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Communications and External Relations
Porto to head technology commercialization at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
OAK RIDGE, Tenn.,
Oct. 19, 2004
Catherine "Casey" Porto, associate vice president for technology transfer and executive director of Case Technology Ventures at Case Western Reserve University, has been named director of technology commercialization for Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Porto, who came to Case in February 2002 after six years in technology transfer at Carnegie Mellon University, will begin Jan. 3, 2005, at ORNL.
"Casey Porto's skill and experience will help us put ORNL technology together with industry to create jobs in Tennessee, boost the economy, and find solutions for some of the world's toughest problems," Alex Fischer, director of Technology Transfer and Economic Development at ORNL, said.
"Her technology transfer work at Case Western has garnered national attention. We welcome her to Oak Ridge and we are excited to have her onboard to help manage the migration of ORNL technology from the laboratory to the marketplace."
While at Case Western, Porto oversaw the establishment of a new technology transfer infrastructure, as well as a substantial expansion of the staff. In the year that ended June 30, 2004, the technology transfer office completed 18 license deals, created four startup companies based on university technologies and generated $11 million in licensing revenues. The university, through its seed fund Case Technology Ventures also invested a total of $300,000 in two of the four startup companies.
Augmenting Porto's technology commercialization effort at ORNL will be Battelle Ventures, a venture capital fund formed in 2003 to promote creation of companies from technologies that Battelle owns, manages or influences.
The fund, a 12-year partnership with committed funds of $150 million, is directed at seed and early stage technology opportunities.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to apply my technology transfer management experience to a $1 billion research facility," Porto said. "It will be difficult to leave the people at Case Western, but I feel as though I can't pass up this opportunity. Oak Ridge is world-renowned and a good fit for me personally because of my background in computational science."
ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy. The UT-Battelle Technology Transfer and Economic Development organization at ORNL helps businesses use the laboratory's world-class researchers and facilities and manages ORNL's vast portfolios of intellectual property, including licensing and patenting.
In the last four years, ORNL-developed technology has directly contributed to the start up of 43 companies, representing 200 new jobs, $15 million in revenue and $10 million in new capital investments in the year 2003.
Fischer said ORNL has invented and patented hundreds of technologies in biological and environmental sciences, computing and computational sciences, energy and engineering sciences, national security, and physical sciences. More than 800 research projects are underway at any given time.