Innovative Programs in Technology Transfer: An Overview of Cedars-Sinai’s Technology Transfer International Program and Its Complementary Diagnostic Development Unit, 3rd Street Diagnostics

James D. Lau, Vice President for Legal & Technology Affairs, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA
Nirdesh K. Gupta, Ph.D., Director – IP Portfolio Management & Licensing, Technology Transfer, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA
Alexander Chai, Assistant Legal Counsel, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA

Technology transfer offices at nonprofit academic medical centers face many challenges in their mission to protect and commercialize the intellectual property developed at their institutions. To address these challenges and ultimately improve the quality of life for patients around the world, the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, has initiated two innovative and complementary programs. The first of these programs is the TTO’s International Program, which focuses on building partnerships with institutions outside the United States to expand technology transfer globally. The program’s goals center on exchanging best practices with its international peer organisations, accessing global markets and identifying opportunities for investments.

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USA Intellectual Property Healthcare December 2016 Vol.10, No. 37, Autumn 2016

James Lau


James D. Laur is the Vice President for Legal & Technology Affairs for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Mr. Laur has been a member of Cedars-Sinai’s Legal Affairs Department since 1991 and is the institution’s senior intellectual property counsel. Since 1994, Mr. Laur has played a leadership role in Cedars-Sinai's Technology Transfer Office, which has earned over $150 million in royalty income from its licensing program over the past ten years. Mr. Laur has also been instrumental in structuring more than a half dozen spin-off companies based on early-stage technologies from Cedars-Sinai's research laboratories, including Zynx Health Inc., Prometheus Laboratories and Savacor Inc. Mr. Laur holds dual bachelor degrees, with honors, from the University of California, Los Angeles in political science and philosophy. He earned his doctorate of law degree, cum laude, from Boston College Law School and is a member of the State Bar of California.

Nirdesh K. Gupta


Nirdesh K. Gupta, Ph.D., is the Director of IP Portfolio Management & Licensing for Cedars-Sinai’s Technology Transfer Office. Dr. Gupta leads a team of licensing professionals involved in the commercialization of Cedars-Sinai’s intellectual property. Dr. Gupta is responsible for a portfolio of over 400 technologies and leads the office’s invention procurement and assessment process, patent and commercialization strategy, business development and licensing negotiations. Dr. Gupta also manages the development of technologies supported through the Tech Transfer Internal Fund, which is dedicated to enhancing the commercial viability of Cedars-Sinai’s technologies. Dr. Gupta is a committee member of the Business Advisory Council of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and serves as a member on the Innovation and Competitiveness Task Force of ESCAP.

Alexander Chai


Alexander Y. Chai is the Assistant Legal Counsel for Cedars-Sinai's Technology Transfer Office. Mr. Chai provides legal services to Cedars-Sinai's Technology Transfer Office with a focus on corporate transactions and intellectual property law. Mr. Chai earned his bachelor of science degree in biology, with departmental and college honors, from the University of California, Los Angeles and received his doctorate of law degree from Boston College Law School. He is a member of the State Bar of California.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center


Cedars-Sinai is one of the largest nonprofit academic medical centers in the United States with 886 licensed beds, 2,100 physicians, 3,000 nurses and thousands of other healthcare professionals and staff. Cedars-Sinai has evolved to meet the healthcare needs of one of the most diverse regions in the world, continually setting new standards in quality and innovation in patient care, research, teaching and community service. Clinical programs range from primary care for preventing, diagnosing and treating common conditions to specialized treatments for rare, complex and advanced illnesses. Renown for transforming healthcare for the benefit of its patients, Cedars-Sinai is a leader in the clinical care and research of heart disease, cancer and brain disorders, among other areas. Pioneering research achievements include using cardiac stem cells to repair damaged hearts, developing minimally invasive surgical techniques and discovering new types of drugs to target cancer more precisely.

USA Intellectual Property Healthcare December 2016 Vol.10, No. 37, Autumn 2016

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