years of licensing, what would have done differently?
- [44:08] Laura says that she gets to talk to people on the phone instead of trading emails back and forth because she has a small office.
- [44:46] Student interns are what Laura feels are some of her biggest wins.
- [46:12] Laura believes in paying it forward and teaching what her professors taught her.
- [48:15] What are some of your office’s most significant challenges?
- [52:32] Laura speaks about her organization embracing equity, diversity, and inclusion and what they do for women entrepreneurs.
- [55:05] Laura bakes a cake in celebration at their staff meetings whenever they have had successes.
- [57:40] Can you talk about AUTM’s evolutions and what the organization has meant to you?
- [1:00:30] AUTM’s focus has shifted to embrace change and the need for new content.
- [1:03:22] Laura believes that AUTM is lucky because of the dedicated people throughout the years who know the value of money to keep them stable.
- [1:04:59] Do you believe that RTTP credentialing is essential?
- [1:07:58] Laura shares what she would wish for if she had three wishes.
- [1:09:19] Thank you so much for being on the show!