Proof-of-Concept Lab Benefits NWA Startups

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Jul. 9, 2012 12:00 am  

VIC evaluates research from the UA and all over the U.S. It's been forced to pass on technologies it wanted to bring to Fayetteville and incubate but couldn't because of an inability to access the equipment necessary to develop the technology.

"The proof-of-concept facility helps address this need and will lead to more and better startup companies based on licensed intellectual property," he said.

The lab is the result of an ongoing conversation between Calvin Goforth and Stafford, in which the former was looking to address the equipment limitations for his startups and the latter was interested in making the park better.

"Phil is always looking for ways to help grow the park bigger, faster and better," Calvin Goforth said. "He identified a possible funding avenue to acquire some equipment, and then together we set out to come up with a long-term structure for managing the lab, maintaining the equipment and providing oversight on its use."

Stafford works with all park tenants to address their needs, but the PoC lab represented a tangible win for both parties.

"In this case, the equipment needs of VIC were specific to the further development of biotechnologies," Stafford said. "More importantly, having a PoC lab in the park allows VIC and other affiliate companies to import technologies from outside the state and the region for proof-of-concept validation."

Stafford said the lab was poised to help provide a surge in biotech startups if the UA maintains a commitment to biotech research.

"Nonetheless, the laboratory is flexibly equipped to serve as a platform to support a variety of test and simulation requirements, so that we're not limited to a single category of biotech development," he said.

Calvin Goforth thinks the lab could have a significant impact. "It's difficult to quantify, but speaking just on the impact for VIC, it will certainly enable us to create new companies that we wouldn't have been able to before, due to lack of equipment access," he said.



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