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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


2014 best year yet for technology commercialization at UA


Courtesy of Tech Launch Arizona
David Allen (pictured) is the vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, an entity that helps transform the research of faculty and students at the UA into inventions and intellectual property. In the last fiscal year, TLA has executed 39 exclusive licenses and options, filed 167 patents, issued 24 patents, received 188 invention disclosures from faculty inventors and created 11 startup companies.

This past year was the UA’s most successful fiscal year yet for technology commercialization due to the efforts of Tech Launch Arizona.

TLA is the unit responsible for advancing UA discoveries made by faculty and students into inventions and intellectual property. According to a press release from the TLA office, fiscal year 2014 was TLA’s first full year of operation with a complete team, new programs and procedures in place.

The press release listed some of this year’s notable accomplishments, which included 39 exclusive licenses and options executed, 167 patents filed, 24 patents issued, 188 invention disclosures received from faculty inventors and 11 startup companies created.

The UA formed TLA in 2013 by fusing three separate functions — technology transfer, tech parks and corporate and business relations — and implementing new venture development as a fourth function. TLA modeled some of its strategies after the practices of top commercialization universities and made a concerted effort to hire experts in a range of fields.

“We’ve hired outstanding people and executed new service-oriented procedures to put the UA on a new trajectory of economic impact,” said David Allen, TLA vice president.

Allen said that because of the UA’s broad range of research areas, TLA works with faculty from all dimensions of research to create a broad range of technologies.

“I think that the people that are here now are more talented and prepared to do this,” said Victor Hruby, regents professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Hruby said the university’s current focus on technological commercialization has many benefits, including increased publicity, as well as the possibility of significant societal and economic impacts.

“Over a long period of time these companies can grow into something really substantial and create jobs and improve quality of life for people in our community,” said Paul Tumarkin, TLA marketing and communications manager.

Allen said he predicts the UA’s reputation will benefit as a result.

“Our vision for TLA is for the University of Arizona to become one of the top universities related to technological commercialization,” Allen said. He added that he thinks the UA now ranks among the top 25 universities for technological commercialization.

According to Tumarkin, there are a variety of ways students can get involved in TLA, such as connecting with TLA Ambassadors, student staff who help students with ideas for businesses or inventions network and connect to community resources. Students with entrepreneurial inclinations also have the option of attending pitch days where they have the opportunity to present their business ideas to a panel of experts.

TLA also has a student fellows program geared toward law students with a technical, engineering or medical background that allows them to assist with market research and evaluating new technologies. Students interested in learning more about commercialization can attend TLA workshops.

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