Tech Launch Arizona Wins as Innovator of Year | Tech Parks Arizona

Tech Launch Arizona Wins as Innovator of Year

Paul Tumarkin

UA News

TLA Vice President David Allen (second from left) accepts the award for Innovator of the Year/Academia at the Governor's Celebration of Innovation awards in Phoenix.

Tech Launch Arizona, the office of the University of Arizona that commercializes technological inventions stemming from University research, was recognized as Arizona’s Innovator of the Year in the academia category at the 2015 Governor's Celebration of Innovation awards.

The Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority announced the award winners Thursday in Phoenix before an audience of more than 1,000 people from around the state. The AzTC and ACA give the award in academia to a qualifying department or office within an Arizona accredited higher-education institution that has demonstrated success in the areas of research and development; technical innovation or scientific achievement and potential commercial viability; and economic development.

The functions and responsibilities of Tech Launch Arizona directly support the pillars of the UA’s Never Settle academic and strategic plan.

"Tech Launch Arizona plays an absolutely crucial role in the UA's strategic goals," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "By increasing the number of high-quality inventions, patents and partnerships with local and global business leaders, TLA is remaking a relatively underperforming area of the University into an emerging strength, and it has done so in just a few short years. It is wonderful to see that TLA is being recognized for its multiple achievements as this year's Innovator of the Year recipient."

Among TLA's accomplishments are: building a network of 1,300-plus experts to help commercialize UA technologies; implementing programs and and providing funds for market research, asset validation and demonstration; and forming connections between the University and business communities to create an ecosystem of invention and commercialization.

In 2013, TLA's first full year of operation, the organization received 144 invention disclosures, executed 48 licenses and options, and registered three startups. This year, those numbers grew to 213 invention disclosures, 83 licenses and options, and 12 startup companies.

David Allen, TLA's vice president, said this is only the beginning.

"We’re just hitting our stride," Allen said. "It is reassuring to see how University researchers and the technology community have responded to the new approach to technology commercialization promulgated by TLA.

"Given the performance goals we’ve set for ourselves and the University, the primary means to reaching the levels of achievement that have brought us to this recognition is through expanded engagement with University researchers and business allies from across the technology business community. We look forward to this award helping bring more people into our circle of support to advance technology commercialization at the UA."

The event also recognized one honoree as Innovator of the Year in each of three additional categories: startup company, small company and large company. UA startup SinfoníaRx, a Tucson-based medication therapy management services company that serves more than 6 million patients, won in the first category.

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