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University of Arizona Customized Executive Education - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Flinn Foundation announces staff leadership appointments

After more than five years in a key role at the Flinn Foundation, Executive Vice President Cathy McGonigle has announced her retirement. McGonigle’s departure June 26 will trigger three additional leadership changes at the Foundation.

Two of the further staff moves will be internal. Brad Halvorsen has been named the Foundation’s new Executive Vice President. Matt Ellsworth will fill Halvorsen’s previous role as Vice President, Communications. Anne Lassen has been hired from the University of Arizona to serve as Assistant Vice President, Flinn Scholars Program, the position Ellsworth previously held.

McGonigle arrived at the Foundation in 2010 and has provided strategic management across the Foundation’s program areas. Among many accomplishments, she led the design and early implementation of Flinn’s newest program, the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership; developed an initiative to support early-stage bioscience firms; and oversaw the update of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap for its second decade.

“Cathy’s 46-year career testifies to how one person’s talent, commitment, and smart decisions can benefit the whole community,” said Jack B. Jewett, president and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “She had a distinguished tenure in state and local government and a highly effective decade at the Arizona Board of Regents.

“At Flinn, we have benefitted immeasurably from Cathy’s skills in strategic planning, communication, and coalition building,” Jewett continued. “In no small part because of her work, the Flinn Foundation is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year in a dynamic and promising position.”

Post-retirement, McGonigle will consult part-time for the Foundation, primarily on projects intended to advance the biosciences in Arizona.

Halvorsen, a longtime staff member, has been promoted to serve as the Flinn Foundation’s next Executive Vice President. Halvorsen joined the Foundation as its first communications officer in 1989, and his responsibilities have grown with the scope of the Foundation’s initiatives. As Vice President, Communications, he has overseen communications with internal and external audiences, publications development, online productions, media relations, and special events. As Executive Vice President, Halvorsen will exercise strategic leadership across the Foundation’s program areas, in particular guiding the Foundation’s stewardship of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap and providing senior oversight of the Flinn Scholars Program.
“Brad is not just a superb writer. He’s a superb thinker,” Jewett said. “He understands the vision that Dr. and Mrs. Flinn had for this Foundation. He is very well acquainted with the philanthropic landscape and has encyclopedic knowledge of our past endeavors. In his new role, he will enhance the Flinn Foundation’s pursuit of its mission: improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations.”

Ellsworth, who joined the Foundation in 2007 as a member of the communications team, will succeed Halvorsen as Vice President, Communications. In 2012, he was appointed Assistant Vice President, Flinn Scholars Program. A 1993 Flinn Scholar himself, Ellsworth has achieved a record volume of application submissions and led the Scholars Program’s accelerating outreach to Flinn Scholar alumni. In addition, he has overseen the early development of a new professional-leadership internship program for current Scholars.

Lassen, the Flinn Foundation’s newest executive, is the incoming Assistant Vice President, Flinn Scholars Program. Lassen joins the Foundation from the University of Arizona, where she served as Associate Director of National Recruitment. In that position, Lassen managed UA’s out-of-state undergraduate recruitment efforts, as well as those in central and northern Arizona. A lifelong Arizonan, Lassen holds a master’s degree in counseling and bachelor’s degree in speech communication, both from Northern Arizona University.

The initiative she will lead, the Flinn Scholars Program, was introduced in 1986 as a partnership with Arizona’s public universities to retain in Arizona the state’s most accomplished and promising high-school graduates. Each spring, approximately 20 Arizona high-school seniors are awarded the comprehensive scholarship, valued at more than $115,000, to attend Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, or the University of Arizona. The Flinn Scholarship is one of only a handful of foundation-sponsored merit scholarships of its scope nationwide.

“Matt’s time as director of the Flinn Scholars Program has been relatively brief but it has been impactful,” Jewett said. “Now we have the opportunity to apply his strategic and management skills in a broader way. I’m pleased that communications will remain one of Flinn’s hallmark strengths with Matt at the helm.

“And in Anne Lassen, we have an experienced, multitalented new leader for the Flinn Scholars Program,” Jewett continued. “Her excellence as a manager and her deep knowledge of Arizona’s education landscape will pay dividends for us, but even more so for those she will serve: prospective, current, and alumni Flinn Scholars and their families.”


What would you do with a billion dollars?

Last week, Representative Bob Robson , Speaker pro tempore of the Arizona House of Representatives introduced House Bill 2033 which would create a funding vehicle to enable our universities to maintain and expand our research infrastructure at that level.

At a time when the state is projecting a $500 million budget shortfall in fiscal 2014-15 and projected $1 billion shortage in the following fiscal year, some people might say that making bold investments at a time when dollars are tight is something we cannot afford to do. Yet, if we are truly committed to building a diversified and stronger economy, one that will benefit our state today and into the future, we can’t afford not to.

