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Researchers & Clinicians

If you’re involved in any research project that may produce results with potential use to health care, industry, or the public at large, you should be thinking about technology commercialization. PHSA’s Technology Development Office can help you.

The PHSA Technology Development Office (TDO) is located at BC Cancer. 

The TDO's management of intellectual property (IP) ensures that innovations arising from research are identified, evaluated, protected and leveraged into working solutions that benefit both patients and PHSA. The TDO provides contract review and negotiation on behalf of PHSA, ensuring that the appropriate policies and guidelines are addressed.

Who we serve

All PHSA staff

The TDO is available to provide strategic advice to any PHSA researcher, clinician or technologist regarding their work and its potential for technology development. We can help you decide if and when your IP should be protected, offer ideas about potential opportunities, and provide guidance for developing your innovation in the most productive way.

BC Cancer researchers

A large proportion of technology development at PHSA is generated by research discoveries made at BC Cancer. The University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) have agreements with BC Cancer that allow BC Cancer researchers with UBC or SFU affiliations to work directly with the TDO for IP and commercialization.

If you're a BC Cancer researcher, please contact the TDO when:

  • You make a novel discovery and you need to submit an invention disclosure form
  • You initiate contact with or are contacted by industry, outside institutions, government and other non-profit groups to discuss possible research collaborations
  • You wish to transfer or receive research materials or data from other institutions or from industry and you need a material transfer agreement(MTA) or a Data Transfer Agreement (DTA) (complete questionnaire for supplying or receiving materials or data under Forms - PHSA Technology Development Office)
  • Your funded project involves multiple institutions and you require inter-institutional funding transfers and sub-grant agreements

IP created at BC Cancer must be disclosed to the TDO. The TDO will work with the researcher to meet patent policy and contractual requirements of disclosure, keeping in mind underlying university affiliations.  See PHSA IP Policy (PDF) for more information.

Non-university researchers

TDO provides IP and commercialization services and support to all researchers, clinicians and technologists who work at a PHSA program but are not affiliated with a university.


TDO provides a range of technology development services:

The TDO works on behalf of researchers and PHSA to draft, negotiate and execute agreements with external institutions and commercial entities. Note that individual scientists and PHSA personnel are not usually authorized to sign agreements with external parties and, in so doing, may expose themselves to legal liabilities.

Please contact us for preparation and negotiation of the following agreements and contracts:

Non-disclosure agreement

Also known as a confidentiality agreement, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract 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. An NDA should be signed before confidential information is released.

NDAs can involve the exchange of confidential information from/to both parties (two-way) or one-way.

Material transfer agreement

A material transfer agreement (MTA) is a written contract between a provider and a recipient of research material. They can be between academic, government and commercial organizations. MTAs:

  • Establish terms for the use of research materials
  • Monitor users and deter unauthorized transfer of materials to third parties
  • Regulate ownership of further IP generated from the use of the material
  • Warn about the use of material and have users assume liabilities for their use of the material
If you require an MTA, your first step is to download and complete the TDO's Material Transfer Agreement Questionnaire to Receive or Material Transfer Agreement Questionnaire to Supply (see Forms). This information will help us prepare appropriate documentation for you.  If you have received an MTA from another entity, please forward it to the TDO ( for review.

Funding/sub-grant agreement

Some projects funded by government granting agencies involve multiple institutions. To facilitate this, TDO provides inter-institutional funding transfers and sub-grant agreements. To get started, please complete a sub-award/subcontract request (see Forms) and submit it to the TDO ( 

Service contract

Under service contracts, researchers perform specific, often routine tasks, to test, evaluate or analyze materials supplied by the sponsor, but do not generally provide any analysis of the data generated by performing these tasks.

Collaborative research agreement

Collaborative research agreements (CRAs) - provide for the conduct of directed, collaborative or joint research of mutual interest to the researcher and the company with shared rights and access to the results. There is an expectation that there may be new or incremental IP developed within the project.

