Licensing Office Launches 'New Ventures'

Rob Hallford Named Director

Rob Hallford Duke New Ventures
Rob Hallford, Director of Duke New Ventures

Rob Hallford, the associate director of Duke’s Office of Licensing and Ventures, has been appointed Director of Duke New Ventures. The program will pair Duke “mentors in residence” with faculty startups.

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds over the last five years,” said Hallford, who has a Fuqua MBA and joined the OLV staff in 2010. “The programs at Duke focused on translating research to the market -- CTSI, Coulter Foundation Grants, MedX, MedBlue, and the I&E initiative to name a few -- have multiplied, providing faculty with guidance in addition to funding. This ecosystem allows for ideas to get refined more inside Duke, and sets inventors up for success when it’s time to spin out.”

Hallford is no greenhorn when it comes to getting companies off the ground. He has more than 23 years’ experience working in the life science and pharmaceutical venture capital industries for companies such as Pappas Ventures, CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, Lilly Ventures, and Eli Lilly & Co.

“For me, it’s about finding what’s exciting about a faculty member’s research and helping them put that in the best possible light.  So much of what we do at Duke is at the vanguard of science and medicine—our challenge is crafting a story that captures the excitement around innovation and frames it in the context of what customers need.”

Over the past 18-months, working with OLV’s new Executive Director, Robin Rasor, Hallford has established a Mentors-in-Residence (MIR) program and successfully piloted a New Ventures Fellows (NVF) program using MBA students from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Rasor came here with her own vision for improving and expanding OLV’s licensing and entrepreneurship activities. “Rob has molded and added to this vision making the New Ventures group truly an initiative that fits with Duke’s strengths and our local and national community,” she said. “Now the challenge is to not only create more new spinouts but ensure that they are high qualify, investible companies that can make it to an exit.”

Last year, Duke’s Office of Licensing & Ventures (OLV) set a record by helping to form 11 new companies around Duke technology. And just within the first six months of this year, OLV has already helped develop 11 start-ups.

To learn more about Rob Hallford and the New Ventures effort, read more at the Office of Licensing and Ventures.