It was Robson’s bill in 2003 that made $500 million worth of financing available for the construction of new research facilities at our universities including the ASU Biodesign Institute, UA BIO5, Research Facilities at NAU, components of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, and more. Economic analysis of this initial investment has shown that each dollar invested generated seven dollars in return.

These facilities and the work that occurs within their walls serve as a magnet to attract great talent. These facilities are places where our students gain the practical experience that will enable them to become our future leaders. These facilities are the place where we begin the process of discovery, development, and delivery that leads to the creation of life changing innovations that will benefit people here in Arizona and around the world.

Since the creation of these facilities, Arizona’s Bioscience Industry has grown. Jobs in bioscience related fields have increased by 45 percent, nearly four times greater than the nation. While not every one of these jobs is directly related to our university research infrastructure, all of them depend on both it and the credibility is gives to our growing bioscience sector which in 2014 again moved up in the national rankings.

In 2014, the Flinn Foundation published the second generation of the Arizona Bioscience Roadmap, a renewed commitment and a plan developed collaboratively by leaders from across Arizona. In its opening pages it reads:

“To achieve the Roadmap’s vision, five transformative steps are recommended: make risk capital more readily available to Arizona’s early-stage bioscience firms; boost the research revenues of the state’s research-performing institutions; further develop the research infrastructure at the state universities; attract industry and research anchors; and develop ties to economic partners in neighboring markets. Achieving these steps will require a profound increase in investment, primarily from the private sector but with key public-sector investments playing a necessary and vital role. Going forward, Arizona should continue its strategy to focus resources and efforts on areas where it excels.”

It is not the State of Arizona’s job to accomplish all of these things. It will take all of us, working together, reaching out nationally and internationally, and in ways that are both creative and sustainable.

Representative Robson has again offered us a catalyst for innovation and economic growth. In science, a catalyst is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction, but is not consumed by the reaction; hence a catalyst can be recovered chemically unchanged at the end of the reaction it has been used to speed up, or catalyze. HB2033 crates an economic catalyst which when it becomes law can generate the energy and economic impact we need to take our economy and our state to new levels of success, and through its design be recovered through the economic gains it will create.

Instead of lamenting on what we don’t have, it’s time to build on what we do. Now is our opportunity, as industry and as Arizonans, to get behind HB 2033 and catalyze strategic investments in Arizona’s future.

Joan Koerber-Walker is President and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association and Chairman of the State Medical Technology Alliance in Washington, D.C.


Bioscience innovators will pitch at White Hat Investors

Bioindustry Associations from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region are coming together to present an opportunity for Angels, Venture Capitalists and Strategic Investors to connect with the biotech and healthcare investment opportunities from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest states at White Hat Investors 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona on September 17 and 18, 2014.

“The West was won by innovators, investors, and prospectors who understood the value of discovery and accepted the challenge of investing in new frontiers,” shared Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio). “Now, industry leaders and accredited investors have the opportunity to meet a new generation of biotech and healthcare pioneers at White Hat 2014, the first annual biotech and healthcare investor conference that showcases the best of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region.”

White Hat Presenting Companies were selected from the region’s emerging innovation leaders in the fields of Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Medical Devices, and Health IT. Presenting companies are developing lifesaving and life improving innovations that will benefit people today and for generations to come while addressing some of our greatest health challenges including cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, neurological disorders, infectious disease, and more.

On September 17th, over 400 life science industry leaders will gather to view a company showcase, browse a student discovery zone and listen to presentations from local life science entrepreneurs on the BioAccel Best of the Best Stage from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the North Ballroom of the Phoenix Convention Center. Free and open to the general public, it presents an opportunity for members of the community to connect with the region’s fastest growing innovation sector. The public pre-event will be followed at 6:00 p.m. by the AZBio Awards gala (registration required) honoring life science pioneer Roy Curtiss, III, PhD; Charles Arntzen, PhD, the Arizona State University Researcher who, with his team, played a key role in the development of ZMAPP, the experimental Ebola drug given to two health workers who were sickened by the deadly virus earlier this year; W.J. “Jim” Lane, Mayor of the City of Scottsdale for his work in developing the Scottsdale Cure Corridor; innovative educator Miles Orchinik, PhD of the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University; Jack B. Jewett of the Flinn Foundation for leadership of the longest running statewide bioscience development initiative in the United States; emerging technology leaders SenesTech, Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, and Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals along with the 2014 Arizona Bioscience Company of the Year, Insys Therapeutics, Inc.

