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After breaking ground in September 2019, the University of Arizona’s Center for Innovation at Oro Valley hosted an open house last week, showing off their 4,000 feet of new lab space for local biotechnology startups. Previously titled the Oro Valley Innovation Labs, the location in Oro Valley Innovation Park has office space for four startups, but the majority of the building is lab space. The “business incubator” includes equipment specifically geared toward the life sciences, including centrifuges, biosafety cabinets, ultrasonic cleaners and sanitizers. 

“We see this as an outpost or drop-in center or any of our 36 startups that need to stop by Oro Valley,” said Carol Stewart, associate vice president for Tech Parks Arizona.

More than providing lab space, the location aims to “fill a gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem directly related to supporting bioscience discoveries and translating them into marketable technologies.” The location already houses one startup, TheraCea Pharma, which aims to commercialize new methods for rapid preparation of Fluorine-18 labeled biomolecules in Positron Emission Tomography procedures.

“A lot of the time, you hear about startups starting in a garage, but that’s not true for some biotech startups, because there are certain chemicals that are regulated, and in order to work with them, you need a designated space like this,” said TheraCea Pharma CEO Iman Daryaei. 

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