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The Vision

Tucson’s Thriving High-Tech Economy By Romi Carrell Wittman


In the foreseeable, not-too-distant future, your life might be saved by a graft that infuses living cells into your heart to overcome previous deficiencies. You might work in a building made from stronger, cleaner concrete. You could power your home entirely with affordable and reliable solar power. Medications could be available that work with your genetic makeup and your specific disease. And when that happens, Tucson will be a hub for thousands of high-tech, high-wage jobs, diversifying our economy, attracting new talent and retaining University of Arizona graduates who 15 years earlier would have left for the top tech centers of the day. 1994

The University of Arizona purchases the future tech park site from IBM. Major tenants IBM and Raytheon employ 1,200 people onsite.



Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 17 tenant companies which employ 4,173 people, generating $28.8 million in tax revenue and a total economic impact of $1.13 billion.

Vail High School begins offering classes onsite.

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This may sound like the colorful fantasy of a chamber of commerce brochure, but each of these technologies was born of UA research and is in the process of being brought to market with the help of the UA’s Tech Launch Arizona. The man overseeing this process is David Allen, who came to head TLA five years ago after more than 30 years in technology-related research, instruction and practice. He brought with him an innovative approach to technology transfer and commercialization that has resulted in dozens of successful TLAassisted startups and hundreds of technology licenses to existing companies. Tech commercialization is a quint-

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essential “black box” – inventions go in and products come out. This seems fairly straightforward, yet in practice it’s a difficult multi-step process. Most technologies never make it. For a technology, or venture based on a technology to be successful, critical resources must already be in place – namely talent and funding. “Commercialization is more likely to happen where there’s a density of entrepreneurs and tech people drawn into the process. That’s not Tucson. Not yet,” Allen said. “Tucson is evolving and we are working to build an analog to communities like Austin and Boulder.” The vision is clear. From the start, Allen set out to build



• Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 21 tenant companies which employ 5,309 people, generating $38.9 million in tax revenue and a total economic impact of $1.45 billion.

• Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 31 tenant companies which employ 5,949 people, generating $49 million in tax revenue and a total economic impact of $1.87 billion.

• NP Photonics – the Tech Park’s first UA-faculty-led company – begins operations.

• UA Tech Park receives Park of the Year Award from Association of University Research Parks.


something different than the usual, university-run tech transfer office. Under the UA’s Never Settle Strategic Plan, he was given the keys to drive a new vehicle – Tech Launch Arizona – based on the former UA Office of Technology Transfer and the well-established Tech Parks Arizona. Allen said, “It was good that no one knew about TLA – it gave us the chance to create and build the brand.” In its first year, the UA committed $1 million to TLA’s asset development program, which provides funding to prepare early-stage technologies for the marketplace. “We’re supporting the research mission of the university, just in a different way,” Allen said. “It’s no lon2003

• Arizona Center for Innovation opens as an incubator for startups.


• Citi becomes a major tenant. • Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 31 tenant companies which employ 6,226 people, generate $43.7 million in tax revenue

ger just research and publication.” Allen took a proactive approach to how the university transforms inventions into intellectual property for commercialization. Rather than wait for faculty to knock on TLA’s door seeking help, Allen has embedded staff in key colleges – meaning TLA is continuously aware of new developments as they occur and can offer assistance as needed. In addition, a 1,400-person network – half of whom are UA alumni – volunteer as technology and business domain experts to help move technology down the pipeline. Four experienced “mentors in residence” with records of success also help build and advise teams for startup companies.

and a total economic impact of $1.92 billion.


UA South begins offering classes at the UA Tech Park.


• In a non-cash transaction, the UA acquires 65 acres of land at 36th Street and Kino Boulevard for the UA Tech Park at The Bridges.

Allen has set high goals for TLA, among them to be a preeminent national resource for its role in commercializing UA-related knowledge and bringing it to the public. He wants to achieve this by 2020. “University reputations have economic value,” he said. “As we are increasingly successful, we become more attractive to students and faculty who want to create impact beyond their classroom or laboratory. Furthermore, as we become really good at commercialization, we gain a new dimension of relevancy. People will feel comfortable investing in the university.” Biz

• Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 32 tenant companies which employ 6,175 people, generating $63.9 million in tax revenue and a total economic impact of $2.45 billion.


$77.9 million in tax revenue and a total economic impact of $3.02 billion.


Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 40 tenant companies which employ 6,938 people, generating

• UA receives a $4.7 million grant from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, for infrastructure improvements. Construction of onsite infrastructure begins for the UA Tech Park at The Bridges.

continued on page 74 >>>

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University Moves Ideas from Lab to Market By Romi Carrell Wittman


Tech Launch Arizona is on a mission to make life better for you, for all Arizonans and, really, people everywhere. TLA is an extension of the University of Arizona’s research and development focus, helping to bring inventions developed at the university to the global marketplace. “Today it’s no longer simply research and publication – but research, publication and commercialization,” said David Allen, VP of TLA. The process begins with an invention – an idea that is likely to be patentable and, through further development, can either become a new product or an enhancement to an existing product. When students come to TLA with such inventions, the staff connects them with the James E. Rogers College of Law IP and Entrepreneurship Clinic,

continued from page 73 • Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 40 tenant companies which employ 6,494 people, generate $70.8 million in tax revenue and a total economic impact of $2.67 billion. 2010 • Vail expands and develops new school onsite. Vail Academy and High School classes begin. • Development begins for the Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park.