White Hat events continue on September 18th at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix with presentations by privately-held life science companies presenting to attending representatives of family offices, investment funds, corporate investment/business development professionals for life science oriented firms (strategic investors), granting foundations, venture capital firms, and accredited investors. In addition to great company presentations in the areas of Medical Devices, Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Health IT, White Hat includes THREE general sessions featuring panel discussions on the investment environment from the perspective of Angels, Strategic Investors, and VCs.
Presenting Companies were selected from the Rocky Mountain Southwest’s emerging innovator leaders in the fields of: Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Medical Devices and Health IT and include:

• Aviratek, LLC
• Breezing
• Calimmune, Inc.
• CardioCreate, Inc.
• Convoy Therapeutics
• DiscGenics
• Elutin Vascular Inc.
• EndoShape, Inc
• Fluonic
• Imagenonics LLC
• Iron Horse Diagnostics
• INanoBio
• Kalos Therapeutics
• Kulira Technologies
• Meditope Biosciences, Inc.
• MSDx
• NeuroRecovery Technologies, Inc.
• NuvoMed
• NuvOx Pharma
• Pediatric Bioscience, Inc
• Portable Genomics, Inc.
• MedTalk Companion (Real Phone Corp)
• Recursion Pharmaceuticals
• RiboMed Biotechnologies
• Savoy Pharmaceuticals
• SenesTech
• Skylit Medical
• Sonoran Biosciences
• T-MedRobotics
• Valley Fever Solutions
• ValveXchange
• ViroCyt
• VisionGate
• Yolia Health


Jewett Named Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year

jewett-sqJack B. Jewett, President & CEO of the Flinn Foundation, will be honored with the Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year Award by the Arizona BioIndustry Association.

“Great leaders embrace possibilities and take the steps to make them reality. Jack B. Jewett has done more than just take steps,” shared Joan Koerber-Walker, President & CEO, of the Arizona Bioindustry Association. “Thanks to his leadership and the commitment of the Flinn Foundation, Arizona has a Bioscience Roadmap that charts our statewide bioscience strategies through 2025.”

A longtime Arizona leader in health care, education, and public policy, Mr. Jewett joined the Flinn Foundation in June 2009 as President & CEO. In this role, he is responsible for all grant programs and operations of the Flinn Foundation including Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, which is the longest running bioscience strategic initiative of its kind in the US. Under Jewett’s leadership, Flinn has renewed its commitment and released the next generation of the Roadmap extending out until 2025.

Mr. Jewett previously served in a variety of leadership roles within the private, public, and nonprofit sectors in Arizona for more than 40 years. He held senior public policy and government relations positions with Tucson Medical Center for 13 years and served as president of Territorial Newspapers, a family-owned publishing and printing company in Tucson. He served on the Arizona Board of Regents from 1998-2006, including a term as president; and five terms in the Arizona House of Representatives, from 1983-1992, the final two years as majority whip.

A University of Arizona graduate, Mr. Jewett currently serves on the board of trustees of the Tucson-based Thomas R. Brown Foundations, is a public member of the Arizona Judicial Council, and is a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Council. He served on the board of directors for the National Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges from 2004-13, and received its Distinguished Service Award for outstanding trusteeship for his work on “Changing Directions,” an initiative of the Arizona Board of Regents.

The Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. Today, the Foundation supports the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona, as well as three other program areas to help build Arizona’s knowledge-driven economy.

A ceremony honoring Jack B. Jewett will take place at the AZBio Awards Sept. 17 at the Phoenix Convention Center. The AZBio Awards ceremony celebrates Arizona’s leading educators, innovators and companies. Each year, AZBio honors bioindustry leaders from across the state of Arizona who are illustrative of the depth, breadth and expertise of our bioscience industry.

Past recipients of the Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year Award include: Linda Hunt (Dignity Health), Harry George (Solstice Capital), Robert Penny, MD, PhD (International Genomics Consortium), Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD (NantHealth), Martin L. Shultz (Pinnacle West Capital Corp.), Michael Cusanovich, Ph.D., (University of Arizona), Jonathan Thatcher (Exeter Life Sciences), John W. Murphy (Flinn Foundation), and George Poste (Arizona State University).

For registration and more information, go to www.azbio.awards.com.


Arizona bioscience industry producing ‘aha’ moments

AZBio Expo 2014 had “aha moments” at every turn. With over 250 entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, legislators, scientists and researchers in attendance, the energy was sizzling and the outlook endless. Here are just a few of the event highlights, appropriately, A to Z:

A – Access to Capital is the key. No money. No honey. Capital fuels innovation and commercialization. In the first panel discussion of the day – Funding Paths for Innovators – AZBio chief Joan Koerber-Walker engaged Mary Ann Guerra (BioAccel), Paul Jackson (Integrus Capital/Worthworm) and Kelly Slone (National Venture Capital Association) in a no-holds barred discussion. “The entire ecosystem has changed,” according to Slone. “After the tech bubble burst, available venture dollars have been virtually cut in half.” Guerra explains that only one in 100 will get angel funding – and then only one in 100 will get venture funding. We need to think of new ways to help our startup entrepreneurs get funding.” Jackson urges innovators to think like investors and offers one solution with his online valuation process, Worthworm.

