TTBD Industry Spotlight: Pitching to industry

Building partnerships between academic and corporate institutions is a mutually beneficial endeavor. These types of alliances have the potential to innovate and solve many medical, scientific, and health-related issues. Universities can bring a wealth of knowledge and research expertise, while partnering corporations provide the resources and connections necessary to help that research flourish. Although the paths to these partnerships can vary by institution, scientific alignment is the foundation of prosperous relationships.

The pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotech industries have a long history of collaboration with academia. When the goals of both parties are aligned, successful, long-term partnerships are much more likely to develop. The common paths taken for academic-corporate partnerships include:

  • Companies collaborating directly with individual faculty that may have unique expertise or resources
  • Faculty submitting either solicited or unsolicited proposals followed by internal evaluation and selection by the industry partner
  • An organization-to-organization broad, strategic relationship involving multiple projects
  • Consortia of companies and/or academic organizations

How can the success of these partnerships be ensured? First, both parties must be clear in outlining their goals up front in order to make the process as transparent as possible. Communication is critical when developing a new partnership. Second, decision makers must be accessible and openly supportive of development of the relationship. Third, project managers with strong collaboration skills and the necessary bandwidth in their schedules should be assigned to developing and maintaining the relationship.

There are few things to keep in mind when beginning this process:

  • When you find a potential prospect, it is important to remain flexible and responsive.
  • Due diligence at the beginning is normal and takes time.
  • Remember that most industry RFPs do not get funded, but often times feedback is provided, including options for re-submission.
  • Be patient. Relationship development can be a lengthy process as both institutions get to know each other.

TTBD periodically sends out Requests for Proposals solicited by different pharmaceutical and medical device companies. We encourage you to look at their websites for submission criteria in your areas of interest. Contact us if you plan on submitting a proposal and/or are in need of any guidance.

For more information, please contact our office at