Bentley named assistant vice chancellor for Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization

Alan Bentley
Alan Bentley

Alan Bentley, director of commercialization for Cleveland Clinic Innovations with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, has been named assistant vice chancellor of technology transfer and intellectual property development. Bentley, chosen in a national search, will join Vanderbilt June 1.

Bentley will be responsible for the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (CTTC) as it undergoes necessary strategic growth, both in terms of staffing and resources, in order to enhance interactions for faculty as intellectual property undergoes many steps on its journey through the commercialization process.

Bentley will report to Gordon R. Bernard, the Melinda Owen Bass Professor of Medicine and associate vice chancellor for research. Bernard has responsibility for a number of university-wide research-related functions that assist faculty in translating discovery to clinical practice, such as the NIH-supported clinical research center, and the human subjects protection program (IRB), accountable jointly to Richard C. McCarty, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Jeff Balser, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“We have undertaken a 360-degree review of our efforts in technology commercialization across the university, looking at this from the perspective of organizational structure, staffing sufficiency, how the OTTED interacts with our inventors and discoverers, as well as connectivity with industry,” Bernard said.

“After thorough analysis, and with recommendations from an advisory board of trustees and Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, we made the decision to recruit someone with the depth of experience and skills who can move our technology transfer efforts forward,” Bernard said. “[rquote]Alan is absolutely the right individual for this role.[/rquote] He was the top candidate during our search due to his national prominence, with a stellar background at the Cleveland Clinic. He is one of the most knowledgeable and skilled in this field.”

The OTTED’s mission is to protect and preserve the intellectual property assets of Vanderbilt University, licensing technology– inventions and innovations–developed by Vanderbilt’s faculty and staff, and assist in the start-up of companies that commercialize Vanderbilt technology.

“I am thrilled that Alan accepted our offer to lead technology transfer at Vanderbilt,” said McCarty. “[lquote]His experiences at a leading research university and at a distinguished center for medical research position him well to work with our outstanding Vanderbilt faculty.[/lquote]”

At Vanderbilt, Bentley will begin work with an already robust portfolio of activity. Research funding continues to grow in many research areas including: drug discovery, personalized medicine, biostatistics, prosthetics, engineering and education.

During fiscal year 2010, the OTTED was responsible for overseeing 133 invention disclosures from across the University, with 13 of these being transinstitutional where faculty from both the university and medical center collaborate on discovery. During this same period there were 110 total U.S. patents filed and 19 issued. Also during FY ’10, the OTTED interacted with 371 entities such as non-profit organizations, private companies, publicly traded companies and start-up or venture capital companies and was responsible for 65 licenses and options for Vanderbilt discoveries that resulted in more than $5.5 million in revenue.

“It is essential for our future, as our faculty continue to strive for discoveries that will improve the lives of not only those touched directly by Vanderbilt, but elsewhere around the world, that we act to further enhance our performance in the area of intellectual property rights. This is an important aspect of being good stewards of our university’s resources,” said Balser. “We are excited to have Alan join us as we increase our efforts in this area.”

During his tenure with the Cleveland Clinic, Bentley was responsible for directing the institution’s technology transfer activities, and also served as executive director for the Atrial Fibrillation Innovation Center, a $23 million research center dedicated to the development of novel strategies for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Prior to his tenure with the Cleveland Clinic, Bentley spent 12 years with the University of Virginia in a series of progressively responsible roles with the university’s Patent Foundation.

“Vanderbilt is an extraordinary institution in every sense,” Bentley said. “Its leadership has made a clear and convincing commitment to the rapid commercialization of the fruits of its research programs for the benefit of the public, and I am honored to be afforded the opportunity to contribute to this important effort.”

Bentley will be joined in Nashville by his wife Melanie along with their two children, Evan, 12, and Erin, 8.

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