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Commercialisation dividend

by Kelly Stone

ITEK CEO Stephen Rodda.UniSA’s technology commercialisation company ITEK has recently delivered a $13 million dividend to the university following the successful commercialisation and sale of several assets. At the same time, UniSA has invested back a significant portion into ITEK’s operations through a strategic restructure of the company.

Dr Stephen Rodda (pictured right), who was appointed as new CEO at ITEK in October 2011, says it clearly demonstrates the commitment of UniSA to technology commercialisation and highlights the importance of this on the university’s agenda for achieving goals under Horizon 2020 and ERA.

“Our mission is to translate the outcomes from research conducted at UniSA into products and services that benefit society, help to build the brand and reputation of the university as well as providing a commercial return,” Dr Rodda says.

“ITEK is also a conduit for linking UniSA to industry, where important relationships can be formed to help solve industry-specific problems through leveraging the world-class expertise and capabilities within the university.”

The company offers a variety of services including commercialisation and legal advice; research collaboration and networks; intellectual property management; product licensing, company formations and capital-raising.

“We may also support the development of commercially viable IP and projects within UniSA through our own funding schemes,” he says.

Dr Rodda says ITEK, which is 100 per cent owned by UniSA, is quite unique from technology commercialisation companies at other universities.

“Specifically, the structure and focus of ITEK enables us to act quickly and decisively to capitalise on opportunities with the aim of maximising the benefit for UniSA,” he says.

“This also enables us to be creative and engage with industry in innovative ways to secure significant funds to support research within the university and have defined pathways for commercialisation of the research outcomes through the industry partner.”

The company continually focuses on strengthening the commercial portfolio.

“A good example of our current projects is the discovery of a single gene mutation resulting in benign familial infantile epilepsy. The identification of this gene will allow clinicians improved screening, diagnosis and treatment for vulnerable infants suffering from seizures,” Dr Rodda says.

ITEK staff members Philipp Dautel, Peter Harriss and JC Tan.As well as welcoming a new CEO, ITEK has welcomed a number of other staff members, including two Commercial Managers and a Marketing Officer.

Peter Harriss and JC Tan (pictured middle to right), have been appointed as Commercial Managers. Harriss, who has previously worked for ITEK spin-off company Cohda Wireless, is responsible for the evaluation and commercialisation of new technologies, particularly in the ICT market space. Tan, an intellectual property specialist, is responsible for intellectual property management and commercialisation.

Marketing Officer Philipp Dautel (pictured above, on the left), who has previously executed marketing strategies for the IT and high-tech industries in Germany, is responsible for ITEK’s marketing, internal educational seminars and PR.

More information about ITEK is available at www.itek.com.au.