The University of Arizona is joining up withArizona State University on its effort to help commercialize research-developed patents that, so far, haven’t done much but sit around the office.
The patents will head into the mix created by AZ Furnace, a program designed to connect researchers with entrepreneurs to bring more startup activity to the state. Using the patents also would generate licensing revenue for the universities.
UA’s commitment includes a $25,000 seed funding grant as well as space at its BIO5 Oro Valley Accelerator or the Arizona Center of Innovation in Tucson. Space also would be available at ASU’s SkySong in Scottsdale.
AZ Furnace is primarily funded by the Arizona Commerce Authority, which is putting in $400,000, and BioAccel, which is contributing another $150,000.
ASU officials at SkySong had been trying for several weeks to bring UA into the program.Northern Arizona University and Dignity Health already are contributing patents.
The way the program works is that each group contributes research patents that have yet to be commercialized. It then invites entrepreneurs to submit proposals on ways to turn those patents into businesses.
UA will join AZ Furnace through its Tech Launch Arizona program.
David Allen, executive director of Tech Launch Arizona, said the program will be a good compliment to what the Tucson university is trying to do with its technology.
UA does about $600 million worth of sponsored research that is capable of spinning out patents and new technologies across a spectrum of areas that could be commercialized, Allen said.
“We’re not particularly targeting one area with our work with the Furnace,” he said. “We are excited that they have the program in place and look forward to seeing what sort of starting venture partners look like and what they can develop.”
Gordon McConnell, assistant vice president for innovation, entrepreneurship and venture acceleration at ASU’s Venture Catalyst at SkySong, said the goal has been to establish a statewide effort aimed at entrepreneurs and startups, with the goal of keeping those businesses in Arizona.
For ASU, the program is part of a revamping of what is going on at SkySong in trying to build a better startup base for companies since the center launched four years ago.