UW Adds Heavy Hitters from High Tech and Biotech to Turn More Ideas Into Companies

1/25/10Follow @xconomy

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to build up a new incubator for medical devices at the UW campus in Bothell. That effort has gotten a $500,000 state grant to build out and get equipment for space to perform crucial early-stage experiments on new medical devices, Clement says.

LeFaivre spoke to my colleague, Greg Huang, about why this move makes sense for both OVP and for himself.

“As they move towards raising the next fund, it doesn’t make sense for me to be full-time. It makes sense for me to step down to half-time,” LeFaivre says. “I also didn’t want to sit on the beach or watch soap operas. I talked to Linden. She said, ‘Would you be interested in working part-time with me to move things forward?’”

When asked why he took the job, LeFaivre says, “It gives me a chance to give back to the university. My entire career has been spent with both feet, or one foot, in universities.” He adds: “I have had ties to UW [for many years], and my daughter went here… It’s a natural thing, so let’s take the next step and work here part-time.” He didn’t say how long he expects to work with UW.

Last, but not least, we had to ask about the potential for conflicts of interest whenever prominent private sector people get involved in the public sector. LeFaivre noted that he will avoid conflicts of interest, in case anyone is wondering whether this might give OVP an inside edge over other VCs vying for cool technologies at the UW. He said he will recuse himself from talks if multiple VCs are competing for a deal and OVP is involved. “I will not tee up anything with OVP that I don’t tee up with everyone else,” LeFaivre says.

For his part, Clement says he isn’t too concerned about the potential for conflicts of interest. If Pathway or another company he has holdings in has a negotiation with the university, he would recuse himself. Clement says he expects to leave the negotiating for the university to other licensing officers.

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