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Technology Development Office

BC Cancer has a provincial mandate to effect cancer control for the province.
What we do

We help fulfil the BC Cancer mandate by promoting: 

  • Discoveryto find out what one did not previously know
  • Innovationthe introduction of something new - 
  • Technology developmentthe maturation of technology from the bench to the bedside

The BC Cancer mandate cannot be realized via current methods of cancer treatment that are aimed at treatment of late stage disease. Consequently, BC Cancer emphasizes translational research to spearhead new modalities in cancer research, particularly those aimed at early detection and therapeutic interventions at stages where there is greater chance of effecting true cancer control. To this end, BC Cancer has set up the Technology Development Office to champion its intellectual property management and commercialization.


The TDO works very closely with researchers to take promising inventions or discoveries to market. TDO also manages the relationship between scientists, clinicians and industry partners to promote the development of relationships and to explore opportunities for translating discoveries into innovations. As a result of these internal and external demands, the TDO operates under the following guiding principles:

  • Transfer technology from researchers to the clinic
  • Work within a framework of fairness and equity for scientists, clinicians and external partners
  • Ensure that technology transfer does not inhibit basic science and the scientific process
  • Function as a networking resource connecting industry with the research and technology expertise of BC Cancer

BC Cancer has established formal affiliations with the local universities and institutions of BC to fuel collaboration, development and innovation to combat cancer. BC Cancer, together with these organizations, will advance research into what causes cancer, how to improve cancer treatments and how to control and cure the disease. Affiliations have been established with:

The TDO provides a range of technology development services to BC Cancer scientists:


Research Agreements and Contracts
The TDO drafts, negotiates and executes agreements on behalf of BC Cancer and BC Cancer researchers with external institutions and commercial entities. Note that individual scientists and BC Cancer personnel are not usually authorized to sign agreements with external parties and so doing may expose themselves to legal liabilities. The TDO is responsible for preparing and signing:

  • Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)
  • Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)
  • Service Agreements
  • Collaborative Research Agreements (CRAs)

Research Partnering
The TDO acts as a networking and information resource to assist BC Cancer scientists seeking industry expertise for specified projects. We help bring together parties with mutual interests for collaborative efforts and will aid in identifying sources of private and government funding.

Technology Screening
The TDO assists BC Cancer researchers in evaluating new technological developments for feasibility and commercial potential.

Intellectual Property Protection
The TDO maintains a comprehensive listing of all BC Cancer intellectual property. TDO staff assist BC Cancer scientists in protecting the intellectual property rights through active patent, copyright and trademark registration programs.

Technology Commercialization
In addition to maintain a list of all available BC Cancer technologies, the TDO markets this portfolio to industry for licensing, collaborative research endeavours and joint development.

Start-up Assistance
The TDO promotes the creation of knowledge-based ventures by highlighting opportunities for commercial development. It helps align BC Cancer scientists with management personnel and investors. 



Invention Disclosure

Disclosure (pre-set forms); an aid to the disclosure process helps both the inventor and the TDO better characterize the invention and its potential field of use/utility. The technology or product is clearly described in terms of its function, stage of development, hindrances to further development, advantages/disadvantages compared to other similar products, etc. In addition, this disclosure serves as an assignment of rights from the inventor to BC Cancer. This disclosure is presented to the BC Cancer Patent Committee, a select group of senior scientists at the BC Cancer with experience in IP protection and commercialization, for evaluation. The Patent Committee recommends a course of action which may include the following options: not to pursue; further scientific or clinical development; or the protection of the invention and start of the commercialization process.

The completed invention disclosure form should be forwarded to Ron Lauener, Technology Manager, or Patrick Rebstein, Senior Manager, Intellectual Property,, in electronic format as well as an original copy signed by the inventor and the appropriate department head.

Please contact Ron Lauener or Patrick Rebstein and they will provide you with the template.

Non-Disclosure Agreement

A Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), also known as a Confidentiality Agreement, is a contract between two parties requiring the recipient of confidential information to hold that information confidential. In the event of public disclosure, the recipient could be sued for breach of contract.

A NDA should be signed whenever confidential information is released. An agreement should always be signed by a new employee, anyone visiting labs (detailed visits) or anyone who receives business plans or other confidential documents. NOTE: Always mark everything CONFIDENTIAL in order for it to be restricted under the non-disclosure agreement.

Please contact us and we will prepare a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Material Transfer Agreement

A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a contract that governs the transfer of one or more materials from the owner to or authorized licensee to an institution for research purposes. Materials may include cultures, cell lines, plasmids, nucleotides, proteins, bacteria, transgenic animals, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals. Generally the terms and conditions in a MTA include:

  • Definition of the material
  • Restrictions on recipient's use of the material
  • Provider's rights to inventions and research results
  • Recipient's obligation of confidentiality
  • Provider's access to reports and publications
  • Warranty disclaimer and indemnification

Source: Brian Leslie, AUTM Educational Series: Material Transfer Agreements, 1998.

Please contact us and we will prepare a Material Transfer Agreement. 



Employees of BC Cancer should note that the PHSA Intellectual Property Policy applies to any technology transfer activities conducted at all BC Cancer sites. If you have any questions, please contact TDO.


