Business-Related: Market Analysis


Create a non-confidential disclosure for an invention and size the market for the invention.

A non-confidential disclosure (NCD) is a brief summary of an invention, usually from a university, used to elicit interest from second party companies who will develop the technology or bring the technology to the market. The NCD usually contains information already protected by patents. An inventor could be in the process of patenting the technology (i.e. has a provisional patent), but it is more common, in the commercialization phase, for the inventors to already have a patented technology. After the technology’s publication or patenting, an NCD is prepared by a consultancy firm or the institution’s intellectual property and marketing office to distribute to their network of trustworthy second parties for commercialization. To create an NCD, market research is conducted to seek and find the most suitable partner for the commercial development and the transition of the technology to the marketplace.

NCDs are useful for all areas of inventions, from healthcare to solar energy to semiconductor development. Another use of NCDs is for the inventors to acquire additional data on their work which can be outsourced to another company (e.g. additional experiments that cannot be conducted in the inventors’ facilities or with inventors’ current resources).


  1. A scientist doesn’t yet have in vivo data for their work and is seeking a company that might have a mouse model.
  2. A scientist may have a hit from a screen and creates an NCD to attract a company or partner that will validate the hit.

The Process

  1. Interview the faculty member about their discovery. The faculty likely filled out a disclosure form. See this example from UCSF’s Innovation Ventures Office (Invention Disclosure button). Your goal from the interview is to understand the scope of the science, how competitors could design around the same technology to achieve that same advance, and their specific market, among other factors.
  2. Perform a technology review. Design a search strategy and use keywords that will help you find technology in patent applications and primary literature. The purpose is to look for prior art that has been disclosed. This step could help you find partners.
  3. Research the market size. Identify the top technology players, the patent landscape, and the patient population. Your goal is to determine whether the market is attractive for the technology.
  4. Create promotional materials such as a non-confidential disclosure. The purpose is to describe the technology and the market, and find potential licensees for the technology. It is important to present the novelty of the invention.
  5. Present the results to the licensing manager or internship manager. They will review the document and discuss the information with the inventor.

The Exercise

Perform a review of the technologies that could compete with the faculty member’s invention and create a brief non-confidential disclosure.

For this prompt, you are an intern in the Office of Technology Management or Innovation Center, helping to assess whether the office will pursue the technology and what data they might need to proceed with the invention’s commercialization or seek research partners to develop the technology in order to increase the invention’s impact.

Task 1: Technology review, step 2 of the process

For this exercise, choose a technology of interest to you. Write a brief description of the technology; a few sentences. The goal is to define the technology clearly and specifically. Don’t include too much information. You want to avoid overwhelming the reader. Include information on:

  • mechanism of action
  • therapeutic areas and indications
  • how it was discovered
  • who is the funding agency or sponsor
  • choose a figure from the publication to highlight the technology

This information can be found from the publication or invention disclosure, and from talking to the faculty member.

Task 2: Market sizing, step 3 of the process

Market size information is important to understand the top technology players, the patent landscape, and the patient population. For this exercise, you will answer a few of the questions typically used to find market information. Answer the following:

  • How much is the field growing (by what %)? Ex. $50k to $1m growth is % growth
  • What is the projected growth 5 years out?
  • How many patients might this affect in the US? Globally?

To find this information search news articles, online reports, and use research databases that cover different industries (e.g., IBIS databaseUS Patent and Trademark Office) or look for equivalent market sizing information of competing/relevant pharmaceuticals or drugs that may be introduced to the market in the future ( Your university’s library may have access to these databases. Companies typically purchase access to these databases and specific market reports. When performing your search remember to try to use specific search terms as much as possible. For example, if you’re researching the market for a drug that targets small cell  lung cancers, use “small cell lung cancer” as opposed to “lung cancer” in your search.

Task 3: (advanced) Prepare promotional materials

For this task, create a title, value proposition, and keywords for the NCD. A successful NCD will allow companies to have enough information and interest to contact the OTM to license the technology.

Think about the information you found about the technology and the market, and craft the following.

  • Title – one sentence that elicits excitement and that is easy to understand.
  • Value proposition – a few sentences to sum up the technology. The value proposition is an easy-to-understand cheat sheet that a BD team or science scout can read that identifies what is valuable about the technology and the potential market for the technology.
  • Keywords that can be used to search for the technology in the UCSF database.

Organize the information in bullet points to make it easier to read. Examples can be found on the UCSF Innovation Ventures website – or at UC’s Tech Transfer website.

The Deliverable

The Task 1 deliverable is a bullet point list of results asked in Task 1. The results of this research would be used to create Task 3.

The Task 2 market sizing deliverable is typically in paragraph form and describes the landscape that generally answers: what are the competitors, what is the projected growth, and what is the current state of the market. This information would remain internal and likely be assembled with a team. Results from the analysis would be used by the company to make business and regulatory strategy decisions on the product.

Ex. with a pharmaceutical – is there a drug that is already FDA approved in the field? If there is, what is our drug doing that is different?

The Task 3 deliverable, a non-confidential disclosure, is typically a one page summary. The deliverable should allow the senior technology staff member you are working with, who interfaces with the client, to clearly see what the invention is, the novelty, whether there is a market for its commercialization and any competitors, and then decide on next steps. It will eventually be public.


Skills used to perform this task:

  • Market research; assess the competitive landscape
  • Technical writing
  • Persuasive writing
  • Clear and concise writing

Skills used in the Research Development field:

  • Broad technical expertise (STEM field)
  • Critical/analytical thinking
  • Communicating & relationship-building with clients
  • Presentation skills
  • Time and project management
  • Market research
  • Effective writing for technical and non-technical audiences

To view detailed lists of skills in job descriptions for business careers, please see workforce data generated by Boston University’s BEST program.

Additional tasks

A professional in the field of technology transfer may also perform:

  • Presentations to business partners and scientists
  • Negotiating technology transfers and research agreements
  • Maintain and manage agreements and relationships with clients and third parties

You are viewing a job simulation. To get started, set up SMART Goals to perform this simulation in a reasonable timeline. If you have completed the task, fill out the Self-Reflection Sheet.

Simulation co-authors – Gozde Ulas, PhD and Thi Nguyen, PhD

Simulation vetted by professionals from McKinsey & Company, Genentech, UAB, and UCSF Office of Innovation Ventures