SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 18, 2014) — John Gebhard, Ph.D., is the new senior executive director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He assumed his duties on Dec. 1.
Dr. Gebhard joined the Health Science Center from the University of Utah, where he developed and managed a portfolio of therapeutics and device discoveries, working with researchers to move innovations to additional preclinical studies and license agreements with companies.
Dr. Gebhard previously was strategic program director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) International, where he managed a global portfolio of diabetes complications therapies, working with JDRF investigators and industry partners to further development.
He also served as vice president of research and development at Inflabloc Pharmaceuticals Inc., where he directed programs to develop therapeutics for metabolic, oncologic and ocular diseases. Dr. Gebhard is an experienced biomedical researcher with doctoral training in cellular, viral and molecular biology at the University of Utah and postdoctoral fellowship training in viral pathogenesis at the Scripps Research Institute.
“San Antonio’s entrepreneurial culture represents a tremendous opportunity to commercialize the innovations that are here at the Health Science Center,” Dr. Gebhard said. “I very much enjoy interacting with external stakeholders in conjunction with academic investigators to commercialize the Health Science Center innovations and technologies that are constantly discovered. My passion is to drive change in health care through collaborative commercialization between the Health Science Center and the external environment.”
Dr. Gebhard enjoys structuring interactions between academics and industry/entrepreneurs so that both sides win. “I believe that crafting milestone-driven awards between the Health Science Center and the interested industry is optimal for development,” he said. “This model is one in which the industry and the investigators both have skin in the game. I believe San Antonio can really become a leader in the area of biomedical commercialization.”
San Antonio’s unique health challenges are also opportunities, he pointed out.
“From my discussions with the San Antonio community, it is my understanding that San Antonio and the Health Science Center can establish a strong foothold in the diabetes and obesity space,” Dr. Gebhard said. “When you look at the state of Texas, there is a real need and opportunity to have that type of interaction with industry to tackle the diabetes and obesity problem, especially by 2030 when it is supposed to be pandemic and global.”
Dr. Gebhard’s background working in private industry, academia and at JDRF prepares him for such initiatives, said Michael E. Black, M.B.A., senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Health Science Center. Dr. Gebhard sat on a committee that established a diabetes and metabolic center at the University of Utah.
Dr. Gebhard also has an interest in development of cancer therapies. “The Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center has a pipeline of first-in-human drugs that need further development, so that will be interesting to understand how we can facilitate relationships with interested entrepreneurs or larger pharmaceutical companies to bring that to reality,” Dr. Gebhard said.
Dr. Gebhard said the Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization will be “very transparent to the community and within the Health Science Center, an office of such collaborative spirit and excellence that we are viewed as a ‘must-have’ to commercialize innovations.”
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 13 percent of academic institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 31,000 graduates. The $787.7 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.