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Academic science in the marketplace

New book offers an inside look at how research insights make the leap to application

Special events

Date: April 11, 2019
Weizmann Magazine Vol. 15
Prof. David Mirelman holding the book's Hebrew edition

Prof. David Mirelman holding the book's Hebrew edition

When scientific breakthroughs happen in academic research laboratories, how are they brought to the marketplace for the benefit of all? Professor Emeritus David Mirelman explores this topic in his recently released book, Not for Profit: The Business of Academic Scientific Research.

A former Chairman of Yeda, the Weizmann Institute’s technology transfer arm, and former Institute Vice President for Technology Transfer, Prof. Mirelman offers an inside look at the successes and challenges of the Institute’s tech transfer process, drawing on examples from his personal experiences.

Not for Profit traces the Weizmann Institute’s expertise in patenting and licensing key scientific discoveries back to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the Institute’s founder and Israel’s first President. Dr. Weizmann set in motion the tech transfer process more than 80 years ago, with a two-pronged approach to nurturing basic research and enabling key discoveries to make their way to the marketplace. This approach has become a fundamental driver of the Institute’s leading role in the transfer of scientific inventions. 

During Prof. Mirelman’s tenure at the helm of Yeda, the tech-transfer arm licensed intellectual property that enabled the development of blockbuster drugs including Copaxone®, Humira®, Rebif®, Remicade®, and Enbrel®, and encryption algorithms for satellite TV programs and secure online transactions. 

“While the stories describe the complex process of moving discoveries into the marketplace, I believe the book is in fact a timely reminder of the invaluable importance of basic academic research as the essential starting point of discovery,” says Prof. Mirelman, of the Department of Biomolecular Sciences. “Only in academia can scientists truly cast a wide net in exploring the natural and exact sciences, and have the intellectual freedom which sometimes leads to serendipitous insights and unexpected discoveries that benefit humanity.”

Not for Profit was released in Hebrew and English by Ofir Bikurim Publishers. It is also available at the Weizmann Institute Levinson Visitors Center.