Why we do it

TDO's vision is to contribute to the development of Intellectual Property created by the scientists, clinicians and technologists of BC Cancer by protecting the IP through patenting and other means with the goal of improving patient outcomes through the application of new knowledge. 

The role of the TDO is to maximize commercial opportunities without inhibiting the scientific process. Both the inventors and BC Cancer share in the benefits of the commercialization process. 

When breakthrough technologies are identified, TDO nurtures the entrepreneurial spirit of the scientists and research clinicians at BC Cancer and encourages and assists them to actively participate in the spin-off companies that emerge. Universities, hospitals and corporations are all involved in the development of new ideas that lead to new innovations, products and services. Over the past twenty years, Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan have established sophisticated processes to transfer ideas from academic institutions and hospitals into industry. This transfer is done primarily by Technology Transfer Offices and involves a number of methods including licensing agreements, joint ventures or start-up of new "spin-off" companies.

In 1998, Canadian research institutions received over 13 million dollars (US) in licensing income and 58 start-up companies were formed. In the same year, licensing agreements in the US generated $33.5 billion in economic activity and supported 280,000 jobs. Many of the technology transfer patents result in products such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology products, software programs, and agricultural products that both enhance the lives of people and provide economic benefits for the universities and hospitals.

Since the 1980's, BC Cancer has been a part of the technology transfer trend with the development of patents, licenses and spin-off companies. However, until recently BC Cancer has not had a co-ordinated approach to technology transfer. In 1998, the BC Cancer Foundation and BC Cancer Executive and Boards of Directors identified the need to support Intellectual Property development and technology transfer. As a result, the Technology Development Office was formed in September 1998.

Who we are
Sarah Jane Lee, MBA, BSc 


Ms. Lee joined the TDO team in June 1999. Her primary role is to identify and assess the feasibility of intellectual property for commercialization as well as assist in the development business models for the commercialization process. Ms. Lee earned a Bachelor of Science, specializing in Human Nutrition, from the University of British Columbia, in 1995 and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Saskatchewan, in 1998. In addition to her role at the BC Cancer, Sarah also managed a consulting company, SmartStart Business Resources from 2000 to 2003 and continues to provide consulting services for a number of independent ventures including a management consulting practice focused on business planning for early stage companies. Sarah is an annual participant and mentor for the Telus New Ventures judge panel. 

Telephone: (604) 675-8189

Patrick Rebstein, PhD 

Senior Manager, Intellectual Property

Dr. Rebstein joined the TDO team in July 2004. He works with scientists and clinicians at BC Cancer to enable the scientific development of intellectual property. 

Dr. Rebstein received his MSc in Medical Biophysics at the Ontario Cancer Institute (University of Toronto) and his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia. He joined the Biochemistry group at Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals as a research scientist in 1997. In 2001 he joined Active Pass Pharmaceuticals and in 2004 was promoted to Director of Drug Discovery. Dr Rebstein has over seven years of industry experience in the drug discovery process. This experience allows him to enable the further development of initial exciting discovery research, guide the translation of research findings into the clinic, and evaluate the commercial potential of scientific discoveries. 

Telephone: (604) 675-8000 ext. 7718 

James Schlosser, MSc 

Senior Manager, Business Development & Contracts

Mr. Schlosser joined the TDO in early 2009 as an Officer, Business Development & Contracts and was appointed Senior Manager, Business Development & Contracts in 2012.  Prior to joining TDO, Mr. Schlosser participated in the WestLink Internship program through WestLink Innovation Network.  During this internship, he had placements at Lions Capital (a venture capital firm), BC Cancer (TDO) and Perceptronix Medical Inc. (a spin‐off company of BC Cancer).  Previously, Mr. Schlosser has held positions at UBC Wine Research Centre/AGCanada as a Project Coordinator and Viticulture Research Technician.  He holds a BSc(Biol) from UVic, BSc(Honours) in Oenology & Viticulture and an MSc(Biol) from Brock University. 

Telephone: (250) 712-3966 x686743  

Ron Lauener, PhD 

Technology Manager

Dr. Lauener joined the TDO team in December 2002 as Scientific Development Officer. In this role he works with scientists and clinicians at BC Cancer to assist in the scientific development of intellectual property, fuelling translational research as well as the commercial potential of discoveries. 

Dr. Lauener received a BSc in Chemistry from Simon Fraser University, an MSc in Genetics and Ph.D in Experimental Medicine from the University of British Columbia. He joined Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals as a senior scientist in 1997 and managed several research/pre-clinical stage projects with a focus on drug discovery and development of small molecule therapeutics. He also served as Divisional Leader for the Biochemistry group. Dr. Lauener has over five years industry experience in translating discovery research through to clinical proof-of-principle. 

Telephone: (604) 675-8197

Karen Novik, PhD 

Senior Manager, Business Development & Contracts
Tel: 604-675-8000 ext. 7711

Lisa Raeburn, MSc

Officer, Business Development & Contracts

Tanya Zemlyanska, MA

Agreement Administrator
Tel: 604-675-8198

Winnie So, BSc MBA

Officer, Business Development & Contracts

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