B – Bridging the Gap with the 21st Century Cures Initiative. “No industry has to face the challenges we face to bring a product to market,” says Koerber-Walker. “We have new hope in the 21st Century Cures Initiative. Google it. Watch the videos, See what they are doing. There is exciting stuff happening and some of it is happening in Arizona.”

C — Cure Corridor. Scottsdale’s Mayor Jim Lane shares his pride and plans for the largest concentration of bioscience businesses in the U.S., the Cure Corridor, bounded on one side by the Scottsdale Airpark on the West, and the Fountain Hills Mayo facility on the East, “a major driver of our economy, with $2½ billion in direct economic impact and $3.5 billion in indirect impact.” According to Lane, “Health and wellness are a part of Scottsdale’s identity. We should never stop asking how we can find new answers alleviate pain, restore health and improve the quality of life.”

D – Discovery. Development. Delivery. Valley Fever Solutions CEO David Larwood shared his company’s formula for achieving success in development and funding – The Five R’s:

Right drug.
Right patient.
Right safety.
Right time. (How long before we can sell it?)
Right reimbursent.

E – Epigenetics and Personalized Medicine. Start-up company INanoBio founder and CEO Bharath Takupalli, explained that the genome sequencing market is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2020. With a unique capability to combine nanotechnology and biomedicine, his company is in the lead for building new solutions now. “We aim to develop a $100 ultrafast nanopore-based desktop sequencer – a point-of-care diagnostic” that will help change the face of healthcare, he explains.

F – Funding needs to be the focus for the future. According to a Flinn Foundation/Batelle report, “Arizona has many bioscience strengths and opportunities, but a substantial increase in private and public investment will be needed over the next decade to realize the [Flinn Foundation’s] Roadmap’s goals.” Last year, Arizona bioscience sector attracted $37 million in venture capital investment, up from $23 million from 2012, but that is only a fraction of the $9.8 billion invested nationally.

The goal is to increase the annual investment up to $40 million for seed capital in emerging companies and up to $125 million in venture capital.

G – Genomic advances hold high hopes for positively disruption. Explaining that healthcare premiums are growing at three times the rate of inflation and wages, Frederic Zenhausern, Ph.D., MBA, president of Whitespace Enterprise, says “The new era of precision healthcare (also called personalized healthcare) will provide more accessibility, transparency and health information to improve – dramatically – quality and lower cost over time.” His start-up company, based in Fountain Hills, develops methods for automating and miniaturizing the workflow processing of biological specimens.

H – Henry Ford.“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done,” said Henry Ford. So does Robert Penny, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of the International Genomics Consortium and founder and CEO of Paradigm. “Phoenix has become the Grand Central Station for all the aggregating and analyzing cancer tissues. We have 10,000 tumors – and the information is publicly available. This will accelerate cancer discovery at a rate faster than ever,” he says. “This is a tidal wave that Arizona has led. Everyone in this room should be grabbing a surfboard and figuring out how to ride it.”

I – IPO: The nation’s top IPO of 2013 is right here in Chandler. With 380 percent growth in shareholder value, Insys Therapeutics, a commercial-stage specialty pharmaceutical company, ended the year with a market cap of $800 million. Darryl Baker, the chief financial officer, explained how the company, founded in 2002 by Dr. John Kapoor, was determined to discover better ways to deliver existing medications to patients. A sublingual fentanyl spray technology delivers treatments to opioid-tolerant cancer patients and holds real possibilities for better helping patients with acute pain, major burns and pediatric issues. In the R&D pipeline now is the development of a pharmaceutical cannabinoid, aimed at easing epilepsy, peripheral neuropathy and cocaine addiction.

J – Jobs: 107,000 bioscience jobs – good-paying and growing. Arizona has nearly 107,000 bioscience jobs, based on 2012 industry data, and the sector contributes an estimated $36 billion in revenue to the state’s economy, according to a study by the Ohio-based Battelle Technology Partnership Practice. Hospitals account for 83,000 of those jobs and $22 billion of the revenue. Arizona’s average annual wage in the bioscience sector is $62,775, 39 percent higher than the private-sector average, the report said. Not counting hospital jobs, the average wage for bioscience jobs jumps to $85,571. (2013 data).

