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For years, technology companies in California’s Silicon Valley have operated innovation labs—concentrations of smart people who come up with bold, problem-solving ideas and then figure out how to develop them into marketable products and services.

Much the same thing is happening in Alabama’s Jones Valley, where the giant innovation lab known as UAB is fueling the growth of Birmingham’s biomedical industry. Discoveries by School of Medicine researchers sow the seeds for groundbreaking drugs, procedures, and technologies that can change patients’ lives for the better. Technology transfer helps to grow those seeds by cultivating further research and commercial opportunities that bring treatment breakthroughs from the scientific world to the physician’s office. The process, which may take the form of a licensing agreement with a manufacturer or even an entirely new start-up company, pays many dividends: Patients benefit from new medical innovations; UAB earns funds to reinvest in research, clinical care, and education; and the local and state economies enjoy a high-tech boost.

The School of Medicine’s collaborative approach to research has inspired a similar approach to technology transfer, says Robert P. Kimberly, M.D., senior associate dean for research and the Howard L. Holley Research Chair in Rheumatology. A group of organizations—both within and outside UAB—work together to facilitate the process. Because each discovery is different, the technology transfer process can adapt, involving all collaborators or just a few.

“The UAB community brings together true partners,” Kimberly says. “Each brings its own scientific perspective and expertise and helps us to define where the opportunities are, anticipate where the potholes will be, and maximize the opportunity while minimizing the pitfalls.” Here is an overview of the key players in technology transfer and what they do to help bring UAB’s discoveries to the public:

Paving the Way for Discovery
The UAB Center for Clinical and Translational Science builds partnerships for progress.

Double Strength
Southern Research Institute's productive partnership with UAB

Bridging Gaps, Meeting Needs
The Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance helps promising treatments gain momentum.


Public Partner
Q&A with the Birmingham Business Alliance's vice president for innovation and technology

Countdown to Success
Checking in with two start-ups born from School of Medicine research


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