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where fellow students studying law provide counsel and help the student inventors develop and submit their patent applications. When faculty, researchers or other employees of the UA develop inventions, TLA takes the lead. Unlike other university technology transfer offices, “we have licensing managers in six research-intensive colleges to assist faculty inventors at each stage of the commercialization process,” said Doug Hockstad, TLA’s assistant VP of technology transfer. “They spend halftime in the college alongside faculty and half-time at TLA.” Hockstad said the licensing managers not only learn of new research and inventions as they happen, they also answer faculty questions about intellectual

2011 • Under the leadership of President Eugene G. Sander, the UA announces the creation of Tech Launch Arizona, a new technology commercialization center designed to consolidate efforts around moving knowledge and inventions to market. • Initiated the Racing the Sun competition for highschoolers, providing a hands-on opportunity for STEM education through building solar go-karts. 2012 • David N. Allen recruited from the University of Colorado, Boulder and hired as VP of TLA by President Ann Weaver Hart.

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property and commercialization. “Building solid, trusting relationships with faculty is essential,” Hockstad said. “These faculty members could choose a myriad of other careers, but this is what they chose to do. Personal ownership of these fundamental ideas defines their professional careers. The challenge is that, generally speaking, they received little academic training or background in intellectual property and commercialization. It is our role to help them navigate this unfamiliar territory, with the understanding that their invention may have been gestating in their labs for decades.” After the TLA team meets with the inventor and assesses the market and patent landscape for the invention, they work together to develop a licensing

• Dedication of UA Tech Park at The Bridges. Site and infrastructure improvements completed.

2013 • Development of Global Advantage, the Tech Park’s business recruitment strategy.

• Received Gold Award from the International Economic Development Council for the Solar Zone.

• Through Tech Launch Arizona, the UA and the City of Tucson announce the creation of the Commercialization Network Alliance.

• OptumRx/United Health Group becomes a major tenant. • Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 47 tenant companies which employ 6,226 people, generating $51.3 million in tax revenue and a total economic impact of $2.33 billion. • TLA licenses technologies to three UA startups, including Metropia.

• TLA licenses software technology from the UA College of Pharmacy to local startup SinfoníaRx. • TLA publishes its original Roadmap, outlining a strategic plan covering 55 initiatives for 2013 through 2018.

strategy. Some inventors want TLA to find a company to license the technology. Sometimes such companies exist, yet few want to take on the risks associated with a nascent, unproven technology. Alternatively, the faculty member may opt to work with TLA to start a company, with the licensed technology as the primary asset. TLA staff meets with the inventor to weigh the options and determine which course of action makes the most sense. Even though startups seem to get most of the attention, only 5 to 10 percent of inventors decide to pursue a startup. For those who do choose the startup route, the work is just beginning. “We work to find advisers to help the inventor and together identify a ‘business driver’ – a leader who has proven skills, knowledge and expertise to manage the startup process,” said Joann MacMaster, TLA director of business development. “We work through a myriad of issues to create a business strategy that can attract resources – investment, employees and customers.” This is very different from the “old days” when faculty inventors were left to their own devices. “Faculty used to have to figure these things out for themselves,” Allen said. “Sometimes they might go to the UA Eller College of Management for help, but mostly they were on their own.” TLA has four Mentors-in-Residence,

2014 • Phase Two of the Solar Zone initiated. • TLA creates the volunteer Commercialization Partners program to bring the experience of 12 successful business managers and entrepreneurs to guide UA startups. • The Commercialization Network Alliance grows to 750 members, who donate time and experience to act on commercializing UA technologies. • TLA publishes its first Annual Report & Roadmap Update, reporting 188 invention disclosures, 39 exclusive licenses, 11 startups and $1.11 million in IP income.

retired business executives and entrepreneurs who are half-time employees of the UA, to provide expert, real-world advice to the startups. TLA also works with members of the community who have expertise and an interest in new

Today it’s no longer simply research and publication – but research, publication and commercialization.

David Allen VP Tech Launch Arizona University of Arizona –

technologies and startups to volunteer their knowledge and skills on projects in the commercialization pipeline. “Our goal is to prepare both the management team and the technology so that the startup company has a better chance of success,” MacMaster said. The patenting process to legally protect the invention can take two to four

2015 • TLA recognized as Arizona’s Innovator of the Year in Academia at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation. • Economic impact study – UA Tech Park houses 38 tenant companies which employ 5,128 people, generating $37.9 million in tax revenue and a total economic impact of $1.7 billion. • UA startup SinfoníaRx signs agreement with Walmart to implement the company’s medication management system in its pharmacies to improve patient outcomes. • TLA announces new never-before-seen levels of success in commercialization at the UA, including

years, and happens simultaneously with the business development process. When the go-to-market strategy is clear and a startup team is established, the next challenge is securing capital to execute the plan. Unlike large tech hubs like Silicon Valley, neither Tucson nor Arizona as a whole has a large venture capital community. Tucson’s Desert Angels is a local organization of accredited investors who do actively fund select UA startups. Securing local financing is often necessary but not sufficient. Federal grant programs, such as the Small Business Innovation Research program, are critical to providing funds to advance technology development. However, as companies progress toward commercialization they nearly always need access to venture capital funding. To address this void, TLA is developing connections with the venture capital world dominated by Silicon Valley investment firms. “It’s about showing investors and friends of the university what the university is doing,” Allen said. The entire process – from idea to marketplace – is very time consuming. The National Business Incubator Association found that the average time for a university startup to gain market acceptance for a technology like a medical device and bring it to the marketplace is 5 to 10 years. For software, the timeline is shorter, 2 to 3 years. continued on page 77 >>>

213 invention disclosures, 45 exclusive license and option agreements and 17 proof-of-concept awards.