K – Kalos Therapeutics is building a promising platform for future drug discovery. Start-up innovator Michael Kozlowski, OD, Ph.D., chief science officer of Kalos Therapeutics, explains that their focus on transforming the atrial natriuretic family of peptides engages a natural biochemical mechanism. This approach holds promise for people with pancreatic cancer because it results in a more complete response, reduced side effects and improved safety and a longer period of effectiveness.

L – Let’s leverage every resource, strength, collaboration and person we’ve got! Arizona’s bioscience industry is aiming to increase research revenue for institutions statewide by 69 percent over the next decade to $782 million and attract additional anchors for the sector.

M – Medtronic models aggressive, needs-focused growth. Keynote speaker Ron Wilson, vice president and general manager of the Medtronic Tempe campus made it clear that passion for people runs through his veins. Locating a small manufacturing facility here in 1973, the company’s facility today covers 30 acres, has 900 employees and generates $17 billion in revenues. How do they do it? We follow our founder’s vision still: We understand what the unmet needs are and we apply our knowledge for the good of people all over the world.”

N – Next Level. “Arizona has made unprecedented progress over the last decade in developing the talent, building research infrastructure, and growing its base. Taking it to the Next Level will require new collaborative partnerships, forward looking leaders, and aggressive investments from both the public and private private sectors to take our place in the top tiers globally,” shared Koerber-Walker. ”Now is our time. Let’s get it done!”

O – Orphans no more. Valley fever, considered an orphan disease, hits about 150,000 people a year – 60 percent live in central Arizona. Current treatments have major shortcomings, with about 60 percent of those treated being unresponsive. The result is 2,000 serious cases and 150 deaths a year. It affects pets in nearly equal proportion. David Larwood, CEO of Valley Fever Solutions, has some answers. His company is developing Nikkomycin Z (NikZ) as a dramatically superior potential cure for Valley Fever. To help raise awareness and prevention, the Arizona Board of Regents created Valley Fever Corridor project, a public health program led by University of Arizona College of Medicine’s John Galgiani, MD, who is also the chief medical officer for Valley Solutions.

P – Policymakers are on board. Gov. Jan Brewer’s time is coming to a close and it’s time to decide which candidate can bring their best to bioscience. Recognizing that the Arizona bioscience sector is growing at four times the rate of the national average, candidates Christine Jones, Doug Ducey, Fred Duval, Ken Bennett and Scott Smith shared their ideas on how to ramp up funding and revenues in 90-second videos. Koerber-Walker says, “The most important thing we can do this summer is vote in the primaries.”

Q – Cues: Here are a few Q’s for success. Some lessons learned, courtesy of Robert Penny:

Make sure you have:

Complementary skills and expertise
Interpersonal chemistry (It’s better to navigate bumps in the road with people you trust than people you don’t!)

Pick the right projects:

Big enough to be worthy of your efforts
Complex enough to need partnerships
Audacious enough to move the field

R – Remembering Polio: Can Looking Back Catapult Us Forward? How did we cure the world of polio? What did it take to conquer the most feared disease of the 20th Century? What threatens our world today and how can we continue to keep people healthy with the right vaccines, for the right person at the right time? Gaspar Laca, state government affairs director at GlaxoSmithKime, engaged David Larwood, CEO and president of Valley Fever Solutions (and a person who has been directly affected by polio) and Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, executive director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization, in a rousing discussion of what’s happening in Arizona today, the mounting threats of the ”vaccine exemptors,” and what we need to do now. (See Vaccines.)

S – Shoes. Did you see those shoes? “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world!” Enough said.

T – Tucson’s Critical Path Institute creates new tools. A jewel in the bioscience crown – and located right here in Arizona! The Critical Path Institute (C-Path) is a breakthrough organization, creating a new movement: “consensus science.” Keynoter Martha Brumfield. Ph.D, president and CEO, shared what can be achieved when people come together with the belief that a “rising tide floats all boats.” Working to improve the unacceptable 95 percent failure rate in the testing of new drug therapies, C-Path is improving medical product development efficiencies by identifying pathways that integrate new scientific advances into the regulatory review process. Check out their Alzheimer’s clinical trial simulation tool.

U – United we stand. Mayors Jim Lane (City of Scottsdale) and John Lewis (Town of Gilbert) will join Koerber-Walker and an Arizona bioscience-business contingent next week at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego (June 23-26), the world’s largest biotechnology gathering. They will surely scoop up new ideas, new connections – and with any luck, new investment!

V – Vaccines: Get ‘em! Talk about ‘em. Challenge the myths. Explain the realities. Polio. Measles. And whooping cough today. Without proper vaccinations, whooping cough (pertussis) could be the polio of our time. “As science-minded people, the best thing you can do is activate conversations about the importance of vaccinations. Here’s some help: Why immunize?

