The disparate goals and roles of research and commercialization require partnerships to actively develop commercial opportunities that would otherwise remain unrealized. Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI) was established in 2012 as an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation to facilitate the translation of innovative marine-related discoveries into products and services to benefit North Carolina’s economy. Below we highlight our key achievements.
By combining a regional focus with a global perspective, MBCOI has unified NC’s marine biotechnology community and established itself as the NEXUS for information, collaboration, and commercialization of marine biotechnologies among our stakeholders, both domestically and internationally.
- Established a team with subject matter expertise and three regional offices to support the marine biotechnology cluster
- Executed more than 80 formal agreements with partners in NC and beyond
- Connected more than 100 stakeholders to funding opportunities, business partners, and collaborators that would not have occurred without MBCOI’s efforts
Marine Assets Inventory
North Carolina is recognized as a powerhouse in marine related research but lacked a unified approach to identify its assets. MBCOI conducted in depth reviews of more than 200 people and technologies to create an inventory system for these assets. This proactive, personal engagement helped to establish MBCOI as the nexus for marine biotechnology in NC.
- Created a custom, relational database that includes intellectual capital (faculty expertise, current areas of research) and intellectual property (know-how, trade secrets, invention disclosures, patents)
- Triaged assets for commercial potential
- Secured contract with UNC-GA to establish controlled vocabulary with extensive search capabilities
- Participated in the AAAS review of UNC’s marine science programs and led UNC-GA’s working group to create a framework for an inventory of all marine related assets in the UNC system
MBCOI has established its brand regionally, nationally, and internationally by implementing focused marketing strategies to elevate its visibility and that of North Carolina’s marine sciences.
- Raised the visibility of marine biotechnology in NC through speaking engagements, conferences, meetings, website, newsletters, media campaigns, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- Served as a founding member of the Biomarine International Cluster Association (BICA) which enables MBCOI to serve as the conduit for the global exchange of ideas and collaborative projects
BioMarine serves as a platform to bring together key decision makers in the marine bioresources sectors and allow them to diversify their knowledge, strengthen their existing partnerships, and build new opportunities. The impact of the 2015 BioMarine Business Convention on NC’s economy will continue to be realized over many years as the outcomes of the networking opportunities come to fruition.
- Partnered with NCBiotech Southeastern office to attract BioMarine 2015 to Wilmington, NC, the first time it was held in the USA
- Obtained support from numerous organizations including the Governor’s office, Department of Commerce, Economic Development Partnership, City of Wilmington, and 9 private sponsors
- Attracted ~200 representatives from 19 countries with extensive networking (including 285 requests for individual meetings); offered live web streaming to as many as 65,000 people online; provided opportunities for 15 small companies (5 from NC) to present at an Investment Workshop
- Brought unprecedented national and international recognition to NC’s marine biotechnology sector
- Provided new opportunities for collaborations and business relationships for NC stakeholders, and highlighted NC for re-location of businesses
MBCOI has leveraged its broad network of scientific and business partners to successfully combine resources (people & technologies) from multiple institutions (public and private) and advance translation of research. To date, MBCOI has benefited from $411,049 in cash and in kind services as a result of its activities with both industry and academia.
- Developed a strategic partnering plan to promote access to technology platforms with significant commercial and strategic value to MBCOI and our stakeholders
Technology company: contracted MBCOI to market access to their novel bioinformatics platform; provided in kind services to advance development of a multi-institutional project that led to a subsequent award of ~$700,000 to the PI whereby MBCOI serves as the business development partner; additional grants pending
NCSU Center for Marine Sciences and Technology: contracted MBCOI to market access to their Marine Magnetic Resonance Facility and currently in discussions with a major AgBiotech company
Literature Search Company: contracted MBCOI to develop marketing materials and promote its novel literature informatics & patent tool which led several contracts with a European Fortune 500 company
- Identified aquaculture as an area for significant growth in NC and conducted a workshop to vet opportunities; obtained financial support from three different sources to support an in-depth analysis of NC’s current portfolio; engaged by private company to develop business model for seafood processing and a path to create an aquaculture incubator/accelerator.
- Provided business services to more than 30 faculty, entrepreneurs and small businesses including assistance with patents, refining business strategies, establishing corporate partnerships, and company start-up
- Participated in the Wilmington/Carolina Coast Innovation Council’s successful application as one of five cities to receive $250,000 in support services from the Innovate NC program to further development of the region’s life science and marine biotechnology assets
- Partnered with NCEast Alliance to submit a proposal to the SBA’s Regional Cluster Initiative entitled “Catch a Rising Tide: Growing Small Businesses in the Marine Biotechnology Cluster”; though not one of the 3 awarded out of 43 applications, the reviewers were very positive and encouraged us to re-apply