Catalytic Management Consulting
Accelerating Growth, Driving Performance

Speeding Technology Transfer Through Successful Business Development

Company Overview

The Research Ventures and Licensing division of a $1 billion integrated healthcare system selected Catalytic Management as their change partner. The technology transfer team has backgrounds in technology licensing, patenting, bench research, finance, funding, business, law and start-ups. Their role is to turn medical innovations and inventions into viable commercial products. Their work involves partnering with commercial pharmaceutical and medical device companies who license and then commercialize the inventions.

Business Challenge

Technology transfer is a highly competitive environment. Success requires strong business development skills and exceptional skill at building and sustaining long term commercial partner relationships. The client business development process was not standardized – each Licensing Manager had developed their own approach to business development with varying degrees of success. The team culture was somewhat ego driven as displayed in the belief that “our inventions are unique and our association with the top hospitals in the country means commercial partners come to us, we don’t have to sell.” While this enviable position certainly drives revenue, the reactive inwardly focused mind set hampered our client’s ability to grow licensing revenue to its full potential. This mind set also prevented the team from viewing the licensing process from the “customer’s” perspective and interfered with their ability to build in-depth long term relationships that would drive future licensing revenue.


Licensing Managers are now using a uniform business development process designed to meet the specific expectations of their prospects and are practicing advanced selling skills. Their current and prospective licensing partners are expressing more confidence in the team’s understanding of their business and in the team’s desire to assist them in meeting their goals. Business relationships are now focused on what is mutually beneficial which has resulted in improved partnerships. The uniform selling process and practice of the new skills is shortening the licensing process and leading to increased referrals to new partners.

Catalytic Management Solution

Our client is fortunate to have a team of highly educated scientists and lawyers who are experts in their respective fields. The challenge for our client was to overcome the differing business development approaches and to enhance the professional selling skills of their talented team. A key element of the solution had to focus on their customers, the pharmaceutical and medical device companies that are current or future partners.

Our work with the client began with a focus on understanding how their licensing partners wanted to do business and how they defined the business development process. Catalytic Management assessed existing partner relationships through customer interviews. The result was a clear definition of how to build and structure relationships for maximum short and long term revenue. Phase two of the work, involved developing and delivering customized business development education that introduced a standard selling process and skills for each process step including networking, purchasing styles, discovery questioning techniques, managing the complex sale and how to become a trusted advisor.