U.K. technology firm goes private

April 24, 1991

The British government has submitted legislation to Parliamentthat would privatize the British Technology Group. No significantchanges are expected in the firm's patent licensing business,said Derek Schafer, president and CEO of BTG (USA) of Gulph

The British government has submitted legislation to Parliamentthat would privatize the British Technology Group. No significantchanges are expected in the firm's patent licensing business,said Derek Schafer, president and CEO of BTG (USA) of Gulph Mills,PA. But BTG should have improved access to capital sources asa private company, he said.

BTG began licensing basic magnetic resonance imaging technologydeveloped and patented by British inventors four years ago (SCAN7/22/87). It has signed MRI licensing deals with Johnson &Johnson, GE Medical Systems, Toshiba, Hitachi, Siemens and Shimadzu.

The technology transfer specialist has a worldwide portfolioof about 8000 patents in a range of technological fields. BTGpurchased exclusive rights to all of Johnson & Johnson's non-MRImedical imaging patents in 1988 and signed its first licensesof this technology last year. The licensees are ADAC Laboratoriesin nuclear medicine and Universal Sonics in ultrasound (SCAN 10/4/90).

"We have been running an international commercial businessfor a long time. The (British) government has introduced legislationthat will move us to the next logical step. Privatization willallow us to grow the business and give us access to capital marketsin a conventional way," Schafer said.

Although many of its patents come from British universities,BTG has not had special access to patents as a government company.Privatization, therefore, should not turn off the tap for anyinventions, he said.

"We offer a service, and they (patent holders) come tous if they believe the service we offers justifies it," Schafersaid.

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