Michael J. Cleare, Ph.D.
From 2000-2007, Mike Cleare was the Executive Director of Science and Technology Ventures at Columbia University (now known as Columbia Technology Ventures). In August 2007, Cleare joined the University of Pennsylvania as Associate Vice Provost for Research, responsible for all technology transfer, IP management, and industrial liaison activities. He retired in 2013 having enabled the successful creation of the Penn Centre for Innovation (PCI), which is responsible for knowledge transfer, industrial funding, and entrepreneurial activities, including incubation of company start-ups based on Penn’s technologies. Amongst a number of high-profile licensing deals completed under Cleare’s leadership at Penn, most notable were a ground-breaking deal with Novartis involving gene therapy-based immunotherapies (CAR-T 19), and the initial license for the mRNA platform technology now used to make the Covid vaccines from Pfizer/Bio-N-Tech and Moderna.
Cleare worked for 30 years at Johnson Matthey, a UK-based multinational world leader in advanced materials technology. While in R&D, Cleare was involved in the discovery and development of a major new class of platinum-based anti-cancer drugs. Of particular note is his work on carboplatin which he shepherded through from discovery—he was the inventor in the laboratory—to full regulatory approval in collaboration with Bristol Myers. He served as President of several of the company's major divisions, including Pharmaceutical Materials, Chemicals and Metals, Catalytic Systems, and Electronic Materials. He has managed complex global businesses, negotiated and closed multi-million-dollar licensing and technology transfer deals, and entered into multiple research funding agreements with major universities. He has also served as an expert witness in several IP lawsuits.
For nine years, Cleare was a member of the board of directors of the Canadian biotechnology company, AnorMed, which he helped to spin off from Johnson Matthey in 1996, until its acquisition by Genzyme in 2006. Cleare was a board member of Skysong Innovations, LLC from 2007 through 2016. Currently he serves on the board of directors for the UCLA Technology Development Corporation, which is responsible for all of UCLA’s technology transfer and corporate relations activities.
Cleare holds a B.Sc. and a M.S. from Imperial College in London and a Ph.D. from London University, where he worked in the laboratories of Nobel Laureate Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson. Cleare has published over 40 scientific papers, many in peer reviewed journals, and is a named inventor on over 10 patents, including the fundamental composition patent for carboplatin.
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