It’s hard to imagine that a former cow pasture on the outskirts of a small town in Northern Florida is now home to the best business incubator in the world. Opening in 1995 as one of the first bio-business incubators in the US, in 2017 the Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute was given the highest award of the International Business Innovation Association — Incubator of the Year. They were also awarded the Global Science and Technology Incubator of the Year in 2017.
It certainly has helped to be part of the University Florida, yet the real advantage is in their “whatever it takes” attitude.
From the beginning, the Incubator had focused on providing expertise and guidance. Plus the facilities, laboratory equipment, and a network of industry contacts to help their startups grow and prosper.
When the doors opened to the newly built expansion of the Innovation Hub at the University of Florida, the Warrington College of Business was one of the first entities to get space inside.
The Innovation Hub, originally 48,000 square feet of offices, labs and common areas built to incubate technology startups, is now nearly 100,000 square feet of wet labs, offices, and light manufacturing space just blocks from the main UF campus. It is also home to the Collaboratory for Women Innovators, officially part of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center (EIC) in the college of business.
In a new collaboration with the technology business incubator, the EIC in the Warrington College of Business will direct the Collaboratory program, which includes the established Empowering Women in Technology Startups (Ewits) program.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of voretigene neparvovec, to be marketed as LUXTURNA, will be life-changing for patients with vision loss due to mutations in the RPE65 gene and a watershed moment for the inherited retinal disease field, says the Foundation Fighting Blindness. The Foundation was an important early investor in LUXTURNA, providing $10 million in critical seed funding for the therapy.
The groundbreaking treatment is the first gene therapy for the eye and for any inherited disease to be approved by the FDA. The treatment restores vision by delivering working copies of the RPE65 gene directly into the retina, thereby compensating for the nonfunctional, mutated genes.
LUXTURNA is the result of more than two decades of research and development at the University of Florida, the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Spark Therapeutics. The Foundation Fighting Blindness’ seed investment allowed researchers to take the therapy through the early investigational stages critical to any treatment development.
Two University of Florida incubators and GrowFL are pleased to announce that startup Captozyme is among the 50 statewide winners selected for the 2017 Florida Companies to WatchSM. Captozyme, a biotechnology company developing therapeutic enzymes to prevent oxalate kidney stones, has developed its business in both the Innovation Hub at UF and the UF Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute in Alachua. It is one of 50 companies selected from more than 500 nominees throughout Florida for the award, hosted by GrowFL, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation.
Captozyme’s management team, competitive market position and strong community involvement were among several factors that put them in contention for the award, along with the 49 other winners.
The University of Florida will receive an additional $7.4 million in state performance funding this year versus last year, bringing the total allotted to the university since 2014 to more than $103 million. The money will be used in UF’s ongoing efforts to hire and retain the world’s best and brightest faculty and keep the university on the path to becoming one of the nation’s very best public research universities.
UF received 95 points out of 100 – the highest score of all the 11 public universities in Florida measured in the performance-funding model created in 2014 by the Florida Board of Governors, the governing body for the State University System of Florida.
The university’s high score was due in part to increasing its number of licenses and options executed on technologies developed at the university, a measure of how successful its ideas are in the marketplace, from 147 to 261. That distinction gave UF a No. 3 ranking nationwide, according to the latest statistics released in November by the Association of University Technology Managers.
The licensing of university research has made a significant contribution to US gross domestic product (GDP), industry gross output, and jobs over the last two decades, according to an independent study commissioned by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), which was released today.
The report, “The Economic Contribution of University/Nonprofit Inventions in the United States: 1996- 2015,” documents the sizeable return that US taxpayers receive on their investment in federally-funded research. It shows that, during a 20-year period, academic patents and the subsequent licensing to industry bolstered US industry gross output by up to $1.33 trillion, US GDP by up to $591 billion, and supported up to 4,272,000 person years of employment.
Do you want to change the world? OTL needs a licensing associate to join with us in our mission, moving inventions from the labs into the marketplace where they can make the world a better place. This licensing associate position assists a licensing team by providing administrative support for all aspects of managing the protection and licensing of new technologies. It involves communication and organizational skills and an amazing ability to work with people, a finicky database, deadlines, details, and patent laws. The ideal person for this position applies painstaking attention to the tiniest of details, yet balances a portfolio of hundreds of inventions in various states in a single leap. Yes, we want an organizational superhero with a passion to make the world a better place. Apply here if you are that hero.
Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute (SMBI), the leading biotechnology incubator at the University of Florida, has been awarded the Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year award for 2017, the highest award given by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA). InBIA is the world’s leading organization for advancing business incubation, acceleration and entrepreneurship.
SMBI was named Incubator of the Year among more than 7,500 incubators worldwide. The annual award, sponsored by the Friends of the University Science Center in Philadelphia, recognizes the top global business incubation program and includes a cash prize. SMBI earned the award in 2013 as well, and it is the only incubator to have received the honor twice.
The University of Florida ranks third among all research universities in the country for getting its ideas out of the laboratory and into the real world, according to the Milken Institute’s 2017 ranking of Best Universities for Technology Transfer.
UF was fifth in 2006, the last time the report was issued by the Santa Monica, California-based independent economic think tank. The new ranking places UF ahead of schools such as Stanford, MIT and Cal Tech, as well as the entire University of Texas System.
The University of Florida has a new O’Connell to welcome in Gainesville. After a thorough national search, UF has selected Jim O’Connell as the new assistant vice president for technology transfer and the director of the Office of Technology Licensing.
“Mr. O’Connell will work with internal and external constituents to provide strategic leadership and direction in building and capitalizing on facilities, expertise, and technology at the University of Florida,” said Dr. David Norton, vice president for research.
O’Connell will oversee the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) program and be responsible for two business incubators, the Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute and the Innovation Hub at UF. OTL transfers technologies arising from the discoveries of UF faculty and staff to the marketplace in order to enhance the university’s educational and research missions.