UTSA opens New Venture Incubator to nurture technology start-ups

Venture Incubator

From left are Robert Gracy, UTSA vice president for research; Cory Hallam, director of UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship; Ian Clements, ViroXis president and CEO; and Professor James Chambers, who is helping ViroXis with virology research

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(March 9, 2010)--UTSA celebrates the opening of the New Venture Incubator (NVI), a facility with laboratory, office and meeting spaces to support technology start-ups in the San Antonio region. Housed on the UTSA Main Campus, the incubator will serve as a bridge between San Antonio entrepreneurs and the region's research and development community.

The NVI provides a mechanism to connect world-class research in its labs with business partners that will take the innovations forward through commercialization. NVI will 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 facility 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 the 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," said Cory Hallam, director of the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology 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."

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, 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 in the UTSA tech 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 the 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. Approximately 20 million people in the United States between ages 15 and 49 are infected with HPV.