Updated on 21 December 2012
ETPL now processes two technology disclosures and manages prosecution of about eight patents applications a day; it closes about two licensing deals a week, and establishes one start-up each month. Funds raised by start-ups are about five times the amount invested in them. Five A*STAR start-ups won accolades in 2011 and six in 2012.
Do you provide technology to MNCs or to start-ups as well?
Seventy percent of our licensing goes to SMEs, which also includes start-ups. MNCs tend to have direct links with A*STAR and they have their own R&D departments. SMEs don't and we're here to provide that link to them.
What do you look at prior to selecting a company for technology transfer?
Ours is a multi-pronged process. As a tech-transfer organization, we keep a close eye on what scientists are developing in the labs as well as on the various scientific development around the world. At the same time, we study what is happening in the industry, we look at market needs, how businesses in Singapore are developing, global trends, as well as which areas our scientists and businesses are leading. There's no point developing something if you don't have a very clear leadership position or a differentiator, otherwise you'll just be a "me-too" with no value proposition.
When we identify a promising technology, we work with the scientists to productize it in a direction that would give it commercial viability and place it in a leadership position. We also provide the gap funding, which will support work like proof-of-concept and prototyping among others.
Concurrently, we work with potential customers or companies to commercialize this in their products or processes. By working with them at this stage, we make sure we're tracking right. Companies usually come in only when they feel the technology is almost ready for market use.