• The main street of UA Tech Park at The Bridges is named in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

• TLA helps the UA to create 11 startup companies, a cohort that includes Glycosurf, Neuro-ID, Synactix Pharmaceuticals and others.

• Arizona Center for Innovation celebrates 100 clients incubated.

2016 • First three Mentors-in-Residence hired to advise UA startup teams. • TLA broadens its proof-ofconcept program into a full Asset Development Program, committing more than $1 million to move 27 earlystage technologies toward market readiness.

• TLA brings the Commercialization Network Alliance function into its scope of operations. • UA commercialization continues to grow, with TLA reporting 250 invention disclosures, 95 licenses and options, 14 startups and $2 million in IP income.

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continued from page 75 However, “the gestation period with additional focus and support from TLA is considerably less,” MacMaster said. Currently, TLA has upwards of 50 potential startup companies in its pipeline, several of which will launch in the summer or early fall of 2017. The bulk of these UA startups remain in Tucson after launch, creating quality jobs that directly impact the Southern Arizona economy. MacMaster said, “All these things we work on have the potential to make the world a better place. It’s really exciting to be a part of that process.” Shortly after TLA began in 2012, it began its Asset Development program to provide funding to help validate early-stage technologies and steer their development to align them with market drivers. Through the program, TLA distributes $1 million annually to faculty inventors via grants ranging from about $20,000 to $50,000. “We’ve become nationally recognized not just for how effectively we leverage those funds, but also for how

BizTECHNOLOGY we’ve been able to weave together the entire process – from patenting to bringing in expert advisors and commercialization partners to testing and evaluating the prototype before the product finally goes on the market,” Allen said. “That integration has been a struggle for other universities – which are starting to emulate the effective system we’ve developed.” “Tech Launch Arizona is the vital core of the Tucson innovation ecosystem,” said Stephen Fleming, newly appointed VP of strategic business initiatives at the UA. Fleming, who until recently ran a 200-person economic development group at Georgia Tech, knows a lot about innovation ecosystem – he helped build Technology Square in Atlanta from a derelict area into the hottest real estate market in the Southeast. “TLA has built a national reputation for minimizing friction and maximizing the opportunities for UA research to meet the marketplace,” Fleming said. “The university’s $600 million annual

research expenditure is a huge input into the Arizona economy. Whether through spinouts or through licenses to established corporations, TLA is making sure that input gets multiplied into well-paying jobs for Arizonans.” He added that both through the tech parks and through stand-alone developments, TLA is critical to helping recruit, retain and raise high-tech industrial operations into Arizona. The future looks bright indeed. “We’ll continue to bring more UA-invented technologies to the marketplace in the form of licenses and startups in the years ahead,” Allen said. “We’re constantly refining our processes and streamlining an end-to-end integration of TLA into the greater invention and commercialization ecosystem. We’ve demonstrated that TLA is a mission-oriented organization that spans boundaries, creates solutions with reasoned risks and produces impactful measurable results.”


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Codelucida Shiva Planjery CEO & Co-Founder

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In Business

Six Companies Out to Change the World By Romi Carrell Wittman Tech Launch Arizona has more than 50 startups in the commercialization pipeline. They represent a wide variety of companies based on University of Arizona inventions that have the potential to impact our local economy and the world beyond with life-changing technologies. Joann MacMaster, director of business development at TLA, said, “We want to see companies come out of UA with a strong team and the ability to execute. We want them to be successful in the long run, which will mean long-term impact, both social and economic, for Southern Arizona and beyond.” Several new companies are already creating an impact on the world as we know it.

McCusker said, “The Tech Launch Arizona model combines a faculty inventor with a ‘business driver.’ By that they mean someone who has been there, done that – built an entrepreneurial business, raised money, managed shareholders and venture capitalists, then run a rapidly growing business. “In our case Tech Launch was 100 percent right. We were able to seize the moment with proven marketing strategies, known investors and lenders along with public company experience and contacts. The results speak for the Tech Launch vision – in three years we have grown tenfold, been recognized around the world for pioneering prescription management and returned millions of dollars back to the UA. The university faculty who joined us are thriving and SinfoníaRx has become a public-private partnership model nationwide.”


