A few years after it launched a QED Proof of Concept funding program, the University City Science Center has unveiled a new fund for a commercialization program. It’s fueled by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, according to a statement from the Science Center.
Stephen Tang, the CEO of the Science Center, said Phase 1 Ventures would provide more opportunities to create spinout companies formed around technologies with high commercial potential.
The QED Proof-of-Concept program provides business development support for academic researchers developing early-stage life science and health IT technologies with high commercial potential. Participants receive grants totaling up to $200,000 to support research and development projects carried out over a 12 month timeframe. The grant funding is split between the Science Center and the participant’s institution. Participants are also mentored by advisers from life science and healthcare technology companies.
The program receives applications from 19 universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware that participate under a common agreement that defines matching funds and intellectual property management.
Update In response to questions, Chris Laing, vice president of science and technology at the Science Center, said in an emailed statement that “projects that come through the QED program are likely to be well-suited for Phase 1 Ventures.” But Phase 1 Ventures is more about building the business compared with the QED program, which is focused mainly on demonstrating technical feasibility and setting the commercialization stage. He emphasized that it’s not a requirement that Phase 1 Ventures participants be graduates of QED.
Although he acknowledged that the program will help get early stage companies through the “valley of death” when it is most difficult for them to secure funding, Laing said Phase 1 Ventures seeks to do more than that.
“It is specifically focused on getting companies up and running – getting that first funding, management, and mentorship to see if there is really any ‘there there’ from a business perspective.”