Rose Ritts, PhD is the head of technology licensing and new venture development for Duke University and Duke Medicine. In this role, Dr. Ritts is responsible for driving transformative and sustainable models to translate academic discoveries from Duke into commercial products to benefit society, impact public health, and improve the quality of life.
As Executive Director of the Duke Office of Licensing and Ventures, Ritts establishes and executes all facets of strategy, plans, programs, budgets, and operations for a team of 25 engaged in pro-active "mining" of inventions from Duke laboratories, market & patent assessments and ranking of technology for investment potential, business development, negotiation of license and option agreements, alliance building, and translational development support. Duke's rank for new license agreements has risen from 58th in the US to 13th place during Ritts' five year tenure at Duke (as reported by the Association of University Technology Managers) with a 10x increase in revenue (to over $30M annually) and deal count (to 120/yr). She has negotiated more than 600 agreements (many with Fortune 100 pharma, device and diagnostic companies), including exclusive and non-exclusive license agreements, technology option agreements, investor and stock purchase agreements, patent assignment agreements, and multiparty, inter-institutional agreements.
Ritts serves on the Duke Medicine Innovative Council and is a Leader of the Duke Innovation Health Initiative, working closely with other leaders across the Duke Health System, Duke innovators and external supporters from industry, venture capital and foundations to grow new models for sustainable translational partnerships. Of particular focus to this group in 2012 is mHealth and clinical analytics; creating solutions to collect and work with information on patients' characteristics, communities, experiences and outcomes, as well as data on providers and delivery systems. Ritts works with students across the Duke School of Medicine, Engineering, Law, Business, Public Policy, and Arts & Sciences, serving as an advisor to student groups and a visiting lecturer for courses with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Translation and Intellectual Property.
Ritts brings more than 20 years of experience in creating partnerships driven by emerging technology and new business model creation. In addition to her five years at Duke, she spent 8 years in the management of emerging venture-capital funded newcos, 5 years as Director of Biotechnology and Materials at Sarnoff Corporation, and 4 years as a Program Manager at US DoD DARPA, where she directed a $230M portfolio of university, pharma and startup company projects to develop chembio warfare defense systems. While at DARPA she served on a number of government think tanks and review panels across DoD, NIH, NSF and DOE. Her first jobs were as a Product Designer for Cordis Corporation and a Staff Member of the Congressional Science Committee. Her undergraduate degree is from Duke and she received her PhD and Entrepreneurial Executive Management training from Stanford University.