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Chance, Mischance, and Persistence

As an intramural science showcase, the National Institutes of Health Research Festival on the Bethesda campus is dominated each year by reports on cutting edge biomedical research. But at one mini-symposium during the 15th festival last month, several NIH researchers described innovations that have already reached the marketplace, and the challenges surmounted along the way. The session was conceived as "sort of a greatest hits package," says Steven Ferguson, deputy director of the NIH divisi

Steve Bunk
As an intramural science showcase, the National Institutes of Health Research Festival on the Bethesda campus is dominated each year by reports on cutting edge biomedical research. But at one mini-symposium during the 15th festival last month, several NIH researchers described innovations that have already reached the marketplace, and the challenges surmounted along the way.

The session was conceived as "sort of a greatest hits package," says Steven Ferguson, deputy director of the NIH division of technology development and transfer. The division organized a similar symposium last year and expects to make it a fixture of future festivals. The examples to choose from are plentiful: more than 1,200 license agreements for commercialization of NIH inventions have been signed since 1993, generating two-thirds of all federal government royalty income.

Two of the presenters this year-Robert S. Balaban of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and Hynda K....

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