Sandia LabNews

Sandians demonstrate verve in transferring Labs technology to private sector


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Three Sandia research teams and one Sandia executive have won national awards for their skills in making technology transfer happen.

Team trophies and individual leather-bound certificates will be provided to 2007 winners on May 8 in Portland, Ore., by the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC), the nationwide network that helps link federal laboratory technologies with the marketplace.

The four awards (one was joint) were the most won by any national lab. Pacific Northwest National Lab won three.

David Goldheim, director of Sandia’s Strategic Relationships Center from 1999 to 2007, received the Outstanding Technology Transfer Professional award.

Sandia’s “ElectroNeedle Biomedical Sensor Array” and the “Secure Sensor and Seal Technologies for Global Nuclear Non-proliferation” won Excellence in Technology Transfer awards.

Also winning an Excellence in Technology Transfer award, in a joint submission with the Naval Research Laboratory, was the “Helical Fiber Amplifier.”

Nominations are judged by a panel of experts from industry, state and local government, academia, and the federal laboratory system.

The FLC, organized in 1974, according to its own description “develops and tests transfer methods, addresses barriers to the process, provides training, highlights grass-roots transfer efforts, and emphasizes national initiatives where technology transfer has a role.”

Says David, “They also publicize the value of technology commercialization in national and regional forums.”

All entrants either win an award or are presented an “Honorable Mention.”

Applications for the awards were coordinated by Margaret Lovell (0304) and Jackie Kirby Moore (1033).

FLC: The Winners’ Circle

Secure Sensor — Barry Schoeneman (6722), Brent Burdick (1031), Steve Blankenau (5356)

Sandia was able to transfer technology for the T-1A optical seal, an active radio frequency (RF)-based device used to monitor high-value assets, and its technological successor, the Secure Sensor Platform (SSP). The T-1A seal makes it highly difficult to remove material or containers without breaking the seal on the fiber optic loop. These seals are intended for long-term use without maintenance for up to five years on one battery.

Sandia initiated an industrial partnership by proposing that Canberra Albuquerque commercialize the T-1A and collaborate on the development of the SSP. The innovative transfer combined a license agreement for the current

T-1A sensor with a CRADA to jointly develop the next generation SSP sensor. Not only was the current T-1A product brought to market successfully through the licensing of Sandia intellectual property, but the CRADA will provide a streamlined commercial launch of the SSP sensor. The transfer for the SSP has been funded entirely by Canberra. The production of the T-1A units is funded primarily by Canberra with some minimal funding provided by DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS) as the domestic customer for the seal. All technology transfer efforts and the associated costs of negotiating and executing the CRADA and license agreement were assumed by the Strategic Relationships Center at Sandia.

ElectroNeedle — Paul Smith (1031), Chris Apblett (1815), Carrie Schmidt (1717), Kerry Kampschmidt (11700), Brent Burdick (1031), Steve Casalnuovo (1714), Kent Schubert (1717), David Ingersoll (2546), Stan Kravitz (retired), Jeb Flemming (former Sandian), and Collin Buckley (former Sandian)

The ElectroNeedle™ Biomedical Sensor Array is a device that, when pressed against the skin, will provide rapid, on-demand, multiplexed, point-of-care biomedical assays for medical diagnosis in emergency, battlefield, and remote settings where time constraints or distance make it impractical to send the patient’s samples to a conventional laboratory for analysis. It will also eliminate delays experienced by many patients and physicians in waiting for diagnostic test results.

Two new biotechnology companies — New Mexico Biotech Inc. and Life BioScience Inc. — have been formed in Albuquerque explicitly for ElectroNeedle commercialization. One company has already licensed the IP portfolio that became available during 2006 and negotiations are underway with the second. Sandia will provide ongoing research into the technology and technical guidance to the licensing organizations. The licensee(s) are expected to develop the commercial product, to pursue FDA approval for the product, and to provide funding to Sandia for continued R&D.

Helical Fiber Amp — Jeffrey Koplow (8368), Dahv Kliner (8368)

Researchers affiliated with the Naval Research Laboratory and Sandia developed a method that uses bend loss (coiling) to selectively suppress undesirable modes in a fiber amplifier, thereby making high-power fiber lasers possible. The solution resolved power limitations of fiber lasers that had stymied the industry since fiber lasers were first developed in 1963, while preserving high beam-quality output. The groundbreaking discovery now allows production of high-power fiber lasers that are more efficient, cost-effective, rugged, and compact than other types of lasers.

Following patent approval in 2002, the nominees initiated transfer of their helical fiber amplifier (also called mode-filtered fiber amplifier) to several commercial laser manufacturers: Nufern of East Granby, Conn.; Liekki Corporation of Lohja, Finland; and IMRA America Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich. By 2006, all three companies had received patent licenses allowing use of the innovative technology in their laser-based product lines, and two subsequent licenses have since been issued.

David Goldheim was praised for his “leadership, inventiveness, and tenacity in developing and shepherding innovative programs that support Sandia’s business development and strategic intellectual property (IP) management efforts.” Examples of innovative mechanisms attributed to David’s initiative or support include the Business Intelligence/Market Research team’s use of powerful software to identify potential relationships based on common technology interests, corporate strategies, and business models; Equity Sharing Program, which accepts equity instead of cash royalties from companies that license Sandia intellectual property; Royalty Sharing Program, which distributed $3.4 million to Sandians in 2006; Technology Maturation Fund, which uses funds from the Royalty Sharing Program to help prepare nearly ready technologies for marketing; Mission Centric Venturing, aiding maturation of technologies seen as crucial to Sandia; Entrepreneurial Separation to Transfer Technology, which provides a safe return for Sandians who venture out into the business world to commercialize their technologies; Entrepreneur-in-Residence; Sandia Science & Technology Park, the 200+ acre development east of Kirtland; New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program, which took over for DOE’s now-defunct Technology Partnerships Program and offers an avenue for the Labs to help small businesses; and the Shared Vision program (a collaborative technology development and maturation program with Lockheed Martin).