Honors Gallery

MODD—Mixed Odor Delivery Device

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2018

Award Type: National

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

How do you safely train a bomb-sniffing dog?

The Mixed Odor Delivery Device (MODD), developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), is a canine training device that delivers a mixed vapor from binary explosive materials without actually mixing the materials, which leaves them virtually free from risk of detonation. This approach avoids safety issues involved with producing, storing, and transporting live explosives, which make routine canine training difficult.

NRL used a variety of innovative tools to facilitate successful transfer of the MODD technology. The lab featured the MODD technology in an Innovation Discovery Event, which led to several commercialization opportunities. With interest from multiple licensing candidates and using a first-of-its-kind approach, NRL issued a “timed offer” for competitive licensing of the MODD technology.

Per Vivo Labs was selected as the licensee, and executed a license agreement with NRL in 60 days, much faster than NRL’s normal licensing timeline.

Throughout this process TechLink, a Department of Defense Partnership Intermediary, and the MODD inventor were instrumental in facilitating successful implementation of these technology transfer (T2) tools and conveying the value proposition for the MODD technology. Per Vivo Labs served the critical role of the unique commercialization partner that NRL needed.

Per Vivo Labs has already placed the commercialized MODD product into the hands of the Kingsport, Tennessee, Police Department K-9 Unit. And days after officially coming on the market on October 2, 2017, Per Vivo Labs sold its product to a private entity. In addition, several state and local government entities have indicated their intent to purchase the product.

The NRL team strategically maneuvered a small and fragmented market space in order to successfully transfer the MODD technology. Success required a “perfect storm” of complementary goals, relationships, and efforts across multiple T2 ecosystem participants, and that is exactly what the team put together. The suite of tools employed by the nominees and the incredibly short timeline in which they were able to do it speaks directly to their T2 expertise and skill. Together the NRL team enabled the transfer of the technology from the Innovation Discovery Event to the sale of the first device in about 9 months, an impressively rapid commercialization effort, far outpacing the usual cycle of several years from license to product.

The current and potential future benefit of the MODD is obvious. Dogs are often the first line of defense in explosives detection. And while the commercial market is very specific, it is incredibly important given the need to ensure safety in public spaces. The fact that this technology quickly went from license to product availability is attributable to this multidisciplinary team.

Contact: Amanda Horansky McKinney, (202) 767-1644, [email protected]