Obituary – Christi Mitchell
Christi spent most of her career in the business of licensing, so it is small wonder that she was a committed member of LES, which she supported and served for much of her career in a number of different roles.
She was President of LES Britain & Ireland from 2002-2004 and was a valued member of Britain & Ireland’s Council both before and subsequently, including a number of years during which she was an international delegate. She served as the chair of LES Britain & Ireland’s Healthcare Committee, as the chair of the LESI Healthcare Committee and as vice chair of the LESI Education Committee.
Many people have worked with LES, or been drawn to serve LES, as a result of Christi’s inspiring commitment to licensing, as well as her personal charm. She was understated but effective and in an unassuming way she provided, through her network, memorable insights to some major developments in technology and licensing.
In the light of her service to the licensing industry it is easy to forget that Christi specialised in making the deals that the industry depends on. Christi really came into her own when she joined the British Technology Group (now BTG), which was one of the few organisations truly specialising in technology licensing at that time. She was recruited to source promising new biotechnologies and she succeeded in sourcing technologies that would be important or instrumental in the businesses of Celltech, AGC, Pharmaceutical Proteins (PPL—Dolly), Bioprocessing and Premier Breeders, a remarkable achievement.
She was also in the vanguard of development in the licensing industry. BTG foresaw the potential in extending the business of commercialising technology beyond pure licensing. Christi was invited to join a new subsidiary that would source technologies from other companies for subsequent out-licensing, and she was instrumental in proving the success of that concept.
After she left BTG, Christi joined Medius as IP director and also established her own business, Highbury. Highbury was an IP management and business support consultancy, specialising in the commercialisation of new technologies. It had an impressive client list, which she generally kept to herself unless clients appeared at LES meetings to tell their stories.
She was a generous spirit, who always had time for a chat, a glass of wine and preferably a party. Her remarkable inner strength was awe-inspiring when faced with adversity; in recent years she fought two, successive, life-threatening illnesses with a courage that is unforgettable. Christi will be remembered with great affection by many in LES Britain & Ireland, as well as the wider LES family.
Obituary – Kurt Deutsch
LES members were sorry to learn that Kurt Deutsch passed away last year. He was an active member of Council from 1991 to 2002. Before joining LES in 1984 Kurt had a wide experience of industry – he worked for ICI Metals (subsequently IMI) from 1956 to 1983 – and university – holding the post of Director of Industrial Liaison / Technology Transfer at the University of Warwick from 1983-89. Until 1980 he was active in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and was a Council member. He had also sat on the UK Government’s Research Requirements Board from 1977-81.
He summed up his LES activities in his article “Eleven Years in Harness” in Issue 86 of News Exchange (available on the website). Most LES members will remember him for his organisation and participation in the Licensing Courses at Cranfield University along with Richard Reeves. These courses were often the first contact of new members with LES. Starting in 1990, the original “How to Sell your Technology” eventually developed into eight different short courses on IP and licensing. However, before that he had participated with Trevor Hunter in the delivery of a 10 week module on International Licensing as part of the MBA course at Leeds University. I will always remember him for his guidance and wise advice.