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Did you know that NCATS issued over 45 patents in eighteen months? Listen as Lisa and guest, Lili Portilla, discuss the different parts of NIH, what NCATS is and what it does, and their work with small businesses and much more on this episode of Tech Transfer IP.

Lili is the Director of Strategic Alliances of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, also known as NCATS at the National Institutes of Health. Lili has worked in the areas of strategic alliances, technology transfer at NIH since 1999, joining NCATS in December 2011. Before coming to NCATS, Lili served as Senior Advisor to the Director of National Center of Research Resources and as the Director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Development at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Lili discusses the functions her office performs, how NCATS is structured, and the most prominent programs that NIH is focused on. She speaks about NIH’s data enclave and how it can help physicians with COVID-19 procedures, their work with rare diseases, and the data directory they have to connect people that have been diagnosed with others like themselves.

Listen as Lila shares the Bridges Program and what it does, and other services her office provides. Lila discusses how the SBIR and STTR are structured and the clinical research management tools that NCATS funds. Listen as Lili speaks about the challenges her office faces, and how much she loves her job, especially now during the pandemic.

In This Episode:

  • [02:31] Welcome to the show, Lila!
  • [02:51] Lili shares her journey to tech transfer and what led her to NIH.
  • [04:50] Lili speaks about how much she loves working at NIH and the different parts.
  • [05:55] Lili discusses what the NCATS center is and what it does.
  • [07:33] Lili speaks about the functions that her office performs and their work with small businesses.
  • [08:46] Listen as Lili shares how NCATS is structured.
  • [12:23] Lili discusses some of their most prominent programs that NIH focuses on.
  • [16:22] NIH’s data enclave is a resource that allows physicians to see how to treat COVID-19.
  • [17:09] Lili shares their focus on rare diseases; they have a directory for people to connect with people who have been diagnosed with rare diseases.
  • [20:05] Lili speaks about some internal programs they have now.
  • [22:19] She talks about the Bridges program that helped launch 13 INDs.
  • [26:06] Lili shares some additional services her office provides.
  • [28:16] They had 45 patents issued over 18 months.
  • [29:54] Lili speaks about some interesting information about their patent portfolio.
  • [31:45] With COVID, they have done some agreements that were finalized in two days.
  • [33:55] Lisa points out that if they didn’t have good relationships with people, they wouldn’t have repeat customers.
  • [35:18] Lila speaks about how SBIR and STTR are structured.
  • [38:41] Lisa speaks about the difficulty of finding an animal model.
  • [40:23] NCATS also funds clinical research management tools.
  • [42:38] Lili shares how NCATS engages with women entrepreneurs in the program.
  • [44:19] Lili discusses how NCATS will take part in the Applicant Assistance Program.
  • [46:11] Lili says that being an SBIR or STTR grantee comes with resources that they can apply to.
  • [48:26] Lili shares some of her office’s biggest challenges.
  • [51:26] How challenging is it to have to pivot anytime day today?
  • [52:29] Lili speaks about how much her job means to her, especially now with the pandemic.
  • [54:35] Lisa talks about how important the organizations are when there are situations like we are facing now.
  • [56:07] If you had three wishes, what would those wishes be for your office?
  • [58:27] Lili, thank you so much for being on the show!