In a move to more efficiently commercialize laboratory-produced technologies and services, the Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center partnered with Allied Minds Federal Innovations, Inc., earlier this year.
The new partnership is among the first to directly respond to President Barack Obama's October 2011 memorandum challenging federal laboratories to accelerate their transfer of technology to other institutions for the purpose of improving economic growth and the global competitiveness of U.S. industries.
By leveraging technologies from chemical and biological command intellectual property portfolio for multiple commercial applications, the cooperative research and development agreement between the Army and Allied Minds goes beyond the norm for such — which is traditionally devised to connect government agencies with private companies to develop only a single product or service.
"The intellectual output of over 200 U.S. government research labs represents an under-utilized national asset," said Chris Silva, chief executive officer of Allied Minds. "Unlocking the commercial value of intellectual property through our relationship with ECBC will result in the creation of companies, job opportunities and a stronger, more competitive U.S. economy."
The arrangement aims to create start-up businesses or multi-use products and services. To do so, the partners will first host a series of product development and commercialization sessions that will assess the marketability and adaptability of ECBC inventions. Once identified as viable — through the financial backing and management expertise of Allied Minds — the technologies will proceed for further research, development and commercialization.
"By partnering with AMFI, the Center is now poised to help improve the commercialization of critical technologies and also potentially stimulate our nation's economy," said Joseph D. Wienand, ECBC technical director and Research, Development and Engineering Command acting deputy director.
The first product selected by the partners for development is a sensor originally designed for military installations to recognize biological pathogens from safe distances, but could also be adapted to help characterize the environment or measure pollution. This "bio-sensor" illustrates how the partnership will merge chemical and biological command intellectual property with Allied Minds marketing know-how to generate inventions that have potential to impact not only the service member but the U.S. economy as a whole — thus fulfilling the President's initial appeal.
The Edgewood Chemical and Biological Command and Allied Minds formally marked the start of their five-year agreement in an April ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Taking part in the event were Wienand and Silva, as well as ECBC Associate Director, Business Management Integration, Debra Thedford and AMFI Director of Federal Research Program John Serafini. Each provided remarks to an intimate group of attendees from both organizations.