SinfoníaRx – Now serving 50 million pharmacy patients Medication misuse results in more than $200 billion in unCodelucida – Securing $1.5 million in funding necessary healthcare expenses each year. That’s 8 percent of Your desktop computer, your television, your phone – flash total healthcare expenditures, according to a 2013 study by memory can be found almost everywhere and represents a the IMS Institute. “Misuse” includes everything from medica$25 billion market. tion errors, negative drug interactions and not taking mediIn response to the growing needs of the flash-memory marcations as prescribed. SinfoníaRx is addressing this problem ket, Codelucida is marketing a patented technology that offers with its full suite of medication therapy management services. greater accuracy, speed and reliability. The company maintains an exclusive license with the UniShiva Planjery, during his doctoral studies at the University versity of Arizona for the technology invented at the College of Arizona, was part of the team that developed the errorof Pharmacy by Kevin Boesen. correction technology. Now CEO of Codelucida, Planjery Established in 2006 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinpartnered with Bane Vasic, UA professor of electrical and fonía HealthCare Corp, SinfoníaRx is the largest medication computer engineering, and David Declercq, professor at the therapy management comUniversity of Cergy-Ponpany in the nation, now sertoise in France, to found the vicing 50 million patients in company. the United States. It mainTech Launch Arizona tains call centers in Tucson; worked with the trio to proPhoenix; Columbus, Ohio; tect their UA-developed inand Gainesville, Florida. tellectual property and then Since it began, SinfoníaRx license it to the startup. At has created more than 600 the UA Tech Park, Codelujobs, many located at the cida also participated in the company headquarters in Arizona Center for Innodowntown Tucson. vation’s Mentored Launch Boesen, now SinfoníaRx program, fine-tuning their CEO, said that Tech Launch business model and investor Arizona was instrumental in strategies. To date, the firm the company’s success and has secured more than $1.5 expansion. “TLA aligned million in grants and angel us with Fletcher McCusker, investment. who has been a great local Planjery said, “We would business leader and mennot have reached this stage tor,” he said. “Collaborating without the multiple support with him has really helped groups of the entrepreneurme grow as an entrepreneur ial ecosystem right here in Kevin Boesen, CEO, SinfoníaRx and shaped the success of Tucson.” our company.” & Fletcher McCusker, CEO, continued on page 80 >>>

Sinfonía HealthCare Corp

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BizTECHNOLOGY TPhotonics Chris Hessenius



Research Professor UA College of Optical Sciences

Acrete Jinhong Zhang

UA Associate Professor of Mining & Geological Engineering

Abraham Jalbout CEO Acrete

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continued from page 79 TPhotonics – Introducing ‘tunable’ lasers by year’s end A laser that can be tuned much like one tunes a radio is the revolutionary concept behind TPhotonics, which has licensed tunable laser technology developed at the University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences. Most lasers use a single or very limited range of light wavelength, meaning they are, by nature, used only for very specific purposes. This new technology enables tunable light and multiple wavelengths, so a single laser can now be used for multiple applications. Tech Launch Arizona helped inventors Mahmoud Fallahi and Chris Hessenius, both UA professors of optical science, and Michal Lukowski, UA postdoctoral research associate, protect their intellectual property, then license it to startup TPhotonics. The company has already lined up clients and several products will be available by the end of the year. “We want to be a major manufacturer, a supplier, to the builders of larger systems,” Hessenius said. Acrete – Manufacturing stronger, cleaner concrete Acrete makes stronger, cleaner concrete from power plant waste known as fly ash. Headquartered in Singapore with research and development offices in Tucson, Acrete expects to bring its first products to market this summer. Jinhong Zhang, UA associate professor of mining and geological engineering, invented the new fly ash technology. Fly ash is a byproduct of coal-burning power generation and, due to its chemical content, is usually stored in ground basins or landfills, posing a groundwater contamination risk. Company CEO Abe Jalbout, a veteran entrepreneur, said, “It’s easy to work with Tech Launch Arizona. This has been the best experience I’ve ever had with a startup.” Jalbout said TLA has been instrumental in Acrete’s success by providing a critical support system including technology licensing managers, market analysis and commercial networking resources. “TLA understands the need to move quickly,” he said. “That’s not the case with other universities where they get hung up in red tape. “We’re on the verge of opening this up,” he added. “I’m very excited.” continued on page 82 >>>

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Avery Therapeutics



From left – Jen Koevary, COO; Jordan Lancaster, Co-Founder, Chief Scientific Officer; Dr. Steven Goldman, Co-Founder, CEO, Chief Medical Officer

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to him personally as well. “As a younger researcher, this has been an amazing experience,” he said. “Leveraging the expertise of TLA and its network has contributed to my career development and certainly helped us be successful.” REhnu – Efficiently creating electricity Imagine paying the lowest cost to power your home or business with minimal environmental impact and no greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the mission of REhnu. Using a patented solar energy generation technology developed at the University of Arizona by Roger Angel, REhnu co-founder and chief technology officer, REhnu uses mirrored solar concentrators to efficiently create electricity. Founded in 2009, REhnu is demonstrating its technology at the UA Tech Park’s Solar Zone on Rita Road, where it maintains a five-acre solar demonstration site. It’s currently manufacturing solar trackers for customers in Arizona, California and Mexico and is seeking investor funding to complete a pilot plant of initially 100 kilowatts, later increasing to 1 megawatt. Biz


continued from page 80 Avery Therapeutics – Developing a heart graft that pulses on its own A lifesaving heart graft that pulses on its own and saves lives? It may sound like a science-fiction movie, but it’s a real invention created by Dr. Steven Goldman, professor at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, and Jordan Lancaster, who earned his doctorate in physiology from the UA. Avery Therapeutics is a startup dedicated to bringing this technology to market. MyCardia is a tissue-engineered heart graft that’s grown in the lab, then implanted onto an injured heart. Goldman serves as the firm’s chief medical officer while Lancaster serves as the chief science officer. Jennifer Koevary is Avery’s COO. Goldman said that Tech Launch Arizona has made the startup process easier than in the past. “I’ve commercialized university technologies before,” he said. “Having TLA to help us was a game-changer.” Lancaster said working with TLA was critical not only to the company’s success, but beneficial

