Mayor Greg Stanton and the City Council unanimously approved funding to sponsor InnoVention, a new medical technology accelerator program through the University of Arizona on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus downtown—now one of 13 school accelerators in the U.S.

At this new center—called InnoVention—students in the medical sciences, law, engineering and business disciplines will have a dedicated space and program to converge and be able to quickly take ideas from the mind to the market, whether through devices, businesses or health policies.

Along with the City of Phoenix, InnoVention is a collaboration of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, College of Engineering, Eller College of Management and the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. The facility includes research laboratories, fabrication equipment and business consulting services.

Stanton first announced his vision for an incubator on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus two years ago during his State of the City Address. Stanton and the UA shared the commitment to launch an initiative that would support and accelerate downtown’s entrepreneurial activity and pair it with health solutions.

“Phoenix is proud to invest in the biosciences and innovation—they support high-paying jobs that continue to grow in Phoenix. But this investment is so much more,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “With this exciting partnership, the best and brightest across industries will work side-by-side as breakthroughs are happening, accelerating the process of turning ideas into reality to improve health and save lives.”

At the College of Medicine—Phoenix’s Center of Applied Nanobioscience and Medicine, tools and equipment are available to rapidly prototype ideas using technology, 3D printers and application development systems in an entrepreneurial environment. The broad range of knowledge, skills and immersion will create an ecosystem generating patents, services, products and devices.

“While Phoenix and Arizona are rich in business incubators and accelerators, even across the nation there are few programs designed specifically to accelerate health care and life sciences,” said Dr. Fredric Zenhausern, co-developer of InnoVention. “This is an environment created specifically to get an idea to market as rapidly as possible. Unlike an incubator, which generally helps launch a business, InnoVention takes ideas and turns them to marketable products for the founders.” 

“We are grateful for the support from the City of Phoenix for the InnoVention incubator,” said Guy L. Reed, MD, MS, Dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. “This will advance the mission of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, to translate scientific discoveries into new products, devices and algorithms which can improve the health of Arizonans as well as to develop Phoenix into a center for biomedical innovation to advance our economy.”

InnoVention is the latest addition to the Phoenix Downtown Biomedical Campus encompassing the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, TGEN and other private and collaborative education, innovation and research programs. The campus is a cluster of biomedical scientists, doctors and students in a central Downtown Phoenix location.

UA professors Frederic Zenhausern and Remy Arteaga will lead InnoVention. Dr. Zenhausern is a professor of Basic Medical Sciences and founding director of the Center for Applied Nanobioscience and Medicine at UA. He is appointed to faculty at the UA Cancer Center, the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Bio5. He is also affiliated with TGen, Honor Health Research Institute, and several global health initiatives. 

Dr. Arteaga is director of the McGuide Center for Entrepreneurship at the Eller College of Management. He spent more than 20 years launching and managing successful startups, accelerators and corporate innovation initiatives.

“The future of higher education lies in interdisciplinary collaborations and immersive, experiential opportunities,” said Paulo Goes, dean of the Eller College. “This partnership demonstrates the University of Arizona’s focus on Industry 4.0 and is the perfect environment for the students and faculty of the Eller College and the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship to work on the commercialization path of exciting digital health technologies and medical devices as well as to contribute to the economic development of Phoenix and the state of Arizona.” 

Stanton and the City Council approved investing $35,000 in seed money to leverage a two-semester InnoVention and Entrepreneurship in Medicine course to an initial cohort of students. 

About 12 students per semester are expected to enter the program when it’s first offered, but the initial program can be enlarged and expanded with foundation grants.