Two UA Inventions Selected as AZ Furnace Startups

The AZ Furnace Accelerator encourages entrepreneurs from across the country to find and commercialize innovations developed at Arizona's universities and research institutions.
Nov. 20, 2012

The University of Arizona’s Tech Launch Arizona is pleased to announce that two UA-related inventions have been selected as winners from a group of 22 finalists in Arizona's first-of-its-kind statewide technology transfer startup program, AZ Furnace Accelerator.

The AZ Furnace Accelerator is a groundbreaking initiative that encourages entrepreneurs from across the country to find and commercialize innovations developed within the state's universities and research institutions.

The two UA ventures are Fast PCR Diagnostics, based on technology developed by Jeong-Yeol Yoon, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and director of the Biosensors Lab, and Dataware Ventures, founded on technology developed by Rich Snodgrass, professor of computer science; Saumya Debray, head of the department of computer science; and Rui Zhang, who received his doctorate at the UA and now works in research and development at Teradata Corporation.

Fast PCR Diagnostics will develop polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, technology to amplify and quantify the presence of a specific DNA/RNA sequence. PCR is omnipresent in all biological/medical applications. PCR also is the gold standard for identifying bacterial/viral infections. Fast PCR Diagnostics will commercialize a system for super-fast, portable and accurate diagnosis of blood infection, which can be best utilized in medical diagnostics especially within the emergency room setting.

DataWare Ventures will be a software development firm catering to the large data analytics and database management system optimization segment of the industry.

These startups each will receive $25,000 in seed funding from the Arizona Commerce Authority and BioAccel, as well as incubation space throughout the state of Arizona. The AZ Furnace program fosters innovative business creation, a key initiative of the Arizona Commerce Authority, ultimately offering the promise of growing and strengthening Arizona’s overall economy.

AZ Furnace is a statewide, public-private partnership among the the UA, Arizona Commerce Authority, BioAccel, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona Technology Enterprises and Dignity Health Arizona. 

“The AZ Furnace program provides a helpful infusion of non-dilutive capital for early-stage technology development,” said Eugene Cochran, senior licensing associate at Tech Launch Arizona. “Programs such as AZ Furnace Accelerator, as well as TLA's Proof-of-Concept Funding Program, facilitate UA inventors in translation of their research to commercial reality.”

Consequently, TLA is proud to act in support of AZ Furnace as a University research partner and congratulates Yoon and Snodgrass for spearheading successful start-up business ventures and their associated teams, Cochran said.

Tech Launch Arizona was designed to consolidate the UA’s efforts related to moving knowledge and inventions from campus to market. Its charter is to facilitate the transfer of discoveries at the UA into intellectual property, inventions and technology, providing a much more robust entrepreneurial approach to company start-ups and technology investment.

The UA’s Office of Technology Transfer is the intellectual property management organization for the UA. The organization works with faculty members, inventors and industry partners to speed the flow of innovation from research laboratory to the marketplace.

AZ Furnace is an innovative startup accelerator designed to incubate and launch new companies created by licensing technology and intellectual property from Arizona's premiere research institutions. In partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, BioAccel, Arizona State University, Dignity Health Systems, Northern Arizona University and the UA, AZ Furnace is an intensive, six-month accelerator experience for startups; providing them with initial seed funding, office space, and access to top industry mentors.

Participants in AZ Furnace will have access to the top discoveries made in Arizona research institutions and the opportunity to commercialize those technologies into high-potential startups.