It is only since this year that organisations belonging to the Polish Academy of Sciences may establish companies to commercialize their scientific inventions. The present legal regulations have allowed the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy Sciences in Warsaw to take up shares in Scope Fluidics, a young spin-off company developing innovative microfluidic technologies.
The Institute of Physical Chemistry of the PAS (IPC PAS) in Warsaw became a co-owner of Scope Fluidics, a spin-off company pursuing scientific research and designing microfluidic devices for medical and biotechnological applications. The purchase of shares in the company was possible due to the last year’s amendment to the Act on the Institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
Because of legal barriers, until the end of 2010, the Academy’s Institutes were not allowed to set up companies to commercialize their own inventions. These limitations represented substantial hindrance to the transfer of scientific inventions to the industry and gaining additional funding for the research institutions. The amendment to the act took place in October last year. Now the IPC PAS has obtained the permission from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and could officially take up 10% shares in Scope Fluidics, a spin-off company that was established in the middle of last year.
“In the course of research work you can make a discovery, but you can not implement it into practice. The implementations require simply a plenty of work that can not be scientifically substantiated”, says Dr Piotr Garstecki, the research director and president of Scope Fluidics.
Prof. Hołyst, the managing director of the IPC PAS, emphasises that it is the role of a research institute to provide support to small companies trying to transfer scientific ideas to the industry. “In these activities we must keep within the limits of the common sense. We are interested in securing some future revenues from implementation of our inventions, but we do not want to manage the company. We are doing science, not business. That’s why ten percent is an adequate share”.
Scope Fluidics is a dynamic spin-off company operating in the IPC PAS campus. During one year of activity the number of company’s employees increased from one to nine. The company has just completed a few months long initial research program for an European industrial partner. They managed to successfully demonstrate that certain academic discoveries can be implemented in an industrial scale. “Now the company starts to perform a large contract for construction of prototype microfluidic systems”, stresses Marcin Izydorzak, the managing director of Scope Fluidics.
Prof. Hołyst sums up the taking up of shares in the first spin-off company by the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the PAS: “We managed to get to the point, where sound rules of cooperation make it possible to translate effectively scientific discoveries into industrial innovations. Rapid development of Scope Fluidics proves that it is a promising way. The most important is, however, that now we have an open way to effective cooperation with the industry”.
This press release was prepared thanks to the NOBLESSE grant under the activity “Research potential” of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.