Our Process at the Innovation Office

Contact the Innovation Office

Belfer Office for Dana-Farber Innovations
10 Brookline Place, 3rd Floor
Brookline, MA 02445

General Inquiry: innovation@dfci.harvard.edu
Academic and/or Corporate MTAs: contractsteam@dfci.harvard.edu

Core Activities

The core activities of BODFI include:

  • Evaluating the commercial potential of inventions, research tools, and software developed at Dana-Farber
  • Licensing Dana-Farber’s intellectual property in a way that encourages product development and generates a fair financial return
  • Distributing licensing and royalty income to the inventors and departments of Dana-Farber
  • Negotiating and approving material transfer, confidentiality, collaboration, and sponsored research agreements with other organizations
  • Facilitating preclinical and clinical research relationships with industry
  • Facilitating the formation of new ventures based on Dana-Farber’s technology


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Developing a new product or service based on early-stage academic research discoveries requires:

  • A significant investment of time and money
  • Further research and development geared towards product development and regulatory approval
  • The expertise and infrastructure necessary to support marketing and sales

Development efforts of this scale normally fall outside the purview of most academic institutions. It is necessary, therefore, that institutions like Dana-Farber collaborate with commercial partners capable of making the investment necessary to bring a new technology to market.


BODFI helps to facilitate the process of commercializing technology developed at Dana-Farber. Our process is as follows:


Research activities at Dana-Farber often lead to observations or discoveries that may be of commercial interest. See "What to Disclose" under Invention Disclosure for details on the types of inventions that should be disclosed to BODFI.


The process of commercialization begins when investigators submit an invention disclosure form to BODFI. The invention disclosure form is used to create a formalized written description of an invention.


BODFI works with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) to evaluate each disclosure based on patentability and commercial potential.


Patenting is the most common method of protecting intellectual property. OGC will work with outside patent attorneys and invention participants to file a patent application.


BODFI will identify companies or investors with the necessary expertise and resources to bring the technology to market by creating a new company or through licensing to an existing one.


A license grants the company the right to develop and commercially exploit an invention owned by Dana-Farber. In exchange, the company provides financial compensation to Dana-Farber.

Product Development

The company invests the resources necessary to develop a product and gain regulatory approval if necessary.

Public Availability

Once a product has been fully developed, the company mobilizes its sales, marketing, and distribution divisions to ensure the product is released to the public.