UTHSC Partners to Build Research, Entrepreneurship, and Commercialization in Biosciences

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The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, and TriMetis Life Sciences today announced the establishment of a partnership focused on research, discovery, entrepreneurship, and commercialization in biosciences and technology at the university. At the heart of the partnership are the joint university appointments of Steve Bares, PhD, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks, to focus on building research through entrepreneurial endeavors, and Phil Cestaro, president and CEO of TriMetis Life Sciences, to focus on building research through business development in the private sector.

“Research and discovery that can lead to new products in the health sciences are critical parts of the UTHSC mission,” said Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer at UTHSC. “This new partnership with established experts in commercialization, business development, industry relationships, and capital investments will help us better develop the path from research to commercial success.”

UTHSC Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD, echoed Dr. Brown’s comments. “We expect this partnership to facilitate the movement of research discoveries to marketable products,” he said.

The partnership will leverage the proven strengths of Memphis Bioworks and its subsidiary organizations and programs, TriMetis Life Sciences, ZeroTo510, and INNOVA, to the benefit of the research, discovery, and potential business development out of UTHSC.

In his new appointment as associate vice chancellor, Research and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Bares will work with the organization to help build out the pathway to entrepreneurism, with a focus on both capitalizing on existing research by professors and students, and setting a foundation for future research and discovery. He will also, through targeted programming, expand access and expose UTHSC faculty to experienced educators and researchers, who have successfully translated discoveries in academia to commercial ventures.

“UTHSC has the potential to be a national model for research commercialization, directly connecting research to economic impact in the community,” Dr. Bares said. “Expanding the interplay between research and commercialization will focus on both taking research to market and on attracting additional faculty and research that is drawn to a successful commercialization model. My goal with this appointment is to help faculty get more of their research out of their lab, which can attract additional research and talent, which can lead to national recognition and investment for the university.”

In his appointment as associate vice chancellor, Research and Business Development, Cestaro will focus on the development of external research opportunities with pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies, matching the UTHSC strengths, resources, services, and technologies to those outside the organization and exposing UTHSC to the world. Cestaro will also assist the University of Tennessee Research Foundation with the management of the statewide Clinical Trials Network of Tennessee.

“Exposing these research capabilities to the medical device, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries provides the services, expertise, and business acumen to position our organizations nationally,” Cestaro said.

“This is an exciting time for UTHSC Research and Innovation,” said Steve Goodman, PhD, UTHSC vice chancellor for Research. “We are growing basic, clinical, and translational biomedical research, which has as its central goal the production of better therapies and cures for human disease. The addition of Steve Bares and Phil Cestaro to the Office of Research Leadership Team allows us to enhance the UTHSC entrepreneurial culture that leads faculty to appreciate how to translate their important discoveries to innovative therapeutics and devices.”