What We Do

Challenger Biosciences offers clients a combination of expertise in the fields of marine biology and technology transfer with an effective, pragmatic approach to problem solving.

During his successful career as a marine scientist and leader of technology-transfer programs, company founder and president Don Gerhart developed methods that differ from the typical requirements demanded by venture capitalists or Silicon Valley-style “incubators,” where start-ups often fail to get past key – and critical – phases in their development.

Too many innovative ideas “hit the rocks,” “go dead in the water,” or sink altogether as they tried to navigate the difficult task of bringing the idea to fruition, Gerhart says. To avoid this, Gerhart works with his clients to navigate a course that avoids getting grounded in the first place – or if they do, he helps them get off the rocks, make repairs and continue their journey.

“Realizing the potential of science requires creative, dedicated, tenacious problem-solving,” Gerhart says.  “This cannot be done with cookie-cutter approaches.  Cutting-edge science deserves — and should demand — superb support from specialists of outstanding expertise. Nothing less will do.”

How inappropriate it is to call this planet the Earth, when it is quite clearly ocean.
— Arthur C. Clarke

Before founding Challenger Biosciences, Gerhart spent more than a decade as the leader of the University of Oregon’s Office of Technology Transfer. He also worked as associate director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Industry Research at North Carolina State University, and as the director of intellectual property and other positions at Cato Research (not related to the Cato Institute) in North Carolina.

During his career, Gerhart has worked with hundreds of new products and emerging enterprises, many of which are now highly successful and boast a total market capitalization of more than $1 billion.

Other accomplishments and credentials include:

  • Gerhart greatly expanded the technology transfer program at the University of Oregon, with a 25-fold increase in licensing revenue.

  • While at the UO, he collaborated with the university’s Lundquist College of Business and other entities to establish a highly successful innovation and entrepreneurship program for advanced-degree students. The program was ranked in the top 20 nationally.

  • Gerhart is a registered U.S. Patent Agent (No. 42,572).

  • He founded Cato Research’s first intellectual property group.

  • As an assistant professor working at the Duke University Marine Laboratory, Gerhart conducted scientific studies funded by the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Agency for International Development and several Fortune 1000 companies that resulted in six U.S. Patents.

  • He was a keynote speaker and multi-session presenter in 2013 for the “Growth Through Technology Transfer” symposium in Islamabad, Pakistan, sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, U.S. State Department and others.

  • He has served on the Oregon Innovation Council, the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship at the UO, and was recognized for his service by the Eugene Chamber of Commerce.

  • He delivered the keynote address at opening session of the Northwest Summit, Marine Technology Society (http://mtsoregon.org/calendar/summit/program-and-agenda-2016/ ).

  • He is the chief consultant for Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, which is funded by the Schmidt Family Foundation, providing business-development support to program grantees and others working to advance promising marine technologies.

Read Don Gerhart’s resume to learn more about his education, experience and accomplishments.