Technology Valuation Instructors

AUTM Annual Meeting

Technology Valuation Course Instructors

Steven M. Ferguson currently serves as the Deputy Director, Licensing and Entrepreneurship. Prior to joining NIH Office of Technology Transfer in 1990, Mr. Ferguson served in marketing and management positions in biomedical firms subsequent to being a scientist at the National Cancer Institute. His healthcare experience has also included work as Director of Marketing and Public Relations for a rural 70-bed hospital. Registered to practice before the USPTO and a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP), Mr. Ferguson also holds Master's Degrees in Business Administration (George Washington University) and Chemistry (University of Cincinnati) as well as Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry (Case Western Reserve University). Mr. Ferguson has been an economic reviewer for Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) as well as the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grant programs and is an instructor for both the USDA Graduate School and the NIH FAES Graduate School where he is also the department chair for the new Certificate in Technology Transfer Program. Mr. Ferguson was also the Susan T. and Charles E. Harris Visiting Lecturer at the Watson School of Biological Sciences at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and has published articles on licensing and technology transfer issues.

RubĂ©n Flores-Saaib is Associate Director of Licensing, bringing more than 15 years of experience in both corporate and academic research, business development, and technology commercialization. Most recently, he was the Director of the Office of Innovation and Commercialization at UC San Diego, leading a team of 18 licensing, intellectual property, marketing managers and assistant directors at the largest technology transfer office of the UC system. During his tenure, the OIC doubled the annual number of startups and increased licenses by 50 percent. Flores-Saaib’s previous experience includes positions with Biosite (now Inverness), Chemicon (now Millipore-Sigma), and the Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. In 2016 he co-founded the San Diego Innovation Council, a nonprofit organization that brings together academic research technology transfer offices in San Diego along with investors, incubators, and government programs supporting academic startups. Flores-Saaib earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA, where he studied the molecular basis of embryological development.

Michael Sharer serves as Associate Vice President for Commercialization at Texas A&M University Innovation Partners. He previously served as the Manager of Technology Commercialization, and Manager of New Ventures & Regional Engagement for Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS), LLC. He came to LLNS from Western Michigan University (WMU), where he was the founding Director of Intellectual Property (IP) Management & Commercialization. In total, Michael has over 20 years of experience making and overseeing investment decisions in early-stage technologies and in managing all aspects of the commercialization process. During this period, he has negotiated numerous license agreements and has helped launch numerous start-up companies in a wide variety of industries and markets. He also had the opportunity to participate in angel investor training and served for several years on the board of a pre-seed stage investment fund, and subsequently co-founded an early-stage venture investment company. He started his career as a Project Manager at a consulting fi rm in the pharma/biotech industry, and later became a Licensing Manager at the University of Michigan for over 5 years. He has a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in business from Purdue University.

Debora Stewart is a CPA and the Managing Director of InvotexIP. InvotexIP is a consulting firm that specializes in royalty compliance. Debbie has been working in the Intellectual Property Consulting world for over 30 years. Arguably, Debbie has personally managed more royalty audits than anyone else in the industry. She has worked with clients and their counsel testifying to both damages in IP infringement matters as well as breach of contract issues revolving around IP Licenses. About 20 years ago Debbie saw the need for a specialized royalty audit firm to work in the complex technology space with clients that were interested in receiving their appropriate royalties while maintaining a positive relationship with their Licensees. This was the catalyst for InvotexIP. The firm’s practice philosophy is one of polite persistence. Her firm is known for their publications of their royalty audit findings statistics as well as their ability to uncover large underpayments while relationships are preserved. With a dedicated staff of experienced royalty audit experts and resources around the world, InvotexIP works with some the world’s most prestigious universities and research institutions as well as the world’s largest for-profit licensing organizations.

Gayatri Varma is Senior Director, Transactions, Business Development & Licensing, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca where she works on in and out-licensing, clinical trial collaborations. She previously served in a similar capacity within AstraZeneca’s BioPharmaceuticals R&D group. She joined the BioPharmaceuticals group after three years as Director of Partnering & Strategy at MedImmune, the early stage biologics R&D arm of AstraZeneca where she lead business development activities for MedImmune’s Respiratory therapy area. She also engaged in large-scale collaborations with academia and government.

Prior to joining MedImmune, Gayatri was the Executive Director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Maryland. There she oversaw the technology transfer operations including licensing and patenting activities and was involved in developing and amending policies, as well as initiating new programs. She started her career in technology transfer at the University of Maryland as a licensing associate in the life sciences.

Gayatri has a Ph.D. in Molecular & Cell Biology and Masters and Undergraduate degrees in Microbiology. She is also has the RTTP designation and is a registered patent agent.

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