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

The TDO assists researchers in evaluating new technologies for commercial feasibility and potential.

The TDO maintains a comprehensive listing of all BC Cancer intellectual property. TDO staff assist BC Cancer researchers (and non-university researchers at PHSA) in protecting the IP rights through active patent, copyright and trademark registration programs.

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

The TDO promotes the creation of knowledge-based ventures by highlighting opportunities for commercial development. It helps align researchers with management personnel and investors. 

TDO assists researchers in evaluating new technologies for commercial feasibility and potential.

Reporting an invention

If your research results in the development of a novel technology or product, you will need to submit an Invention Disclosure Form to TDO (contact Patrick Rebstein ( or Ron Lauener ( You must disclose before you sell, license, or otherwise assign your invention.

Reporting an invention helps both the inventor and the TDO better characterize the invention and determine its potential field of use/utility. Disclosure requires the technology or product to be 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 you to BC Cancer as described in the BC Cancer Patent Policy (PDF).

Your disclosure will be reviewed by the TDO. The TDO will evaluate it, and may recommend that:

  • the invention should not be pursued further and does not require IP protection or commercialization;
  • the invention should undergo further scientific or clinical development before commercialization can begin; or
  • the invention is ready for IP protection and commercialization to begin.

Submission instructions

  1. Contact the TDO ( for an invention disclosure form.
  2. Submit the signed hard copy, plus an electronic copy, to Ron Lauener (, Technology Manager, or Patrick Rebstein (, Senior Manager, Intellectual Property.

Frequently asked questions

MTAs are agreements that allow researchers to either receive or transfer research materials critical to carrying on their research. 

MTAs outline the conditions, terms, limitations on the use of the material and what happens to any discoveries (intellectual property) that are made using that research material. They address liability and indemnification issues, patent rights, rights to publish and controls over using the materials in other research. 

Data transfer (or data access or sharing) agreements govern the transfer of data from one institution to another. It is imperative that these are reviewed by the TDO to ensure that identifiable data is protected and the transfer complies with applicable privacy legislation.

The TDO negotiates and signs MTAs and DTAs on behalf of BC Cancer. For more information please contact us at


A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract between two or more parties requiring the recipient of confidential information to hold that information confidential for an agreed period of time. In the event of public disclosure, the recipient could be sued for breach of contract. 

An NDA can either be one-way, where one party discloses confidential information to the other, or two-way, where both parties discuss their confidential information. TDO negotiates and signs NDAs on behalf of BC Cancer. For more information please contact us at

The ideal time to report an invention to the TDO is as soon as you believe you have made a patentable invention and before you have presented it publicly or published. If you report an invention after it has been published or publicly presented, some or all of the patent rights may have been lost. 

Reporting to the TDO well before publication allows for the proper assessment of the technology, development of an appropriate invention management and marketing plan and the ability for interested companies to evaluate the licensing opportunity. To discuss your invention, please contact us at


If you are an inventor of a licensed invention that was disclosed to the TDO, you are entitled to a share of the royalty revenue under BC Cancer's Patent Policy (PDF). 

BC Cancer shares royalties with inventors and their university (depending on the underlying affiliation agreement). Granting agencies may also be entitled to partial repayment of grant funding that produced the invention. 

As part of a licence agreement, the TDO will recoup commercialization expenses (i.e., patenting, licensing expenses) that have been spent to protect the invention prior to releasing any royalty disbursements. Royalty payments to inventors are subject to applicable Canada Revenue deductions.‎


The TDO is available to discuss your plans to start a company.

In order to commercialize the technology that you developed while a PHSA employee, your company will need to license that technology from PHSA. This may create a potential conflict of interest for you.

The TDO will determine the appropriate licensing strategy for this technology, which may or may not include licensing to your start-up. The TDO has an obligation to seek the best means to commercialize the invention for the benefit of the public. Please contact us at to discuss.


SOURCE: Researchers & Clinicians ( )
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