50 Startups Based on UA Inventions Acomni

KKC Engineering


Knowmad Technologies

Airy Optics

REhnu Roger Angel Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer

Language Canvas

Akhu Therapeutics


Angiomics Anivax

MetOxs Electrochemicals

Anivive Lifesciences


Arizona Handbooks

Nanosonic Bioreagents

Avery Therapeutics



Palo Verde Networks

Catalina Pharma CCW-UA

Promutech Pharmaceuticals



Coherent Light Science

RapidBio Systems Science of Sport

Dataware Ventures

Sharing Tribes

Desert Saber



Synactix Pharmaceuticals

Epidemiology Risk Management EPV Sensors

Teleost Biopharmaceuticals







Horizon Biotechnologies

VAP Media XTRONAUT Enterprises

Illustrative Mathematics Innovative Energetics Invenio Imaging

Yumanity Therapeutics Source: Tech Launch Arizona


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University of Arizona Creates Ecosystem of Innovation By Romi Carrell Wittman Technology and innovation have a lot in common with the Since 2012, TLA has supported the creation of more than circle of life. There’s the creation of the idea, growth and 50 startup companies in the commercialization pipeline and eventual maturity. Like life, several elements must be present facilitated more than 900 invention disclosures and 909 patent filings. UA has also earned some $6.5 million in royalties from for the invention to grow and thrive. licensed technologies since 2012. It’s a successful system that The University of Arizona, through Tech Launch Arizona other universities are starting to emulate. and Tech Parks Arizona, is creating a thriving innovation ecoTLA has boots on the ground in six UA colleges to assist system that’s helping exciting, ground-breaking, UA-created researchers when they’re ready to commercialize their intechnologies get to the marketplace. From beating heart grafts novation. TLA also relies on an extensive network of some to tunable lasers, this UA commercialization hub is at the 1,400 volunteer commercialization partners – most of them center of exciting breakthroughs that have the potential to change lives. UA alumni – to provide exGetting a new idea out via pert feedback, coaching and commercial pathways – either connections. by creating a startup company “We help the faculty member or by licensing a technology to find a world-class team for their an already established firm – can world-class technology,” Allen be a long, arduous journey. For a said. “It’s an extremely successresearcher with no background ful – and nationally recognized in business or startups, it can be – technology transfer model. a non-starter. We do it differently from almost “Oftentimes the person that every other university. It’s intecomes up with the intellectual grated and seamless.” Given the sheer amount of property doesn’t have a good time involved from research/ sense of how that’s applied in invention to commercial assessthe marketplace,” said David Allen, VP of TLA. “They come up ment to asset development and with a really elegant solution to licensing, it will be several years a problem, but they struggle to before the true impact – both address the market.” social and economic – of these TLA has created an ecosystem newly commercialized UA that fully supports UA researchtechnologies is known. The fuers and connects them with ture impact of TLA and Tech – David Allen business intelligence resources, Parks Arizona is exponential. commercialization partners Allen said that, for maximum VP and mentors, and critical vensuccess, it’s vital that the local Tech Launch Arizona ture capital funds. Tech Parks business community is involved. University of Arizona Arizona offers business develop“It’s a long-term play,” he said. ment programs and world-class “The role the community can facilities including the Arizona Center for Innovation incubaplay is to have a responsive environment for dealing with eitor, technology hubs for testing, evaluation and demonstrather regulatory or capital access or university internship-type tion, and an attractive home for international firms looking programs. All those elements come together to make a great to access UA research assets through its Global Advantage ecosystem.” program. As a result, UA-created knowledge and inventions are able to get to the market faster and more successfully than Biz ever before.

We help the faculty member find a world-class team for their world-class technology. It’s an extremely successful – and nationally recognized – technology transfer model. We do it differently from almost every other university.

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Power Panel

Pro Automation

Cleveland Electric Labs

UA Tech Park at Rita Road Tech Parks Arizona is an energized community of university researchers, business leaders, innovators, emerging companies and technology giants working side-by-side to bring new scientific discoveries into the marketplace, grow the Southern Arizona economy and create quality jobs in the Tucson community. While achieving those goals, the University of Arizona is looking to new and ambitious initiatives to expand the positive impact of its parks. Tech Parks Arizona includes two very different university research parks in radically different stages of development. The first – the UA Tech Park at IMAGES: COURTESY TECH PARKS ARIZONA / TECH LAUNCH ARIZONA

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Tech Parks for Today & Tomorrow Ambitious Initiatives By David Pittman

Rita Road – is widely considered one of the nation’s premier research parks. It is home to 46 companies and tenants including IBM, Raytheon, Citi, OptumRx/UnitedHealth Group, Oracle and Tucson Electric Power. This thriving tech park off Interstate 10 is in a suburban setting near Vail, 15 minutes from downtown Tucson. The UA Tech Park at Rita Road, where approximately 6,000 employees work for these and other companies, is a significant economic driver in Southern Arizona. Park tenants have a $1.7 billion economic impact annually to the regional economy. The average wage of park employees is $91,145 – nearly

twice the Pima County average of $46,363. Now in its 23rd year of operation, the UA Tech Park at Rita Road began as the UA Office of Economic Development. The park – which includes 1,345 acres and 2 million square feet of office, laboratory and production space – was purchased from IBM in 1994. A second tech park acquired by the UA in 2007 – the UA Tech Park at The Bridges – is planned at a 65-acre parcel at East 36th Street and South Kino Boulevard. “This park has a strategic location that is in nearby proximity to downtown Tucson, the main campus of the

