Magid arrived at UTRF in 2006 as a licensing associate, right out of a postdoctoral position at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was first introduced to the field of tech transfer. He holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Once I got into tech transfer, I discovered it was at the intersection of science and business,” said Magid. “I found I could leverage my science background and had the aptitude to look at a project and quickly understand how it could turn into a product, service or business.”
In 2009, Magid assumed his role as Vice President. While the mission of UTRF has stayed the same during his tenure, the organization’s work and the team have expanded significantly. From broadening mentorship support for UTHSC faculty to launching the UTRF Technology Maturation Grant program, Magid is proud of what the organization has accomplished.
“From day one, my work has been about supporting life science technologies,” said Magid. “That was the job, still is the job and is the most fun part of the job – seeing all these new technologies and people who are excited, because they come to us after they’ve made an exciting breakthrough.”
One of the benefits of Magid’s years at UTRF is that he is now beginning to see some of the innovations he worked on years ago come to fruition. Commercialization in life sciences can be slow given the nature of clinical testing and federal regulations.
For instance, Entac Medical and its product PrevisEA, a small, self-contained, noninvasive device that attaches to a patient’s abdomen after surgery, recently achieved FDA clearance and will hit the market later this year.
“I took it from the initial evaluation to finding the founder, writing the license, watching it grow and now it’s about to hit the market right when I leave,” said Magid. “It’s satisfying to go through the entire process and come out the other side. Now people will be treated with this device.”
From the pharmaceutical side, Magid is proud of the recent progress with Veru, a UTRF licensee that recently completed its Phase 3 clinical trial of sabizabulin, a therapeutic found to be safe and effective for hospitalized severe COVID-19 patients at high risk for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.
“A license with GTx (the former rightsholder) was in place when I got here, and it was the first big partnership that I was actively engaged in,” said Magid. “there have been a few twists and turns for the drug , but now it’s looking great. I find satisfaction in being a small part in the machine that’s moving these products forward.”
More than the job, Magid will miss the people he has worked with over the years. From previous technology managers to working alongside UTRF President Stacey Patterson since they came in as licensing assistants, he has always enjoyed the UTRF staff and the many researchers at UTHSC that he supported.
“I am proud to have worked with Richard for many years. While I’m sad for him to move on, I’m happy for him to take this next step in his career,” said Patterson. “UTRF’s success and expansion on the UTHSC campus are, in large part, the result of Richard’s diligence and commitment to the organization’s mission.”
Magid is excited about the opportunity to take on new challenges and blend into a new city, but he will miss his work at UTRF, the Memphis community and all the relationships he made over the years.
“In my 16 years here, we’ve built something that I am proud of. I came in as a naive, young postdoc on his first job. UTRF let me do so much and grow professionally,” said Magid. “UTRF is in a great position with a great pipeline of deals, inventions and people. Although this was the right time and the right opportunity for me to leave, I will forever be shaped by my experiences at UTRF.”