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Science Technology Investor Reception: Meeting Investors & Entrepreneurs

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Author: Rafael Veraza | Category: Beyond The Bench | Translational Science (Ph.D.) | November 05, 2015

The first Science Technology Investor Reception (STIR) was held on Oct. 21 at the San Antonio Technology Center

Investors across San Antonio joined the UTHSCSA Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) for an evening of networking and the presentation of two promising technologies created at the UTHSCSA for commercialization opportunities.

Dr. John Gebhard, senior executive director of the OTC opened the event introducing keynote speaker Dr. Dana Ono, a Boston-based serial entrepreneur and founder of several biotechnology start-up companies. 

Following the keynote address by Dr. Ono, John Fritz, senior development manager at the OTC and UT Health Science Center faculty members presented their technologies by giving a two-minute pitch to investors.

Graduate students from The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and members of a student-led organization focused on technology commercialization were present at the event to welcome and network with local investors. 

For Supriya Sinha a fifth-year Ph.D. student attending the STIR event was “an incredible opportunity to network with different experienced professionals interested in biomedical/ lifescience inventions”

The STIR event was the first of a series of events that will be held throughout the year. The format is kept short in order to give investors and local entrepreneurs a small sample of what the UTHSCSA is producing in terms of novel inventions. 

Catherine Cheng, a third-year Ph.D. student said that she loved the concept of STIR because “typically, when you think of events where you have investors and entrepreneurs, you think of those day-long “pitch fest” events, or those high-stress, high-stakes pitch competitions." 

Of course, those are wonderful and productive events that bring people from all over the state or country together to move ideas forward. 

Even though the STIR events similarly aim to connect inventors and interested investors, the atmosphere is decidedly different: collegial, convivial, and almost casual. 

At least to a student like me, STIR seemed like a unique and effective way to for our University’s entrepreneurs to gain some well-deserved exposure.

Promoting commercialization opportunities out of the university it’s a critical aspect of translational science in order to move inventions forward effectively and efficiently unto the patients and to improve overall global health. 

Ahsan Choudary a second year Ph.D. student in the Joint Doctoral program in Translational Science put it best when asked about the opportunities created by events like STIR: “The STIR event was an excellent opportunity for scientists, scholars, and students from the Health Science Center to meet and interact with like-minded, local investors and biotech entrepreneurs. 

If both the Health Science Center and the city of San Antonio desire to create a cooperative, multidisciplinary climate for transformative, sustainable biotech growth, having regular events like this for participants from all areas of biotech is critical. 

Such events will not only raise awareness of the biotech commercialization pathway, but they will also allow students and faculty alike to build the necessary relationships and skills to facilitate the commercialization of medical and scientific innovations quickly, which ultimately results in getting discoveries to patients more quickly."

Photo credit: Isabella McCafferty

The "Beyond The Bench" series features articles written by students and postdoctoral fellows at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. 

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