U.S Department of Commerce Awards ATI-Bioscience Incubator $140,000

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Community, state, and federal leaders join forces to support life sciences in Central Texas.

The Austin Technology Incubator, a not-for-profit arm of The University of Texas at Austin, received a $140,000 grant from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to fund a feasibility study for developing wet-lab space for life-sciences companies.

A wet-lab houses the testing and analysis of chemicals and biological materials and therefore requires a special facility with running water, ventilation and specialized utility access. The study will determine best practices for existing wet-lab facilities, identify costs and potential sites for the lab and evaluate the overall economic impact of the new facility.

The grant, spearheaded by ATI Director Isaac Barchas and former ATI-Bioscience Director Dr. Jessica Hanover, achieved support from Austin City Mayor Lee Leffingwell, UT’s Vice President of Research Juan M. Sanchez, U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Tx., and John Cornyn, R-Tx., U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul, R-Tx., Lloyd Doggett, D-Tx., and Lamar Smith, R- Tx., life-sciences investor and Managing Partner of Santé Ventures Kevin Lalande, Civic Analytics economic consultant Brian Kelsey and executive leadership from The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Fulbright & Jaworski, Grubb & Ellis, CAPCOG and Opportunity Austin. Newly appointed ATI-Bioscience Director Dr. Cindy WalkerPeach will administer the grant going forward.

“The proposed Wet Lab Feasibility Study would determine the appropriate scale and scope of the wet-lab facilities in Austin,” Santé Ventures MP Kevin Lalande said in a letter supporting the study. “This would provide focus and guidance to local efforts to improve our life-sciences infrastructure. In this way, it could lead rapidly to the construction of infrastructure appropriate to the job creation potential of the life sciences in Austin.”

The Austin Technology Incubator capitalized on Austin’s competitive strengths providing market-based results. Additionally, the Incubator demonstrated advanced productivity, innovation, entrepreneurship, strong organizational leadership and effective cooperation among the business sector, relevant regional partners, and local, state and federal governments. “The EDA grant to support the Austin Technology Incubator’s wet-lab facility feasibility study in Austin will have a major impact on our economic development strategy,” Mayor Leffingwell said. “We believe that wet-lab infrastructure would accelerate the growth of life-sciences companies in Austin, and we welcome the opportunity to prove out and game plan that part of our economic development agenda.”

About the Austin Technology Incubator
The Austin Technology Incubator is a nonprofit unit of The University of Texas at Austin that harnesses business, government and academic resources to provide strategic counsel, operational guidance and infrastructure support to its member companies to help them transition from early stage ventures to successful technology businesses. Since its founding in 1989, ATI has worked with over 200 companies, helping them raise close to $750 million in investor capital. ATI is a key program of the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. For more information, visit http://www.ati.utexas.edu.


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Melissa Rabeaux
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