W – White Hat event brings in national investors. (Apply by July 15th.) “AZBio’s White Hat Investor’s Conference is the first ever life science specific investor conference to be held in Arizona,” says Koerber-Walker. “Kelly Slone [of the National Venture Capital Association] has been an amazing partner to bring this together along with the state bioscience association leaders from across the Rocky Mountain Southwest Region. Investors and investment firms from across the country will be here, so get involved. Even if you feel like you are not ready yet, take the leap and apply to present. “

X – “X” marks the spot for our next big gathering. Wear your White Hat! The West was won by innovators, investors, and prospectors who understood the value of discovery and accepted the challenge of investing in new frontiers. Meet a new generation of biotech and healthcare pioneers at White Hat Investors 2014, the first annual biotech and healthcare investor conference that showcases the best of the Rocky Mountain & Southwest Region.

Bioindustry Associations from across the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Region are coming together to present an opportunity for Angels, Venture Capitalists and Strategic Investors to connect with the best biotech and healthcare investment opportunities from across the Rocky Mountain & Southwest states at White Hat Investors 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona on September 17 & 18, 2014.

Presenting Companies will be selected from the region’s emerging innovator leaders in the fields of:

Medical Devices
Health IT

Y – Young Talent is being cultivated. We got it! With nearly 50 abstracts accepted and student presenters presenting at the Expo, Koerber-Walker got it right when she said, “These young people are going to be working on things that we can’t even begin to imagine!” Arizona’s tremendous mentoring people and organizations are sharing knowledge, support and inspiration. For example University of Arizona student Keeley Brown is destined to help the world crack the code on genetically modified foods and farming. (Her presentation was the “Epigenetic Effects of Transgenic Manipulation in Glycine Max (Soybeans).

Zzzzzzzzz – No one fell asleep at this conference! Catherine Leyen, founder and CEO of start-up RadiUp, says she comes to AZBio to stay abreast of the action, connect with like-minded people and soak up inspiration. Her verdict of AZBIO Expo 2014? Mission accomplished!


New class of 20 Flinn Scholars will stay in Arizona

The 2014 Flinn Scholarship has been awarded to 20 of Arizona’s highest-achieving high-school seniors, who will receive a comprehensive educational package to attend an Arizona public university.

Now in its 29th year, the competitive, merit-based scholarship package is valued at more than $100,000. The scholarship includes the cost of tuition to one of the state’s three public universities, room and board, funding for international study-related travel and professional development, university faculty mentorship, and other benefits. Each award is provided through a partnership between the Flinn Foundation and the universities.

“Once again, this incoming class of Flinn Scholars is filled with high-achieving students who have already demonstrated through academics, leadership, and community service how valuable they are to the state of Arizona,” said Jack Jewett, Flinn Foundation President and CEO. “These 20 Scholars will have a lasting impact on our universities and the state.”

Last fall, 624 Arizona high-school seniors applied for the 2014 Scholarship, the second straight year that the number of applications exceeded 600. The selected Scholars represent 3.2 percent of the applicants.

The 20 Scholars represent 18 high schools. Hamilton High School in Chandler, with three Scholars, is the only school with multiple Scholars. This is the second straight year Hamilton has three Scholars.

The geographic diversity of the Class of 2014 is significant. Five of the Scholars are from outside the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, from as far apart as Fort Mohave—just south of Bullhead City on the California-Arizona line—and Rio Rico, just north of Arizona’s southern border with Mexico. Other hometowns include Casa Grande, Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Prescott, Scottsdale, Tempe and Tucson.

Three high schools have their first-ever Flinn Scholar—River Valley High School in Mohave Valley along with Chandler Preparatory Academy and Northland Preparatory Academy in Flagstaff.

The projected majors of the Scholars cover a wide range, including broadcasting, biomedical engineering, business, physics, neuroscience, and music.

“Each year seems to raise the bar in terms of the accomplishments of our applicants,” said Matt Ellsworth, Flinn Scholars Program director and a 1993 Flinn Scholar. “What distinguishes these 20 Flinn Scholars is the potential they hold to apply their exceptional talents toward the common good.”

Applications are submitted each fall to the Flinn Foundation. A review committee narrows the field and about 75 students are invited for a semifinalist interview. In March, 42 finalists took part in a second round of interviews with the Selection Committee, which is comprised of respected Arizona leaders. The offers to the 20 Scholars were accepted in April. They will begin their undergraduate education in August.

The Flinn Scholar Class of 2014, along with 17 Scholars who will be graduating from Arizona’s universities this year, will be honored at the annual recognition dinner May 3 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix before nearly 200 family members, university officials, teachers, and community leaders. Each new Flinn Scholar will recognize an educator who has influenced them in a substantial way.

