Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What does the Federal Bio-Technology Transfer Directory cover?

    The database covers all federal laboratory (e.g., NIH, USDA, DOE) patents, patent applications, patent licenses and Collaborative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) from 1980-present for which information is available in the public domain. Over 4,100 detailed abstracts (as of 3/97) describe about:
    • 2,850 inventions - 1,800 U.S. patents; 1,050 patent applications
    • 1,500 patent licenses (including over 500 exclusive licenses)
    • 1,1135 CRADAs

  • Why should I care about access to federal technology transfer opportunities?

    Federal technologies (and this database) constitute the largest source for biomedical technology transfer opportunities. The federal labs, particularly NIH, are the number one source for:
    • new technologies for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and health care industries;
    • new biopharmaceuticals and drugs in development;
    • fundamental life sciences discoveries and inventions (e.g., gene sequencing, gene therapy, new viruses); and
    • treatments and diagnostics for diseases for which none are currently available.
    By law, all federal inventions are available for licensing. Why miss out on the fruits of over $2 billion/year federal laboratory research ($1.3 billion within NIH alone)?

  • I'm not interested in licensing or conducting collaborative R&D. Why should I be concerned with federal bio-technology transfer?

    You are missing a small but very significant portion of biotechnology and pharmaceutical R&D and commercialization activities--essential competitive intelligence about federal and commercial research, development and commercialization activities. Even though federal labs and NIH constitute less than 10% of total worldwide biotechnology/pharmaceutical research, development and commercialization activities, they are by far the single most important players. The database reports over 2,500 commercial relationships between federal labs and industry involving a surprising number of products and technologies in development and on the market.

  • Isn't information about federal technology transfers (licenses, CRADAs) available elsewhere?

    No! This information is not organized or retrievable anywhere else. Federal agencies/labs are generally very poor sources for information. Industry newsletters and other sources only carry a small portion of this information. Even expensive therapeutics-in-development reporting services, such as PharmaProjects and those from IMS and ADIS, don't even begin to cover federal or NIH development and commercialization activities. In most cases, the Federal Biotechnology Transfer Directory is the only source for this information. In many cases, we are the only ones requesting this information from federal offices.

  • Isn't information about federal inventions available elsewhere?

    Yes, in generalized patent databases or in forms of little use to those in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and health care industries. Federal agencies/labs and databases do provide access to information about inventions (with many of these cited on our links page), but this information is generally fragmented, not organized, not abstracted or indexed in-depth, definitely not tailored to biomedical or industry interests, and is often incomplete and of poor quality. Federal technology transfer offices can be very helpful, if you reach the right person, have a simple or very specific request and are willing to wait until they get around to responding. Information about granted and pending patents (foreign disclosures) is available from patent databases and many other sources. You should definitely use these in conjunction with this database.

  • How can I access the Federal Biotechnology Transfer Directory?

    The database producer (Biotechnology Information Institute) offers:

    • Internet Web database (at this site) - annual subscription required for full access.
    • In-house Database - load the database on your own computer; annual subscription required.
    • One-time searches, special studies, etc. - contact us for further information.

    The database is also available from Knowledge Express Data Systems (800-859-KEDS; E-mail:, an online vendor offering both conventional dialup and Internet Web database access.

    The Federal Biotechnology Transfer Directory was published in book format in April 1994. The book is now primarily useful for its over 200 pages of subject indexing. The book is included free with a database subscription.

  • What does it cost?

    We offer an annual subscription to the database for $300/year, whether for the Internet Web database or for in-house use. See our pricing and product descriptions for further information. With both of these, you get unlimitted access and updates for one year. Subscriptions include a free copy of the book version (nearly 700 pages, published in 1994).

    Knowledge Express Data Systems has its own pricing structure including unlimited access as part of a large package of databases; unlimited access to just this database for $350/year; and transactional pricing (pay per record displayed).

    Give us a call and we can advise you which option is most suited and cost-effective for your needs.

  • Who is responsible for this database?

    Mr. Ronald A. Rader, a pharmaceutical/biotechnology information specialist with 20 years experience, is solely responsible for the entire database. The Biotechnology Information Institute, a desk-top publishing company, conceived, developed and markets the database.

  • What are the value-added features? Is the database consistent? Does it adhere to bibliographic, patent database, indexing and other standards?

    Yes! The database is a fully integrated, high value-added work executed by a single information specialist (not a group project). It has been designed to meet the standards of information-intensive biotechnology, pharmaceutical and technology transfer professionals.

    Consistent approaches and terminology are used for abstracting and indexing. All entries are indexed using both controlled subject index terms (see the microthesaurus) and uncontrolled keywords, with these same terms also used in the abstracts. Standardized terms are also used for agencies/labs, organizations, status and other fields. Inventors' names are input in consistent format. Biological, chemical, microorganism and other nomenclature are used in abstracts and indexing. Hundreds of federal agency/lab and patent office errors have been corrected. The Subject field includes over 45,000 (ave. 11 per entry) highly precoordinated, in-depth, faceted subject index entries. Information is retrievable in separate fields, allowing high recall and precision searching. The Web database multi-field search engine suports complex Boolean query construction.

    Besides integrating information from diverse federal sources, information in included from intense, regular examination of the world's biotechnology and pharmaceutical news sources, databases and other specialized resources. The database is maintained up-to-date, including information about corporate acquisitions and relationships.

  • What else is in the database besides in-depth abstracts and indexing?

    The full official abstract/exemplary claim for over 1,500 U.S. patents are provided in the database. Other public domain (non-copyright protected) text is also often provided, e.g., foreign patent disclosures and Federal Register notices.

  • How large is the database? What formats are available?

    The database is about 13-14 megs in size as text. This includes over 4,100 records. It can be provided in most any standard format (e.g., tab-delimited text; PC or Mac) for uploading into any other database software. The database is also available as Filemaker Pro database (how it's maintained) including search and display formats and scripts simulating the Web database.

  • Does the database receive any federal funding?

    No! This is purely an entrepreneurial activity. No funds or assistance (other than public information) are received from any federal or other sources. The database was designed and developed to meet the needs of industry, not for any federal agency/lab.

  • What are the weaknesses of the database.?

    The database's limitations are related to its stengths and unique aspects. The Federal Bio-Technology Transfer Directory cover a gray or fugitive area of information and is a cumulation of information from many diverse federal, other public domain and published sources. This is one of the database's major stengths, but this can also lead to passing on of misleading or erroneous information. The author has done his best to interpret available information. See the limitations page for further information.

  • See also:

  • Product Descriptions and Prices

  • Database User's Guide

  • The Bottom Line - Why Subscribe?

  • Database Fields and Record Structure

  • Database Coverage and Contents

  • Biotechnology Information Institute Home Page