Fred Hutch recruits Niki Robinson as Vice President of Business Development and Industry Relations

Niki Robinson
Niki Robinson will begin her role as Vice President of Business Relations and Industry Relations on July 27, 2015. Photo by Bo Jungmayer / Fred Hutch News Service

SEATTLE – June 4, 2015 – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a world leader in lifesaving research to prevent, detect and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other deadly diseases, announced today that it has recruited Nicole (Niki) Robinson, Ph.D., a biomedical management executive with more than a dozen years of experience with technology commercialization and research funding, to lead the Business Development and Industry Relations office at Fred Hutch. Robinson will begin her role as Vice President of Business Development and Industry Relations on July 27, 2015.

Robinson comes to Fred Hutch from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where she served as Assistant Vice President of the Center for Technology Commercialization, leading the technology transfer and commercialization development team. During her nine years at Cincinnati Children’s, Robinson increased the medical center’s invention disclosures tenfold while doubling the active commercial licenses executed, resulting in over $60 million in licensing revenue. Prior to that, she managed IP assets for the Office of Technology and Intellectual Property at the University of Chicago.

“What’s always impressed me with Fred Hutch is its mission-centric focus and that everyone in the organization is committed to the research and science that will have lifesaving impact,” Robinson said. “I’m thrilled to be joining the Hutch and to help accelerate the early stage discoveries that we’re making that can lead to the next breakthrough and change the outcome for the patient.”

The Business Development and Industry Relations Office is responsible for managing and commercializing the intellectual property assets of Fred Hutch, and furthers the Hutch’s mission by fostering the translation of innovations for the benefit of society and promoting partnerships that further research and development. The activities of the office span the technology transfer process — including invention disclosure, market evaluation, intellectual property protection, licensing and contract management, and collaborations with industry and venture partners. As vice president, Robinson will be responsible for identifying science with commercial potential and working with Fred Hutch faculty members and research staff, health care executives, investors, biotech leaders, entrepreneurs and public agencies to facilitate commercialization.

“With a proven record of translating basic science discoveries into commercialized products Niki is exceptionally well qualified to shape and build Fred Hutch’s ongoing efforts to increase the use of its intellectual property in products and care programs that improve human health,” said Fred Hutch President and Director D. Gary Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D. “We are in this for patient benefit and the resources generated from our investments in this area will be used to reinvest into our research and discovery efforts.”

Fred Hutch has produced some of the world’s most important research breakthroughs that collectively have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. The advancement of science into clinical practice requires resources such as broad preclinical and clinical testing, scale-up manufacturing, and marketing and distribution that are not a part of most research institutions. The best practice is to build the strongest bridge between the scientific discoveries of Fred Hutch, and the new or existing companies that can most quickly and efficiently bring new diagnostics, treatments and cures to patients.

Over the past 35 years, two dozen companies have been founded based on Fred Hutch discoveries and technology. In addition to the recent formation of Juno Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on advancing a broad pipeline of potential curative immunotherapy treatments for cancer, companies founded on Fred Hutch discoveries include Immunex (acquired by Amgen), Adaptive Biotechnologies, Rosetta Inpharmatics LLC, Presage Biosciences and Blaze Biosciences.

Robinson received her Ph.D. in cellular physiology from the University of Chicago.

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40 YEARS OF CURES 1975-2015

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer with minimal side effects. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Private contributions are essential for enabling Fred Hutch scientists to explore novel research opportunities that lead to important medical breakthroughs. For more information visit or follow Fred Hutch on FacebookTwitter or YouTube.

Michael Nank
Media Relations Manager