The benefits of the scholarship, in addition to covering eight semesters of study at an Arizona public university, include:

  • a three-week summer seminar program, currently in China, following the freshman year;
  • at least one additional study or professional-development experience abroad or within the United States;
  • university faculty mentorship in the Scholar’s field of study;
  • the introduction of Scholars to Arizona’s business, academic, research, and civic leaders through invitations to cultural events and activities; and
  • membership in an active and supportive community of current Scholars and about 450 alumni.

Scholars must maintain a cumulative 3.2 grade-point average in college and be involved in campus or community activities to retain the Scholarship.

The qualifications for typical candidates who apply for the Scholarship include:

  • at least a 3.5 grade-point average;
  • a ranking in the top 5 percent of their graduating class;
  • a score of at least 1300 on the SAT test or 29 on the ACT; and
  • participation and demonstrated leadership abilities in extracurricular activities.

The Flinn Scholars Program, which started in 1986, is operated by the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and supported by the Flinn Foundation, a Phoenix-based private, nonprofit, grantmaking organization. The Foundation was established in 1965 by the late Dr. and Mrs. Robert S. Flinn with the mission of improving the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. In addition to the Scholars program, the Foundation supports the advancement of Arizona’s bioscience sector, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.

2014 ScholarSchoolHometown
Ian Barton
Apoorva Bhaskara
Alexander Buckley
Delilah Cassidy
Lindsey Chew
Hailey Dickson
Justin Frere
Leah Kaplan
Vaishnavi Koka
Nisha Parasher
Maddie Pickens
Graham Place
Aidan Schneider
Angela Siebrecht
Viputheshwar Sitaraman
Carly Snyder
Tristen Vaughn
Naomi Worob
Jimmy Xu
Jaylia Yan
Nogales High School
Paradise Valley High School
Red Mountain High School
Casa Grande Union High School
Hamilton High School
Desert Vista High School
Brophy College Preparatory
Chaparral High School
Mountain Pointe High School
Chandler Preparatory Academy
BASIS Tucson North
Sabino High School
Northland Preparatory Academy
River Valley High School
Hamilton High School
University High School
Saint Mary’s Catholic High School
Prescott High School
Hamilton High School
Mountain View High School
Casa Grande
Mohave Valley
charitable trust

Arizona Gives Day Raises Amost $1.4 million

The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum, along with presenting sponsor FirstBank, announced that the 2014 Arizona Gives Day, a 24-hour online initiative encouraging Arizona residents to recognize and financially support the efforts of various nonprofits, raised $1,392,292 (up from $1,019,650 last year) for the nearly 1,000 registered organizations statewide, a 36% increase. In total, 13,856 unique donors took the time to make 18,080 total donations in support of this statewide initiative.

“Our state rallied again this year and demonstrated what tremendous power individual donors can have for our state’s nonprofit community,” said Patrick McWhortor, president and CEO of the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits. “Whether they had a favorite cause or not, Arizonans rose up and explored the many missions of our participating nonprofits and helped show our state’s generosity to the world.”

Thanks to a financial commitment FirstBank and other incentive-prize sponsors, Arizona Gives Day encouraged competitions throughout the course of the day that allowed nonprofits, who reached certain milestones – to receive additional funding. Those winning these incentive contests will be gifted prizes from $1,000 to $18,000 in additional funds, which will be verified within the next 60 days.

Arizona Gives Day received additional financial and in-kind support from a variety of organizations throughout the state including:

Arizona Community Foundation
Arizona Republic/AZCentral/12News
AZ Family
BHHS Legacy Foundation
Clear Channel Media Entertainment
Community Foundation for Southern Arizona
CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company
Cox Communications
Eight – KAET PBS
Flinn Foundation
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation
Hickey Family Foundation
HMA Public Relations
Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust
St. Luke’s Health Initiatives
The Thunderbirds
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

According to Marissa Theisen, president and CEO of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, “Gives Day initiatives across the country continue to see success and provide much-needed financial support to countless nonprofit organizations. Arizonans have much to be proud of in our second year.”


Bioscience Roadmap gets an extension through 2025

The strategic plan that has guided Arizona’s fast-growing bioscience sector for nearly 12 years is gearing up for a new decade.

“Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap: 2014-2025” will be unveiled starting April 8 at events in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, the state’s three metropolitan areas that feature growing bioscience hubs. The plan includes updated strategies that can strengthen and diversify Arizona’s economy while providing Arizonans access to the latest health care innovations.