University of Arizona, Tucson International Airport and two interstate highways,” said Bruce A. Wright, associate VP for Tech Parks Arizona. “It is also close to Banner-University Medical Center, University Medical Center South Campus (aka Kino Hospital) and the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System. It’s a remarkable site.” The property is part of a 350-acre, mixed-use development, masterplanned community in the heart of metro Tucson. KB Home and Lennar Homes also own property at the site dedicated for residential development. Already there is considerable retail decontinued on page 88 >>> Summer 2017


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BizTECHNOLOGY Downtown Tucson

University of Arizona

Distance from The Bridges 2.5 miles

Distance from The Bridges 2.7 miles

UA Tech Park at The Bridges

UA Tech Park at Rita Road

Distance from The Bridges 13.4 miles

continued from page 87 velopment at The Bridges, including a Costco, Cinemark/ Century Theatre, Dave & Buster’s restaurant and Walmart. Detailed plans for the UA’s newest tech park are enticing – starting with the 180,000-square-foot Innovation and Technology Building, designed to be the hub of high-tech commercialization activity for the university. New UA President Robert “Robby” Robbins was given a

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windshield tour of The Bridges by Ron Shoopman, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents and CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Shoopman said Robbins was very impressed with the site, particularly the shovel-ready, high-tech infrastructure already in place. That infrastructure development was funded by a $4.7 million federal stimulus grant in 2009 as part of the American

ogy hub for the university and the community at The Bridges and have been inspired by other communities that have done this successfully, including:

• Tech

Square operated by Georgia Tech University in downtown Atlanta

• Millennium

Park in Chicago, which features outdoor, interactive areas to engage visitors

Park Center, a redevelopment effort undertaken at North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park

SkySong project, a public/private partnership between Arizona State University, the City of Scottsdale, Plaza Companies and Holualoa Companies

Wright said the 21st century economy is being driven by the infusion of technology into the marketplace and that Tech Parks Arizona is where high-tech companies of all sizes and the University of Arizona can work together to create new products and grow the Tucson and Southern Arizona economy. “Tech Parks are more than a collection of buildings and landlords; they are recognized as communities of innovation,” he said. “We are creating places that encourage, promote, advance and accelerate technology innovation.”


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Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grant provided essential infrastructure including roads, water and sewer systems, electricity, gas, high-tech communications conduit and perimeter landscaping – all at high-quality university standards. Shoopman called Robbins, a cardiac surgeon who founded Stanford Cardiovascular Institute in 2005, “an extraordinary leader with a lengthy and proven record of accomplishment.” He said Robbins “is very focused on the role of UA as an economic driver and looks forward to the opportunity to help shape the path of the Tech Park at The Bridges and serve the needs of the entire university.” The Innovation and Technology Building is estimated to cost $40 million. It would house technology commercialization activities, a business incubator and space for emerging technology companies, as well as Tech Launch Arizona and Tech Parks Arizona offices. It would also include an educational and workforce development center. By necessity, construction of the project must be undertaken as a public/private partnership. The potential for the UA Tech Park at The Bridges is huge. Talks are already underway to recruit operations to the park. Wright said, “We would also like to bring a hotel/conference center, parking facilities and a series of office buildings into the park during the first phase of development.” Wright said UA officials want to create “an urban technol-



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Hubs of Technology By David Pittman tainable energy; and reducing reliance on traditional energy A major challenge facing today’s innovator is the ability to sources. objectively test new technology and demonstrate its capabilities to the consumer. Testing and demonstration are critically “I think our society has generally accepted the fact that we important steps that must be taken prior to manufacturing need to transition increasingly from burning fossil fuels to reand successful market entry. Specialized facilities and indenewable energy in generating electricity,” said Powell. “With pendent testing and analysis establish a strong foundation for all the sunshine we have in Southern Arizona, solar energy is product development and market adoption. the right focus at this place and moment in time. The University of Arizona Tech Park is developing tech“In the Solar Zone we have technologies being demonstratnology hubs to do exactly this – to develop, test, evaluate and ed that use different kinds of photovoltaic materials. Some demonstrate products to investors and customers. These hubs are the flat panels people are used to seeing, some are huge are focused on industry sectors that align with the UA’s remirrors that concentrate the sun to the power of a thousand search strengths and on regional industries such as mining, suns, and still others are solar troughs. Which technologies use intelligent transportation systems and smart vehicles, as well less land and water in generating energy? How do we get efas advanced energy. ficiency up and costs down? Lots The UA Tech Park offers an ideal of questions need to be answered environment by connecting indus– that’s where research comes in.” try, university and community. “There are two issues with all Take for example, the Solar renewable energy, but solar in parZone at the UA Tech Park at Rita ticular. One is intermittency durRoad. At this sea of 95,000 solar ing the day when a cloud comes panels covering a 223-acre site, 10 over and causes the amount of energy companies have installed power produced to go up and multiple technologies side by side down,” Powell said. “This drives under identical conditions to evaluutility companies crazy because ate their effectiveness. they want to balance that. Having “The Solar Zone is the largest storage that turns on and off quickmultitechnology solar demonstraly to control the level of electricity tion site in the United States,” said generated is something critical for Richard Powell, former director of utilities. The second thing is the the UA Optical Sciences Center sun doesn’t always shine – so enand VP for research, now a senior ergy needs to be stored during the fellow at Tech Parks Arizona. day to be drawn out at night.” “It’s a partnership between the Tech Parks Arizona has initiUA and Tucson Electric Power, ated Phase Two of the Solar Zone, which work together to identify which includes research and develother solar companies capable of opment focused on energy storage, participating. It is a great example grid optimization, micro grids and of the university working to engage other advances to reduce the size – Richard Powell industry in and reap the benefits and increase the efficiency of solar Senior Fellow, Tech Parks Arizona of a collaborative relationship with systems. University of Arizona academia.” The first project of Phase Two The various technologies and is a new breed of energy-storage systems demonstrated at the Solar system. E.ON is developing a Zone represent more than $120 million in investment. The 10-megawatt battery storage unit and an accompanying Solar Zone is designed to generate 23 megawatts of electricity 2-megawatt solar array on contract for TEP. annually, which is nearly double the amount used at the Tech The Solar Zone is more than just an alternative-energy proving ground. It is a special place that brings university Park and enough energy to power 4,600 homes. and high-tech industry researchers together to test new ways Power generation and distribution is just one component of of doing things and solve real life challenges that ultimately the Solar Zone. Others include creating a place where comcould launch innovative new products that improve lives and panies can develop, test and demonstrate renewable energy make the world a better place. advancements; attracting private investment capital and suppliers to Southern Arizona; educating the public about susBiz


