What is technology transfer? Everybody has a different definition. Usually, people think it comes from the meaning of the word, “transfer,” and yes, who doesn’t understand the word “transfer?” Transfer school, transfer money from one account to another…etc, but technology transfer has a different meaning and definition.
Technology transfer is NOT one step transfer technology from A to B, from one place to another place, or from one company to another company. It is different from transferring money or other things. Technology transfer is transferring technology from lab to factory and finally to the market.
To transfer from lab to factory, you need patents, engineering design for a product or a big scale production method, factory design and testing, verification and validation, equipment, skilled workers, environmental consideration, law, and much more. To transfer from factory to market, you need regulatory approval, marketing, sales, post market surveillance, and much more. Everything I have mentioned here is a separate subject class in a college or even a department of the university, for which many people have a PhD. For example, regulatory approval could be further separated to detailed subjects such as: Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), risk management, packaging, labeling, submission documents handling, post market surveillance, etc.
My career path has taken me through all of the above processes, from lab to post market, so I hardly define myself as an expert in any of those fields. I call myself an “international technology transfer professional,” which includes everything, although I can only focus on one thing at a time.
As a scientist, you can see that there are a lot of things you can do in the industry. Technology transfer is not one step or a job that one person can accomplish. Every step during that long process is critical for the final success, especially for biotechnology transfer. One can guess how many technologies can really go to the market and be a success . Even if the technology is transferred to the market successfully, it still could fail and be recalled, such as pharmaceuticals, Vioxx, etc. This is a way full of challenges.