“The updated Bioscience Roadmap builds on the successes of its first decade and adds contemporary strategies to take Arizona’s bioscience base to the next level,” said Jack Jewett, President & CEO of the Flinn Foundation, which commissioned the update and the original Bioscience Roadmap in 2002. “Arizona is now known as a top emerging bioscience state, but we have far to go to reach our full potential.”

The updated Roadmap will continue to focus on developing Arizona’s biomedical research infrastructure but will emphasize turning this research into new therapies, products, diagnostics, jobs, firms, and other benefits to Arizona. Commercialization, entrepreneurship, creating a critical mass of bioscience firms, and the development of talent are prime themes.

The Roadmap’s overarching vision is for Arizona—a young but rapidly growing state in the biosciences—to become a global competitor and national leader in select areas of the biosciences by 2025.

Over the first decade, Arizona built major research facilities at its universities, formed new private research institutes, attracted top talent, created high-tech business incubators, and greatly expanded statewide STEM (science, technology, education, math) education programs. The number of Arizona bioscience industry jobs grew by 45 percent, nearly four times greater than the nation.

“Arizona has many bioscience strengths and opportunities, but a substantial increase in private and public investment will be needed over the next decade to realize the Roadmap’s goals,” said Walter Plosila, senior advisor to the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, the Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit research and development organization that authored the original Roadmap and its update.

Plosila noted that Arizona’s greatest needs are access to risk capital by startup and emerging bioscience firms, building a stronger bioscience entrepreneurship culture, and an expansion of the research infrastructure combined with commercialization at the state’s universities.

The new Roadmap plan features five goals, 17 strategies, and 77 proposed actions. The actions are meant to evolve as needs change over the course of the decade. The plan was developed by Battelle following research, interviews, and focus groups with more than 150 local and national bioscience leaders, including extensive input from Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, a body of more than 100 statewide leaders in science, business, academia, and government.

“An emphasis on the full spectrum of the biosciences—from research to hospitals to bio-agriculture—and a renewed focus on resources, collaboration, and long-term patience is needed for Arizona to continue its ascent in the biosciences,” said Martin Shultz, Senior Policy Director for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, who chairs the Roadmap Steering Committee. “The impact can be profound—the biosciences are a multibillion-dollar industry for Arizona.”

There are six industry segments that comprise the biosciences in Arizona: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; drugs, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics; medical devices and equipment; research, testing, and medical labs; bioscience-related distribution; and hospitals. A new economic-impact analysis by Battelle estimates the total revenue generated annually by Arizona’s bioscience industry—not counting hospitals—to be $14 billion. With hospitals included, the figure exceeds $36 billion.

Based on the latest industry data (2012), Arizona currently has 106,846 bioscience jobs spread across 1,382 establishments and an annual average wage of $62,775—39 percent higher than the private-sector average. These numbers do not include academic research jobs at the state universities or private research institutes.

Hospitals account for the majority of the state’s bioscience jobs. With hospitals removed from the equation, the other segments combine for 23,545 jobs, 1,266 establishments, and average annual wages of $85,571. Growth in the non-hospital segments accelerated dramatically over the last few years.

The bioscience-related distribution subsector is a new addition to Arizona’s bioscience definition, following the lead of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the nation’s bioscience trade association. Companies in this subsector coordinate the delivery of bioscience-related products through processes such as cold storage and product monitoring, and new technologies such as automated pharmaceutical distribution systems. This change also called for several smaller industries to be dropped from Arizona’s definition.

The Roadmap also presents updated data on Arizona’s performance in generating grants from the National Institutes of Health, academic research expenditures, venture capital, and tech-transfer measures involving the state universities. These metrics plus industry measures will be tracked throughout the decade by Battelle and reported by the Flinn Foundation.

The Roadmap also includes analyses of Arizona’s bioscience sector that were critical in developing the strategies and actions, such as an assessment of Arizona’s bioscience strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. It identified Arizona’s core competencies as cancer research, neurosciences, bioengineering, agricultural biotechnology, imaging sciences, precision medicine, diagnostics, health information technologies, and health economics.

The Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. The Phoenix-based foundation supports the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona, as well as a merit-based college scholarship program, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. “Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap: 2014-2025” is available for download at www.flinn.org.


Flinn Awards $2M to Banner Alzheimer’s Institute

Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation, the philanthropic resource for Phoenix-based Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), part of the nonprofit Banner Health, received $2 million in grant funding from the Flinn Foundation, a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization in Arizona.

Aligning with the Flinn Foundation’s mission to advance biosciences in the state, the grant is an investment in BAI’s groundbreaking Alzheimer’s prevention research. Specifically, the funds will support activities related to the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative. A global Alzheimer’s prevention research endeavor spearheaded by scientists and physicians at BAI, the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative has been described by the director of the National Institutes of Health as a “corne