Three Lab employees and the Laboratory have garnered a national technology transfer award for their work formulating a cancer research collaboration agreement.
The “best in class” award, from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Technology Transfer Working Group (TTWG), was presented during a recent recognition event by Rich Rankin, head of the Lab’s Innovation and Partnerships Office (IPO).
Rankin presented the award to two IPO business development executives — Charity Follet and Candice Gellner — and to Quentin Vaughan, an assistant general counsel in the Lab’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), along with recognizing the entire IPO and OGC offices.
The “best in class” award was given to the three Lab employees for innovation in partnering for the development of the four-institution Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine, or ATOM, consortium.
Consortium members include LLNL, the pharmaceutical firm GSK, the National Cancer Institute’s Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research and the University of California, San Francisco.
“Our employees were recognized for their excellence in contracting and bringing together companies in close contact with researchers, capabilities and unique facilities,” Rankin said.
“The award was a surprise. We didn’t know the award was going to be presented and we certainly didn’t know we were going to win.”
Originally, the award was presented to Rankin at the TTWG meeting in Albuquerque in mid-October, with more than 100 people in attendance. In turn, he presented it earlier this month to the three employees.
“The ATOM consortium is an extremely complicated collaboration that has required some new approaches and new thinking for technical partnerships,” Rankin said.
“If the ATOM consortium is successful, it will change the way we think about health care. The researchers on the ATOM consortium have brought high-end, high-performance computing to bear on the development of new drugs for cancer therapy. The research is showing promise to deliver benefits to society, and it represents a marriage of human need with world-class science from the national labs and the ATOM partners,” Rankin added.
The goal of the ATOM consortium is to create a new paradigm of drug discovery that would reduce the time from an identified drug target to clinical candidate from the current approximately six years to one year.
The TTWG awards, which were inaugurated this past year, stemmed from a desire several years ago to create an award to recognize technology transfer professionals.
The awards, selected by a team of representatives from the national labs and the DOE Office of Technology Transitions, were given in five categories — intellectual property management, licensing, partnering, economic development and innovative lab facilities.
Established by the secretary of Energy, the TTWG primarily includes technology transfer professionals from the national laboratories, single purpose research facilities and production facilities and the DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration field offices.
This group works together to improve the technology transfer activities of the laboratories/facilities and the DOE. The members promote the implementation of DOE laboratory technology transfer policy in a mutually beneficial, supportive and non-adversarial working environment that encourages open communication, teamwork and professional development. The TTWG meets twice a year.