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�We look at universities as a subculture in a barter economy.�

Dr. Tim Cook, Oxford graduate and managing director of Isis, the first spin-off technology transfer company wholly owned by the University of Oxford in England, says commercialization �should not interfere with teaching or with the acquisition of new knowledge or research. We look at universities as a subculture in a barter economy.�

The role of a university is to grow intellectual property that must be used for public benefit, according to Dr. Raymond Dwek the director of Oxford�s Glycobiology Institute and co-holder of more than 70 patents. Research universities are essential to nurturing the talent that could devise cures, but the academic world has been hesitant to forge ties with industry, he admits.

In the U.S., the Association of University Technology Managers was formed in the 1970s in response to concerns that inventions funded by the government were not being commercialized effectively. The association, which facilitates collaboration between industry and universities, represents more than 350 universities and research institutions to help in licensing innovations.