As seen in the Arizona Republic on 11/18/2011
Peoria will soon play host to bioscience startups, with the lofty long-term goal of becoming a bioscience hub focused on medical devices that would bring high-paying jobs to the city.
The Peoria City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a partnership with BioAccel, a Phoenix non-profit that mentors startups, as well as Plaza Companies of Peoria, which would host the Peoria Incucelerator. The name comes from the combination of incubator and accelerator.
The facility, expected to launch in March, would be the first in Arizona to focus on launching biomedical device startup companies.
Incubators provide a support environment for entrepreneurs who create products but find it hard to commercialize them. That’s where BioAccel and Peoria would come in, to help the entrepreneurs bring their products to market. Metro Phoenix has at least four incubators but none focus on medical devices, which would be a huge advantage, said BioAccel chief executive MaryAnn Guerra.
While plans are to start the partnership over a five-year period, the city would have an opt-out option after three years. Funding is identified for those three years, at $1.6 million for each year.
The 6,800 square-foot incucelerator, will be housed at 13660 N. 94th Drive in the Plaza Del Rio campus near Loop 101 and Thunderbird Road. The space will be built out for five to six companies with shared laboratory space and common areas, according to a staff report.
The city’s investment each year will include the cost to lease the space and seed funding if needed for companies. Plaza Companies will give the city six months of free rent and pitch in with $426,000 toward building improvements.
“The fact that this proposal includes pipeline funding and seed funding and space – those are the three elements companies are always looking for,” Guerra said.
The objective is to launch bioscience companies locally, create jobs and ultimately a bioscience cluster, said Scott Whyte, Peoria’s economic development director. Guerra said the city could expect to see up to about 125 jobs in the first three years, with chances of many more in future years, if the venture continues.
Read more at the Arizona Republic on 11/18/2011