VelocityTX, a San Antonio-based nonprofit innovation center, has signed an agreement with UT Health San Antonio (UTHSA) to run UT Health’s TechNovum accelerator program. The TechNovum accelerator program launched in 2019 to support UT Health investigator entrepreneurs interested in commercializing their inventions.
The contractual agreement outlines VelocityTX’s compensation and responsibilities for executing UT Health’s program. UT Health will help VelocityTX source program participants with continued support from John Fritz and Sean Thompson of UT Health’s Office of Technology Commercialization.
TechNovum’s second cohort will run from March 20 to April 28 at VelocityTX. Demo Day will be held on April 26 on UT Health’s campus at The Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute auditorium.
VelocityTX will leverage its network and resources to connect, support, and fund companies and founders at UT Health San Antonio. The cohort-based program will provide growing companies a structured curriculum, mentoring, business coaching, pitch development, peer collaboration, and connections to VelocityTX’s and UT Health’s networks. The selected companies will also be able to use the VelocityTX Innovation Center to access dedicated office or laboratory space and collaborate with other innovators and entrepreneurs already working at VelocityTX.
New Bexar Bio pitch competition debuts May 1
VelocityTX also announced a new bioscience pitch competition funded by the Bexar County Economic Development division. The Bexar Bio 2023 is a $100,000 non-dilutive startup pitch competition for early-stage biomedical ventures across the United States. Companies interested in participating must submit online applications by March 17.
VelocityTX will select 12 semifinalists to pitch to a panel of judges in one of four brackets. One winner from each of the four brackets will then advance to compete as a finalist in the startup pitch event scheduled for May 1 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
VelocityTX mission: Grow more life science innovation
The UT Health accelerator program and new bioscience pitch competition fits within VelocityTX’s charter to accelerate the path to commercialization for companies focused on medical devices, biotech, and healthcare IT.
VelocityTX is one of the nation’s innovation centers focused on life sciences. Life sciences is currently the largest sector within the healthcare industry, expanding rapidly as demand rises for new therapeutics. Breakthroughs in multiple scientific disciplines have enabled founders to develop new therapeutic candidates more quickly and efficiently, with innovation increasingly coming from early-stage biotech startups.
According to David Fonseca, VelocityTX CEO, only 18% of all U.S.-based innovation centers are focused on the life sciences. Adding the TechNovum accelerator to VelocityTX’s portfolio of programs and services reinforces its mission to help founders develop more life science advances for the market.
“We have always been focused on company building with founders who already had a team and intellectual property,” Fonseca said. “With this UT Health agreement, Velocity will be working with early-stage innovators who have an idea based on their research that they want to commercialize.”
On August 30, 2022, the San Antonio Economic Development Corporation (SAEDC) board approved a professional services agreement with VelocityTX to take over the San Antonio Military Medical Innovation (SAMMI) program and its director position under the VelocityTX umbrella.
In September 2022, VelocityTX also announced its Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) based at Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston. This pivotal public-private venture between ISR and VelocityTX will address technology gaps in battlefield medicine, specifically developing automation technologies to support military medical operations in future battlefield environments.
The two teaming agreements — SAMMI and CRADA — enable VelocityTX to support the military in finding critical technologies for its future military medical battlefield needs. VelocityTX’s parent organization, the Texas Research and Technology Foundation (TRTF), is working towards establishing a military medical research center of innovation and campus on a six-acre site next to VelocityTX at the historic Merchant’s Ice Complex.
“Ideas based on science and technology have great potential to make a lasting impact in our world. However, spotting those with the market potential to succeed can be challenging,” Fonseca said. “Many times, the commerciality of these ideas is often underdeveloped, and the innovators who are experts in their fields are adept at presenting the technical merits of their work but fall short in discovering, defining, and describing the commercial value of their ideas and why their idea matters.
“Velocity’s laser focus as a life science hub will help attract the best scientists and companies from around the world.”
The featured image is of the entrance to VelocityTX, courtesy photo.