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Tech Launch Arizona sets performance records in its third year

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Jesus Barrera | The Daily Wildcat

Geography and geoscience freshman Manny Lin and pre-business freshman Linjie Liu read about Tech Launch Arizona while visiting the building on Nov. 30, 2015. Tech Launch Arizona set performance records in their third year of operation. 

Tech Launch Arizona looks forward to another great year of aiding the truly innovative after a fiscal year of hitting their licensing, patents and invention goals.

Serving as the UA’s department for technological commercialization, TLA reported a 40 percent increase in filed patents, as well as significant increases in invention disclosures and licensing at the end of this past fiscal year.

“Fundamentally, we changed the whole approach of commercialization from a passive one to one that is much more active, using the faculty as the lead in the process and serving the faculty inventors as customers,” said David Allen, TLA vice president.

In hopes of advancing the technologies coming out of the UA, TLA has started reaching out to UA alumni to help the development of new technologies.

“We’ve opened ourselves up to resources beyond the university,” Allen said. “We have a 1,400 person domain network, so when we receive an invention, we can find a few people, mostly UA alumni and Tucson technology communities, that can help us understand the market context for an invention. That leads us in a much clearer direction as to who or what company might adopt the technology.”

In the three years of its existence, TLA has had almost 800 inventions disclosed.

This year there were 250 invention disclosures, 37 more than the previous year and 62 more than the year prior to that.

Last fiscal year, TLA also saw 278 patents filed, 97 total executed options and licenses, 14 startups licensing UA technologies and 27 funded asset development project.

The 14 startups from the last fiscal year were all companies based around intellectual property generated from UA research.

Promutech Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company who provides new types of treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, is just one of the companies that has emerged from TLA.

TLA will continue to see growth in activity due to their now proven ability to work with people and produce finished products, according to Allen.

“What we keep looking for are higher quality approaches and people with more seasoned experience to help our inventors—those who can help our inventors understand the market and bring in their expertise,” Allen said.

One of the two spots housing TLA is the UA Tech Park that houses 40 tenant companies and had an $1.74 billion impact in 2015, according to TLA.

TLA was also selected earlier this year as the site for National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, which provides $2,250 individual project grants to help tech entrepreneurs find prospective customers.

TLA Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications, Paul Tumarkin, said he really enjoys sharing the success stories that come out of Tech Launch Arizona.

“One of the first things I worked on, years ago, we spun out a company called Symphony Rx that was a solution out of the college of pharmacy that essentially helps identify medication interactions for patients,” Tumarkin said. “The company has been growing like crazy here in Tucson, and a couple of locations around the country. The neat thing about them is that they did a deal with Walmart and with that deal, all of a sudden, this UA invention and company was going to impact the lives of millions of patients.”

READ: Tech Launch AZ is raking in the awards: named Arizona's academic Innovator of the Year


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