UA, City and Local Company Begin Collaborative Commercialization Network Effort

By University Communications, October 24, 2013

The Commercialization Network Alliance will work with the UA’s Tech Launch Arizona to further build and expand Wheelhouse Arizona, a growing network of business and product experts from a variety of industries.

The city of Tucson has chosen local product and business developer Aztera to lead operations of the newly formed Commercialization Network Alliance. The alliance, which began in July, is a partnership between the University of Arizona and the city of Tucson to nurture startup companies born from UA research activities with the goal of new jobs and economic growth for Tucson and the region.

As a primary focus of the alliance, Aztera will work with the UA’s Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) to further build and expand TLA’s Wheelhouse Arizona, a growing network of business and product experts from a variety of industries – such as health care, science and aerospace – who agree to volunteer their time to advise TLA and UA scientists on commercialization aspects of their research, often shepherding emerging technologies through proof of concept, feasibility, development and, ultimately, into the market.

TLA was established over a year ago by UA President Ann Weaver Hart to advance UA research discoveries into intellectual property that can lead to patents, licenses and commercial products.

“The alliance is an important project,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “Many of the most successful companies in cities – especially cities the size of Tucson – are homegrown. We need to work to recruit and retain business, but we also need to work on our startup pipeline. Aztera is a local startup itself, so it knows what needs work as we develop an efficient, competitive commercialization network for our region.”

Aztera is a Tucson-based, product and business development company that specializes in helping startups move from concept to marketplace. In addition to advancing the goals of the alliance, Aztera also will represent the city in entrepreneurial and technology commercialization discussions in southern Arizona, and an Aztera staffer will work “in residence” at TLA in order to realize the synergies of such proximity and collaboration between Aztera and the TLA team.

“The creation of new businesses is an important part of a successful economic development strategy, and Tucson is rich in professional, executive leadership and a wide range of essential domain expertise that the alliance, through Wheelhouse, with further to engage,” said David Allen, vice president and executive director of TLA. “Many great universities and their communities have come together to advance commercialization; we are doing this one technology at a time, but the cumulative effect will be transformational.”

To learn more about the Commercialization Network Alliance and the Wheelhouse, visit


UANews Contact:
Andrea Smiley


City of Tucson Contacts:

Lisa Markkula
Communications Director
City of Tucson, Mayor’s Office

Chris Kaselemis
Program Director of Economic Initiatives
City of Tucson, City Manager’s Office

Posted in AZBio News.