UF Incubator News: UF Innovate | The Hub Holds Open House (Alligator)

About 80 people were surrounded by sleek chrome light fixtures and stacked two-story high windows as they walked into the UF Innovate lobby on March 28.

UF Innovate | The Hub, a business incubator located at 747 SW 2nd Avenue, held an open house Wednesday for its new second wing. The Hub is a business incubator meant to promote the success of start-up companies.

UF Incubator News: Merrie Shaw Awarded UF Superior Accomplishment Honor


Merrie Shaw, Assistant Director of UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, appears with Jim O’Connell, Assistant Vice President of Technology Commercialization and Director, UF Innovate | Tech Licensing, at the awards reception March 5.

Assistant Director Merrie Shaw has been named a UF Superior Accomplishment award winner for her outstanding service at UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech. UF President Kent Fuchs and Vice President Jodi Gentry honored Merrie and other Division One nominees at a reception March 5 at the Earl and Christy Powell University House.

The award program recognizes staff members who are nominated by their peers because they “contribute outstanding and meritorious service, efficiency and/or economy, or to the quality of life provided to students and employees.”

“Merrie Shaw definitely embodies all of the characteristics of the UF Superior Accomplishment Award,” said Mark Long, director of incubation services at UF. “UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech is the only incubator in the world that has been awarded ‘Global Incubator of the Year’ twice – in 2013 and again in 2017. Merrie Shaw is the consistent element for both of those awards.”

Shaw began work as the manager at Sid Martin in 2005, serving under then-director Patti Breedlove, before becoming Assistant Director in 2015 and working with Breedlove’s successor, Long.

“Merrie is dedicated to the success of our clients,” Long added. “She definitely goes ‘above and beyond’ to ensure clients at Sid Martin Biotech receive the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to benefitting from their association with the University of Florida through residency at Sid Martin.”

UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, located in Alachua, offers quality laboratory space, conference and training rooms, animal facilities, greenhouses and more than $1.5 million of shared scientific equipment to biotechnology startup companies. In addition to facilities and equipment, the business incubator provides advice, mentoring and opportunity for investment to the early-stage bioscience companies that choose to grow at Sid Martin.

The Superior Accomplishment Awards program started Sept. 11 and accepted nominations through Oct. 31. Employees were nominated based on their outstanding service in their fields during the academic year of Aug. 1, 2016 through July 31, 2017. UF Division-level award recipients received $200 in addition to a certificate and university memento. Shaw and other division-level awardees now compete for university-level awards (eight $1,000 and eight $2,000 cash awards plus an opportunity to attend a UF football game in the president’s box this season).

By Sara Dagen, UF Innovate staff writer

UF Incubator News: Sid Martin Helps Entrepreneurs Rapidly Bridge Gap Between Vision and Growth (Florida Trend)

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.

UF Incubator News: Innovation Hub and Warrington College of Business Provide Space for Women’s Collaboratory and Gator Accelerator (UF News)

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.

LUXTURNA, Gene Therapy to Fight Blindness Approved by FDA, Is a Result of UF Research (Blindness.org)

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.

UF Incubator News: Captozyme Named as Florida Company to Watch

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.

UF to Receive Additional $7.4 Million in State Performance Funding (UF News)

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.

New Report: Licensing of Academic Patents Has Contributed up to $1.3 Trillion to US Economy (BusinessWire)

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.

OTL Is Hiring a Licensing Associate

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.


UF Incubator News: Sid Martin Biotechnology Institute Named World’s No. 1 Biotech Incubator

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.