The Solar Zone is the largest multitechnology solar demonstration site in the United States. It’s a partnership between the UA and Tucson Electric Power, which work together to identify other solar companies capable of participating.

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‘Expect Success’ Mayor Welcomes Four New Companies

In February Mayor Jonathan Rothschild welcomed four new national and international Global Advantage companies to the University of Arizona Tech Park at Rita Road:

Chakratec Limited – an Israeli renewable-energy company

Power Panel – a U.S. technology design and manufacturing company

ProAutomation – a Mexican engineering services firm based in Hermosillo, Sonora

Cleveland Electric Labs – a U.S. company that commercializes nanomaterials for the energy sector

“I want to welcome you to the Global Advantage program, to the Tech Park and to Tucson,” the Mayor told a gathering of university, business and community leaders at the UA Tech Park. Global Advantage is a strategic business development program designed to attract fast-growth technology companies to the Arizona-Sonora region. “Two American companies, two foreign companies – all working here, receiving help here. That’s what Tucson is about. We’re an international city. We welcome international business. “We’re an entrepreneurial city. We welcome entrepreneurs. “We’re a border city – and we believe, we KNOW, that being close to the border with Mexico gives us a very important competitive advantage. I’ve said this many times, but it can’t be said enough – Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico form one manufacturing megaregion, one economic megaregion. “With this cohort, Global Advantage has really found its footing. A University of Arizona Tech Parks Arizona program, Global Advantage and its partners offer services that highgrowth-potential companies need:

Design, fabrication and manufacturing services through CAID Industries

Manufacturing and import/export services through The Offshore Group

• • • •

Legal services through Farhang & Medcoff

Software development and back-office support through Intugo, our Sonoran partner

Global network of business coaches and consultants through GBP Consulting & Coaching

Plus research facilities, partnerships, business assistance and more through Tech Parks Arizona

IT services through Involta Energy services through Tucson Electric Power Real estate services through Cushman & Wakefield | Picor

“With these wrap-around services, you can expect success.”



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University of Arizona President Sees Potential for Global Partnerships On June 1 Dr. Robert C. Robbins will take the reins of the University of Arizona as its 22nd president. An internationally recognized cardiac surgeon and researcher, he comes to Tucson from the Texas Medical Center where he was president and CEO for the last five years. When he was named president on April 7 by the Arizona Board of Regents, Robbins said, “I’m doing this because I feel that being the leader of a comprehensive university is in my opinion one of the highest callings one can have in society. The university is so important to the fabric of our society – it’s a place for the exchange of ideas and generation of knowledge.”

– Dr. Robert C. Robbins 22nd President, University of Arizona


I appreciate the process of bringing research and inventions out of the lab and into the market. As our knowledge-based economy accelerates, the role of research universities gains in importance. The UA has the research attributes, culture and commercialization expertise to become an even greater economic driver in our community and the state. Biz

Meet Dr. Robert C. Robbins An internationally recognized cardiac surgeon, Dr. Robert C. Robbins is deeply committed to research. He’s focused his clinical efforts on acquired cardiac diseases with a special expertise in the surgical treatment of congestive heart failure and cardiothoracic transplantation. His research work includes the investigation of stem cells for cardiac regeneration, cardiac transplant allograft vasculopathy, bioengineered blood vessels and automated vascular anastomotic devices. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles. Robbins served as president and CEO at Texas Medical Center for five years before he was named President of the University of Arizona. He previously was professor and chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Stanford University

School of Medicine and the founding director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. His extensive experience includes serving as president of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the Western Thoracic Surgical Association and the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate. He also chaired the American Heart Association Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia Council. Born and raised in Mississippi, Robbins is a graduate of Millsaps College. He received his medical degree and general surgical training at the University of Mississippi, cardiothoracic training at Stanford University and did postdoctoral research at Columbia University and the National Institutes of Health.

