Magnus Höök, a professor at Texas A&M, worked for more than 20 years perfecting an antibody that attacks protein adhesins on bacterial surfaces. But when Höök and his colleagues sought to move their trademark proteins into the market, he says his "lack of knowledge" surprised him. "You start out thinking this is a cool idea, and it would be useful," Höök relates. Höök is a director at Inhibitex Inc., an Alpharetta, Ga.-based company that is now testing the effect of its proteins on Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria. "But there are a lot of things you haven't thought about: How do you practically get investors interested in it?"

Many scientists loathe any association with such commercial considerations Höök observes, and indeed, even Lita Nelson, director of the Technology Licensing Office of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, takes pains to distance academic enterprise from pure entrepreneurship. "Most universities see technology...

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