VAI Forming A Commercial Strategy

September 3, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Van Andel Institute is in the “very, very early” stages of forming a commercial division to bring new developments to the market.

Patrick Kelly, VAI’s vice president of communications and development, put the emphasis on “very, very early.”

“We’re really just organizing ourselves and setting up processes internally with staff to begin to catalogue things that look promising and then create a system that will evaluate things in a timely manner and act upon the ones that look the most promising.”

But from a commercialization standpoint, there’s nothing to report relative to a product that’s on the verge of going to market or anything like that, he said.

When that future time comes, VAI will likely bring products to the market through joint ventures or partnerships with venture capitalists or through the creation of spin-off businesses, Kelly said.

There’s also a possibility that VAI could develop and market products on its own.

“We just don’t know yet,” Kelly said. “If it looks like we could go on our own, we might. It just depends on the product and it will be done on a case-by-case basis. It’s just too hard to tell because you don’t know what those products or the future may hold.”

He reiterated that translational research is what the VAI does and that its intent has always been to translate its discoveries and therapies into treatments that can be taken to the market.

Kelly said any financial profits that result would be funneled back into the institute for continued research.

“We are beginning to patent things and develop some intellectual property that we think will have some commercial applications down the road,” he said.    

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