Commercializing science takes too long, Cook says

Bill Cook, one of the state’s most successful businessmen, was in fine form May 14 when he spoke as part of the 2008-2009 Indiana Life Science Collaboration Conference Series at IUPUI.

The gist of his message: Taking science from the laboratory to the commercial market takes too much time and is littered with potential pitfalls along the way.

Cook founded Bloomington-based Cook Group Inc. in 1963. The supplier of medical devices since has grown into a $11 billion company. However, in the meantime, the patent process has become increasingly difficult, he said.

"It is almost an impossible task we have been given to prove the validity of o a design," the often outspoken Cook said.

To bolster his argument, he told attendees that it i took 24 years for one of Cook’s stents to receive approval while an in vitro-fertilization product took nearly as long. Cook said he cannot blame the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for being overly cautious, but is convinced the process can be more efficient.

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