PARTEQ Innovations

Founded in 1987, PARTEQ Innovations was a not-for-profit corporation formed to help Queen's researchers market their new inventions and act as the technology transfer agent for Queen's University. 

In the 1970s and 80s, as researchers embarked on more funded research, questions inevitably arose around who owned what knowledge. Some argued that the fruits of “intellectual property,” accrued to the institution that underwrote its generation. Others argued that researchers deserved not just intellectual credit for their discoveries, but also some share of the material reward from their endeavour.

At Queen’s, there was an acceptance, guided by the deliberations of a Senate committee, of an “ownership by creator” approach to intellectual property — that the fruits of discovery would be shared between institution and discoverer. There was also the realization that ideas generated in university labs and research groups could be commercialized, both to the benefit of the broader community and to the university’s financial bottom line.

In 1987 Queen’s established PARTEQ Innovations in 1987 as its agency of technology transfer to assist institutional researchers in navigating the commercial world and translate their ideas into commercial reality. This included guidance in all the legal, financial, and licensing necessities of harnessing ideas to the betterment of society.

While American universities already had agencies for technology transfer, PARTEQ was the first of its kind in Canada.

PARTEQ would stand as a not-for-profit organization at arm’s length from the university. Any revenues it garnered from patents, licensing and participation in technology venture companies would be channelled back to the university and its campus researchers.

PARTEQ’s first CEO was John Molloy. A veteran of both the Canadian military and the Bank of Montreal, Mr. Molloy brought entrepreneurial spirit and a comprehensive business plan to PARTEQ. Backed by a board of directors chaired by Applied Science Dean David Bacon, Molloy connected innovative ideas, ranging from the biomedical engineering of better wheelchair restraints to cancer-fighting pharmaceuticals, with commercial users.

[Stephen Scot with the KINARM]
Stephen Scott with the KINARM robotic assessment system, developed through PARTEQ spinoff company BKIN Technologies Ltd.

By 1998, the Technology Access Report listed Queen’s as the fourth most important technology transfer office among North American universities, ranking behind Stanford, MIT and Waterloo.

In 1999, PARTEQ Innovations became the first Canadian technology transfer office to manage its own venture capital fund — Queen’s Innovative Investment Fund. It also became the lead institution in the Rideau Commercialization Network, a consortium of eastern Ontario academic technology generators, so that it could capture the ideas generated by regional hospitals, colleges and universities.

By 2013, PARTEQ had participated in the formation of 48 startup companies with capitalization of $1.4 billion. A total of 419 patents had been registered and PARTEQ had returned $33 million to its sponsor university in dividends, money that had, for instance, helped to fund the Queen’s Cancer Research Centre.

In 2017, PARTEQ joined Queen's University in a newly formed new Office of Partnerships and Innovation.