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UTSA Opens New Venture Incubator to Nurture Tech Start-ups
March 8, 2010

Bio-pharmaceutical company ViroXis will be the first to move in

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) celebrates the grand opening of its New Venture Incubator (NVI), a facility with laboratory, office and meeting spaces to support technology start-ups in the greater San Antonio region.  The incubator, housed on UTSA’s Main Campus, will serve as a bridge between San Antonio entrepreneurs and the region’s research and development community.

UTSA’s NVI provides a mechanism to connect world-class research in its labs with business partners that will take the innovations forward through commercialization.  The NVI is designed to support companies that are commercializing UTSA intellectual property or sponsoring research in UTSA labs that can lead to the generation of new UTSA intellectual property.  The NVI will fit into the broader technology commercialization environment of San Antonio as an early phase source of new ventures.

As part of this connection to a broader entrepreneurial ecosystem, UTSA established a Commercialization Council that includes an influential group of top executives who meet monthly to advance the region’s status in technology entrepreneurship.

“The goal of the Commercialization Council is to develop the linkages between organizations that can play a key role in the region’s technology-based entrepreneurship.  Ultimately, we want tech entrepreneurs to look at San Antonio the same way they look at Austin or Silicon Valley.  We want them to know they are welcome here, and we have strong partners who can help them grow their businesses,” said Cory Hallam, director of the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship.

Currently, the Council includes representatives from UTSA, Southwest Research Institute, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative, Biomed SA, South Texas Technology Management, The Small Business Development Center and AT&T.

“UTSA recognizes the potential of establishing a campus-based technology incubator for San Antonio entrepreneurs that have direct ties to the university,” said Hallam. “By working with promising new companies that are aligned with the university’s research strengths, we create a win-win partnership that benefits the university through increased research funding and IP licenses while providing start-ups with connections to the support they need to become successful free-standing enterprises.”

Bio-pharmaceutical ViroXis Corp. will be the first start-up to occupy space in UTSA’s incubator.  The company aims to identify and patent botanically-derived compounds for use in infectious disease and cancer therapies.  Over the next two to three years in UTSA’s incubator, ViroXis will work to develop a rapid, cost-effective and proven botanical prescription drug targeting human papillomavirus (HPV).  HPV, which causes skin and genital wart infections, is the leading cause of cervical cancer.  Currently, approximately 20 million people in the United States between the ages of 15 and 49 are infected with HPV.

Photo: Cutting the ribbon for UTSA’s New Venture Incubator are, from left, Dr. Cory Hallam of UTSA, Ian Clements of ViroXis, Dr. Bob Gracy, and Dr. Jim Chambers, both of UTSA. (Photo by Corey Levenson)

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