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Oak Ridge technology making its mark in U.S.

 

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Dec. 20, 1996 — Technology developed at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and other Oak Ridge facilities is making a difference among U.S. industries, recently released statistics show.

A total of $18.3 million in commercial sales from Oak Ridge licensed technologies was reported for the 1996 fiscal year. This represents an increase of 18 percent over the 1995 figure. Also during the past fiscal year, the Office of Technology Transfer for Lockheed Martin executed 59 new cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) worth $48.6 million and executed 39 new licenses and two options for a total of 41 deals.

Technology Transfer activities at Oak Ridge played a major role in influencing six private companies to either relocate or open operations close to DOE facilities operated by Lockheed Martin.

Licenses, which are negotiated by members of the Office of Technology Transfer staff, can be either exclusive or non-exclusive, depending on the technology involved and the agreement reached by the licensing executive and the licensee. A license allows a company to use a technology, to manufacture a product, or both.

One example of a license issued recently is an optical biopsy system that uses a laser to determine if a tumor is malignant. The system, licensed to Optical Biopsy LLC, a subsidiary of Venture Alliance of Knoxville, and Pioneer Surgical of Loxahatchee, Fla., may soon replace conventional biopsy of cancers. It is already in use at the Thompson Cancer Survival Center in Knoxville.

Another example of a license issued last fiscal year is a button-sized lens system, which may allow for video cameras and transmitters no bigger than a microcassette (about 1x2x1/2 inch). This technology was licensed to Turtle Mountain Communications of Maryville.

Other noteworthy accomplishments for the 1996 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, include $1 million in royalty income from licenses and development of the first municipal CRADA with Los Angeles County. That CRADA focuses on solving water pollution problems caused by urban storm water.

Bill Martin, vice president, Office of Technology Transfer, is especially pleased with the number of CRADAs, which allow the contributors to collaborate on ideas, share costs and pool the results of a particular research and development program to bring technologies to the marketplace.

"This year, more than in the past, we had more private sector companies bring cash into Oak Ridge to support the cooperative research and development agreements compared to 'in-kind support' in previous years," Martin said. "This year, over $1.5 million was received."

While details of CRADAs vary, they all involve private partners who provide resources for the research effort while ORNL or other DOE laboratories provide personnel, facilities, equipment or other non-monetary resources. Customer surveys show they are pleased with the service provided," Martin said.

Martin is also gratified by the increase in CRADAs with small and disadvantaged businesses. The percentage increased from 50 percent in fiscal year 1995 to 64 percent last year.

In East Tennessee, Lockheed Martin Technology Transfer has worked with DOE/Oak Ridge Operations in the development of several municipal and local government partnerships. These include cooperation with Knoxville's Volunteer Landing and Waterfront Development Project and the memorandum of cooperation with Maryville and Blount County. The Volunteer Landing project will feature Oak Ridge-developed technology in the Gateway Pavilion. It is expected to be a centerpiece on the demonstration of technology to the public.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram research facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp. The Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant and K-25 Site are managed for DOE by Lockheed Martin Energy Systems.


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