The University of Arizona Center for Innovation Breaks Ground on New Bioscience Incubator in Oro Valley | Tech Parks Arizona
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The University of Arizona Center for Innovation Breaks Ground on New Bioscience Incubator in Oro Valley

The University of Arizona (UA) broke ground on a new incubator focused on bioscience startups on September 4, 2019 with nearly 300 people in attendance. The incubator, UA Center for Innovation at Oro Valley, will provide space and business incubation programs for nascent life science businesses to develop their technology and business. It will offer world-class laboratories, shared equipment and customized business development curriculum led by the UA Center for Innovation, Arizona’s longest running incubator. This new facility will fill a gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem directly related to supporting bioscience discoveries and translating them into marketable technologies.
This support for bioscience companies specifically was identified as a critical need in several reports over the years including the Sun Corridor Report: Securing the Lead 2013 and the Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, produced by the Flinn Foundation in 2019. Business and community leaders came together to develop a non-profit organization with the task to fundraise and facilitate the progression of this incubator, with the main purpose to grow the life science industry sector in Southern Arizona.
"The innovation ecosystem plays a large role in the fourth industrial revolution,” says UA President Robbins. “Supporting startups is not one specific event, it is an entire continuum. It begins by encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit from the beginning, advancing research to the point of scientific breakthrough, identifying markets for the new technology, supporting and launching businesses, building corporate connections and thus beginning the cycle all over again to support new ventures. The Ventana Medical Systems founded by Dr. Thomas Grogan, a University of Arizona pathologist, and sold to pharmaceutical giant Roche embodies that innovation continuum. Building on that momentum, we are thrilled to develop the UA incubator in Oro Valley," said UA President Robert C. Robbins.
With resources secured and an operator established, the UA Center for Innovation at Oro Valley is paving the way to serve the bioscience entrepreneurial community with the construction of the new facility beginning in October 2019. Roughly 4,000 square feet of office and lab space will be developed with room for expansion. The site is located near several Oro Valley’s bioscience companies, including Roche Tissue Diagnostics, and headquartered in Innovation Park and this proximity will strategically support an effort to grow more startups in the bioindustry within the Town of Oro Valley.
“Surrounded by the world-class expertise, we will help companies, start, grow and scale rapidly – setting a pace for technological advancement that will be seen worldwide. This new UA Center for Innovation at Oro Valley outpost is a vital component in our innovation ecosystem. It will provide the platform for entrepreneurs to connect with industry experts and business coaches to specifically meet their individual company needs,” said Carol Stewart, Associate Vice President for Tech Parks Arizona and President for UA Center for Innovation.
The UA Center for Innovation at Oro Valley will provide the space required to conduct educational and training programs for translational scientists in Southern Arizona and for those working to convert research findings into new products and services. Educational programs will enable hands-on support during the critical early phase of product development and include direct interaction with experts who have experience in the successful development of bioscience products. A Science Advisory Committee comprised of original board of directors is currently in formation and includes bioscience organizations/companies, developers, startup funders, municipalities and other experts who worked to bring the incubator into existence.
Paul August, Vice President of Icagen, an integrated early discovery company, says “The incubator project has built a solid foundation with support of biotech and business leaders across the region and disciplines. Recently, we have worked on developing a strong partnership with the UA Center for Innovation and we believe that this relationship will catalyze our efforts and propel us into the future with the resources and startup expertise required to advance our mission. This new facility will act as an incubator combining consultancy that supports startups in every facet of their development, providing typical business support services but with a particular focus on life sciences. The University of Arizona is committed to the long-term success of bioscience startup pioneering a path to medical breakthroughs and therefore we are incorporating Arizona’s longest running incubation program in the state with the world-class minds in bioscience.  Combined, this expertise will not only successfully start businesses but scale them rapidly, setting a technological advancement pace that will be seen worldwide.”
The UA Center for Innovation located at the UA Tech Park at Rita Road has several regional outposts providing incubation services to the Town of Sahuarita, the Greater Vail Area Chamber Connections Office and Oro Valley. The UA Center for Innovation is part of Tech Parks Arizona which brings together university, industry and community, creating “interactive ground” to advance technology commercialization. Over the years, 100+ startup companies have benefited from the business development programs and facilities of the UA Center for Innovation in the development of their ideas, inventions and next evolution of product. The new incubator in Oro Valley is an extension of the UA Center for Innovation located at the UA Tech Park and will provide similar tools that set startups on the path to success.








Featured left to right: Neil Simon, Partner, Venture West; Ray Woosley, PhD, President, AzCERT; Thomas Koch, Roche Tissue Diagnostics; David Hutchens, President and CEO, Tucson Electric Power; Carol Stewart, Associate Vice President, Tech Parks Arizona, University of Arizona; Robert C. Robbins, MD, President, University of Arizona; Paul August, PhD, Vice President of Biology, Icagen, Inc.; Elizabeth Cantwell, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research and Innovation, University of Arizona; Joseph C. Winfield, Mayor, Town of Oro Valley; Chuck Huckleberry, County Administrator, Pima County; Joe Snell, President and CEO, Sun Corridor Inc.






Conceptual drawing of the University of Arizona Center for Innovation at Oro Valley.

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