December 2, 2005

New research post pushes tech transfer

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Kenneth Holroyd, M.D., M.B.A.

New research post pushes tech transfer

Veteran physician-scientist and biopharmaceutical company executive Kenneth J. Holroyd, M.D., MBA, has been appointed assistant vice chancellor for Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Holroyd, 47, an associate professor of Anesthesiology and Medicine, is based in the Office of Research. In his newly created position, he is responsible for facilitating technology transfer and attracting sponsored research by industry.

“Ken will work with the faculty to mine opportunities for possible commercialization from their research,” said Jeffrey R. Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research.

“Working closely with the Office of Technology Transfer and Enterprise Development, he will then facilitate our efforts to move the best opportunities into active development, whether through research agreements with industry, licensing, or the creation of new companies,” Balser said.

“Over time, we believe Ken's energy and growing familiarity with VUMC intellectual capital will help us to expand and diversify our financial resources for faculty research through a range of outside relationships, a key goal of the new Research Strategic Plan.”

Holroyd, former chief operating officer of Genaera Corp. in Plymouth Meeting, Penn., said he was attracted to Vanderbilt by its culture, leadership and desire to find new ways to support and develop its research enterprise.

“As the scope and depth of science has developed at leading academic medical centers like Vanderbilt,” he said, “there is a tremendous opportunity to build these bridges with industry for the benefit of Vanderbilt, its physicians, scientists and the patients impacted by new therapies and new technologies … as well as society.”

Holroyd earned his M.D. and MBA at Johns Hopkins University in 1984 and 2000, respectively. He completed residencies in medicine and anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins, and a fellowship in pulmonary medicine at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

He later served on the faculty and as medical director of respiratory care services at Johns Hopkins.

In 1997, Holroyd joined Magainin Pharmaceuticals Inc., which later became Genaera Corp. During the next seven years, he helped shepherd development of squalamine, a natural compound now in clinical trials for the treatment of macular degeneration, as well as other products for the treatment of asthma and cystic fibrosis.

During his career, he also has contributed to more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Holroyd left the company in 2004, and served briefly as director for Technology Transfer and Corporate Relations in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Pennsylvania.

At Vanderbilt, he will have clinical duties as an attending anesthesiologist in addition to his administrative role.