Jim Baxendale would love to find the next Gatorade.
"Everybody would," he said. "It's probably the best-known example of commercializing of university and faculty discoveries."
Developed by a University of Florida medical school professor, the sports drink has netted the university more than $40 million in royalty payments.
Baxendale, 54, has been named executive director for technology transfer and intellectual property for all Kansas University campuses. University officials announced his appointment Friday.
"This move provides focus for our efforts in technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual property," KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said.
Previously, the programs had been administered separately by the KU Center for Research on the Lawrence campus and the KU Research Institute at the Kansas University Medical Center.
Baxendale, who has master's degrees in business administration and microbiology, has overseen technology transfer activities at the Med Center for the past 4 1/2 years. Before that, he worked for hospitals, laboratories and medical supply companies.
"I've been part of the Kansas City biomedical community for 32 years," he said.
Baxendale said he hopes to educate faculty members about intellectual property, encourage the commercialization of faculty-developed technologies and reach out to investors.
"There's already a lot of excellent work being done in these areas," he said. "My job is to do even more."
Baxendale, a native Kansan, is already working on projects involving new drugs and techniques for treating diabetes, slowing growth in cancerous tumors, detecting oncoming seizures and dissolving "plaque buildup" in arteries.
If all goes well, these projects will lead to marketable products that will eventually make money for the university.
Baxendale plans to spend Wednesdays and Fridays on the Lawrence campus. The rest of the week, he'll be at the Med Center.