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High-Tech Circle of Innovation By David Pittman Tech Parks Arizona, with its focus on technology commercialization, utilizes two methods to create jobs, bring economic growth and increase technological innovation in Tucson and Southern Arizona. The first, the University of Arizona’s incubator called the Arizona Center for Innovation, uses an inside-out strategy to help technology startup companies, many born from research conducted at the university, to strategize their ventures so that the market will pull their products out into the marketplace. The second, a program called Global Advantage, utilizes an outside-in strategy that recruits new and growing technology companies of all sizes from around the world to Tucson. Global Advantage recruitment efforts are directed at technology companies in the United States, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Finland and Germany. Through Tech Parks Arizona, the UA is working with industry and the business community to develop technology hubs focused around the university’s research strengths. The focus is on six key industry sectors and three cross-cutting technologies that support them – all of which have a strong or emerging industry base in Southern Arizona:

• • • • • •

Health and biosciences Defense and security

In support of these, another focus is informatics, sustainability and imaging. Global Advantage brings people, organizations and resources together, providing companies with office and lab space through Tech Parks Arizona and a soft-landing program for companies relocating to Tucson. It offers companies a competitive leg up by assisting with market access, product development, manufacturing assistance and business development. Global

Tech parks are places where university communities and industry connect around the notion of technology innovation – which is driving the 21st century economy.

– Bruce Wright Associate VP, Tech Parks Arizona University of Arizona

Advantage also helps companies tap into a trusted network of partner companies for advice. Such partners include Tucson Electric Power, Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR and The Offshore Group. Several companies have recently joined the Global Advantage program including:

Chakratec – an Israeli renewableenergy company that has developed a kinetic battery for commercial and industrial applications. The product line includes electricvehicle charging stations.

Cleveland Electric Labs – a U.S. company founded in 1920 that specializes in thermocouple products, fiber-optic sensing solutions and turbine engine testing and instrumentation.

ProAutomation – an engineering services firm based in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, that develops industrial automation solutions for clients in the automotive, aerospace, mining and food-processing industries.

Power Panel – a U.S. technology design and manufacturing company that has developed breakthrough solar technology maximizing the conversion of sunlight into electricity and hot water by combining photovoltaic and thermal technologies into one module.

Elitise – a Tucson-based engineering firm developing a lithium ion battery called InduraPower Intelligent Battery.

Advanced energy Arid lands agriculture and water Sustainable mining Intelligent transportation systems and smart vehicles

continued on page 100 >>>

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Making It Happen By David Allen In Tech Launch Arizona’s 2013 Strategic Plan we set a vision: “By 2020, the University of Arizona through Tech Launch Arizona will become a recognized national resource for its role in commercializing UA-created knowledge and bringing the university’s inventions to the public for economic and social benefit.” We cast this vision not because we seek recognition, but because we understand that for a university reputation has economic consequence. A reputation for excellence in commercialization at the UA will have clear and measurable results – such as attracting top faculty, students and donors, and engendering a positive attitude among alumni, research funding sources, our community and our elected officials. We have laid the foundation, our collaborators and stakeholders have worked with us through a strong turnaround, and our community has taken note of the momentum and growth of the UA in these areas. Through continued diligence, as we expand the commercialization ecosystem and strategically and efficiently deploy existing and new resources, TLA will continue to scale and innovate activities to create the impact that will turn this vision statement into reality. David Allen is VP of Tech Launch Arizona at the University of Arizona.

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Created in 2003, the Arizona Center for Innovation at the UA Tech Park at Rita Road is the longest-standing business incubation program in Arizona. More than 100 companies have participated in this program. Anita Bell, senior manager at AzCI, has worked at the incubator since it was established. She said about half of the companies currently in the program are UA startups, and 68 percent of all the companies that have gone through AzCI are now operating as successful businesses. Of those that successfully completed the program, all but two have remained in Tucson. “When companies arrive at AzCI they are pre-revenue – which means they have no customers and are not selling anything,” she said. “In order for them to operate, they need funding. That can come from private investment or government grants from organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation or the Defense Department.” To date, startups that have participated in the AzCI incubation process have raised more than $30 million in funding. In addition to incubation and mentoring services, AzCI helps technology startups to develop and commercialize their ideas, discoveries and inventions. AzCI provides those companies with quality office space, wet and dry laboratories, video conference rooms and a secured computer server room. It also offers clients a structured business development program called Mentored Launch that includes workshops, seminars and networking opportunities. AzCI and Global Advantage are key components of Tech Parks Arizona’s business development strategy. Global Advantage has a proactive approach to attract companies into the region, and AzCI grows early-stage companies to a level where they can begin to generate revenue, then make use of Global Advantage services. Both are important programs in addition to traditional tenant recruitment that contributes to the success of Tech Parks Arizona and the economic development of the region. Although Bell works with many innovative, high-tech startups, business, not technology, is her strong suit. She said the founders of incubator startups are usually quite knowledgeable in their particular fields, but have little business experience. “Sometimes they know about marketing, but not about financials, or vice versa,” she said. “We train them in the basics of business and they decide whether it is something they want to handle or if they want to contract that out.” “Tech parks are places where university communities and industry connect around the notion of technology innovation – which is driving the 21st century economy,” said Bruce Wright, associate VP of Tech Parks Arizona. “There are now about 170 university research parks in the United States. They are an increasingly dynamic and essential force in technology communities.”


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