The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), a not-for-profit arm of The University of Texas at Austin, has received a $140,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) to determine the feasibility of developing wet-lab space for life-sciences companies.
A wet lab is where scientists test and analyze chemicals and biological materials and it requires a special facility with running water, ventilation and specialized utility access.
The ATI study will determine best practices for existing wet-lab facilities, identify costs and potential sites for the lab and evaluate the overall economic impact of the new facility.
"The proposed Wet Lab Feasibility Study would determine the appropriate scale and scope of the wet-lab facilities in Austin," Kevin Lalande, managing partner of Santé Ventures and a life sciences business investor, said in a letter supporting the study. "This would provide focus and guidance to local efforts to improve our life-sciences infrastructure. In this way, it could lead rapidly to the construction of infrastructure appropriate to the job creation potential of the life sciences in Austin."
The grant application was headed by ATI Director Isaac Barchas and former ATI-Bioscience Director Dr. Jessica Hanover. Dr. Cindy WalkerPeach, the new ATI-Bioscience director, will administer the grant.
The application for the grant was supported by officials from the City of Austin, The University of Texas at Austin, members of the Texas congressional delegation, investors and civic-business groups.
"The EDA grant to support the Austin Technology Incubator's wet-lab facility feasibility study in Austin will have a major impact on our economic development strategy," Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. "We believe that wet-lab infrastructure would accelerate the growth of life-sciences companies in Austin, and we welcome the opportunity to prove out and game plan that part of our economic development agenda."
About the Austin Technology Incubator
The Austin Technology Incubator is a nonprofit unit of The University of Texas at Austin that harnesses business, government and academic resources to provide strategic counsel, operational guidance and infrastructure support to its member companies to help them transition from early stage ventures to successful technology businesses. Since its founding in 1989, ATI has worked with more than 200 companies, helping them raise close to $750 million in investor capital. ATI is a key program of the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. For more information, visit www.ati.utexas.edu.