Rick Williams, a veteran of the biopharmaceutical industry, is joining the executive team at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences as its chief business officer.

Williams is leaving the North Carolina Biotech Center, which he had joined in August to lead the Center’s new technology transfer efforts. He had been picked to direct the Biotech Center’s Business Acceleration and Technology Out-Licensing Network, or BATON. The program makes loans and services available to life science startups. Through BATON, the Center plans to step up the pace of launching companies and products based on research done at North Carolina universities and research institutions.

At The Hamner, Williams also will be tasked with creating a translational medicine “accelerator” in an attempt to commercialize technology developed at universities.

Williams will continue to work with the BATON program, according to a spokesperson for The Hamner.

“His extensive background in the biopharmaceutical industry is a natural fit for our organization as it continues to grow through collaboration with academia, the private sector, and government in the ongoing pursuit of improved public heath,” said William Greenlee, The Hamner’s chief executive officer.

Barry Teater, vice president for corporate communications at the Biotech Center, said the Center "hated to lose" Williams.

"We hated to lose him, but it’s a nice step up for him. Rick and The Hamner Institutes will be our close working partners in biotechnology development going forward," Teater said. "The Biotechnology Center has excellent relationships with Charles Hamner, Bill Greenlee and many others at the organization. The Hamner Institutes is in an aggressive expansion mode and will bring new jobs and investment into the state, and we’ll be helping them do that. We’re all on the same team."

Translational medicine is an effort to more closely link patient care with drug and technology research and development.

The accelerator is being created in cooperation with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and other organizations, according to The Hamner.

As technology is spun out for commercial development in new companies, Williams will provide advisory assistance.

Over his career, Williams has worked with Merck and other life science firms. He also has served as a volunteer and director at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Williams, 55, received a degree in speech and hearing science at the University of Pittsburgh.