is the CEO and founder of Borman & Company, a consulting firm that helps research-intensive institutions advance effective technology transfer through every step along the path to commercialization. Nikki has an extensive track record of developing and implementing enhanced business models, workflows, financial structure, and regulatory reporting for leading academic institutions and medical research centers.
Prior to founding Borman & Company in 2007, Nikki worked in tech transfer and licensing at MIT and Brandeis University and put in her time providing advisory services at three of the big four: Ernest & Young, KPMG Advisory and PwC.
Nikki has been tasked as a peer reviewer for the DOD congressionally directed medical research programs and has served in various capacities for AUTM (Association of University Technology Managers) where she spearheaded the Better World Report.
For More information or to contact Nikki, please visit her Firm Profile Page.
As we scan the press attention around medical intellectual property (IP) during these pandemic times, an impassioned debate centers on whether there should be a reprieve on patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines. This threat to longstanding agreements and investment in public/private sector partnerships undermines not only the ownership of IP but also sets a dangerous precedent in terms of downstream consequences. An additional challenge to patents owned by academic medical centers and pharmaceutical companies is posed by activist groups that are lobbying our government to exercise march-in rights to influence pricing of medicines in the United States. Working with medical research centers around Bayh-Dole Act compliance has uncovered, time after time, a more systemic risk that eats away at the health of the research portfolio and could add fuel to the fire for diluting IP protection, thereby undermining the foundation of innovation.
The original motivation for the Bayh-Dole Act was to encourage the commercialization of academic innovation so that new technologies could be available for the benefit of all. Yet today, I feel compelled to call attention to a compliance landscape that is significantly different than that of the past four decades—one that could have dire consequences for institutions if they choose to be complacent. Not only do sponsoring agencies have an interest in how tech transfer complies with Bayh-Dole regulations, other entities have entered the competitive landscape looking for opportunities to turn lack of compliance to their advantage. In just the past two years we’ve seen a spike in requests for the government to exercise march-in rights by a variety of non-governmental advocacy groups (NGOs). These NGOs are staffed by PhDs who are well-versed in the academic tech transfer ecosystem and they actively seek out pockets of non-compliance. An attempt is then made to extricate key technologies using non-compliance as a lever and the NGOs become the primary influence on how innovation is put into the marketplace. I would ask the question, “Who will pick up on these inventions?” If you follow this chain of events we may find ourselves in a situation where innovation is not freely available to all (the original intent of Bayh-Dole) but an endpoint where NGOs and their backers control how technologies get into the marketplace.