The open science literature has focused on ways to increase the openness of research data at universities, while links with industry in the context of open innovation have received less attention. The aim of this article is to increase understanding of how open science can lead to open innovation. The key research questions are the following: How can researchers be motivated to make open their research data and how can industry take advantage of the data? The authors explore this topic through a case study of a Finnish foundation and its closed database. In 14 semi-structured interviews with the database owners, potential users and open science experts, they identified opportunities, barriers and possible solutions to opening the database. The authors propose a generic process framework for developing sustainable business models to facilitate research data transfer from university to industry. The study contributes to the open science literature by shedding light on how the gap between open science and open innovation can be bridged through the development of sustainable business models.