Venture Capital: Rx For Tech Transfer Blues?

As many of the national labs can attest, inventing a better mouse trap is no guarantee that the world will beat a path to your door. So several government labs have been forced to adopt unusual methods to sell their wares to the private sector. The latest experiment is an $8.5 million venture capital fund set up by Argonne National Lab and the University of Chicago. The privately endowed fund, known as ARCH Venture Fund, is a nonprofit creature formed by four commercial investors—two venture capital partnerships, an insurance company, and a pension fund. ARCH will put up money for scientists and engineers to develop prototypes of new discoveries. The technology can then be more easily marketed directly or licensed to industry, says Argonne research vice president Walter Massey. ARCH will have first refusal rights to more than 200 Argonne inventions. And, though...

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