Who We Are

History

History

Founded in 2009, BioAccel is a leading 501(c)3 organization in the Southwestern United States that fulfills a mission “to drive economic development through providing early-stage funding and accelerating commercialization of bioscience technology and devices,” accomplishing three important goals:

  • Diversify Arizona’s economic growth.
  • Improve health and delivery of healthcare.
  • Provide bioscience entrepreneurial training and mentorship.

Founded by MaryAnn Guerra and Ron King, BioAccel provides training, investor education and a competitive early-stage funding for qualified innovators focused on health informatics and medical devices, accelerating the translation of novel scientific advances and discoveries into commercially viable products and devices that profoundly improve patient care and advance public health.

While BioAccel uses philanthropic funding to bridge the high-risk Valley of Death stage of business development unique to bioscience innovation, our novel nonprofit status also allows the holding of equity in exchange for early-stage investments, which ensures our long-term sustainability.

BioAccel’s early-stage bioscience entrepreneur support is making a significant difference, helping to launch 17 bioscience firms since inception. 

To date, BioAccel has:

  • Invested $3.5 million over the past five years in proof-of-concept projects that helped create and/or grow companies, helping to support high-paying jobs at an average wage of $71,800, 61.8 percent over the Arizona average wage of $44,370.
  • Provided education and mentorship for more than 100 Arizona entrepreneurs.

BioAccel’s portfolio to date has resulted in a current book value of the portfolio that exceeds $98.3M with a projected exit value of $1.4B, achieving a 37 percent internal rate of return (IRR). This is significantly better performance than that of the nation’s most sophisticated angel investors according to The Kauffman Foundation’s Angel Investor Performance.

BioInspire, a program of BioAccel, is located in Peoria, Arizona, and is designed in partnership with the City of Peoria to help support qualifying bioscience entrepreneur start-up companies while diversify the city’s economy.  BioInspire is the only medical device incubator in Arizona providing wrap-around start-up resources to early-stage companies qualifying to participate in BioAccel’s commercialization programs. 

  • BioInspire is located near Thunderbird Road and 94th Avenue in a 7,000 square-foot facility that includes wet/dry lab space as well as office space.
  • BioAccel has accelerated development of 12 early-stage biomedical device companies with start-up operations located at BioInspire. 
  • To date, these companies have created an aggregate of more than 45 jobs within their organizations. 

The following chart illustrates the role BioAccel plays in providing training, investor education and a competitive early-stage funding for qualified innovators focused on health informatics and medical devices, accelerating the translation of novel scientific advances and discoveries into commercially viable products and devices that profoundly improve patient care and advance public health.

Accelerating - Concept to Commerce

Why our work is important

BioAccel’s work is critically important for U.S. competitiveness.  According to The Kauffman Foundation’s research, the ability for U.S. firms to commercialize only 6 percent more federally funded research discoveries would result in a $1.4 trillion to $3 trillion impact on the national Gross Domestic Product.

Furthermore, university technologies successfully commercialized by BioAccel are 114 times more likely to result in a company initial public offering (IPO) than other startups.

Arizona is a top-emerging bioscience state according to the Flinn Foundation.  Research conducted by Battelle showed that from 2002 to 2011, while the U.S. posted a 12 percent gain in bioscience jobs, Arizona’s bioscience jobs grew 45 percent -- more than 30,700 jobs, to reach a total of 99,018 bioscience jobs during that time period. The biosciences are vital to both Arizona’s economy, as well as economic vibrancy in the Southwestern United States.

One of BioAccel’s distinct accomplishments in Arizona includes its proven ability to help entrepreneurs address the bioscience industry gap known as the “Valley of Death,” when entrepreneurs face profound resource deficiencies in the proof-of-business concept, lacking pre-seed funding capacity and access to ongoing business and technical support.  This Valley of Death is considered to be the industry’s highest risk phase in the commercialization and investment process.

BioAccel’s major lessons learned include five, very specific areas of training and mentorship that must be available and integrated to ensure the successful journey of launching bioscience research discoveries into commercialization and company start-up:

  1. Access to business, technical and regulatory expertise.
  2. A network of experienced and knowledgeable mentors providing advice to entrepreneurs.
  3. Identification and access to intellectual property and novel ideas generated by local entrepreneurs (including academia).
  4. Financial capital that includes proof-of-concept, seed and venture funding, tranched according to carefully identified commercial milestones.
  5. Access to facilities under terms ranging from free to affordable.
  6. Team dynamics are as important as technology. We now employ sophisticated psychological assessments as part of our diligence process.

Our insight is based on a formal evaluation program that includes pre- and post-program assessments completed by our management team and reviewed by our independent BioAccel Council of Advisors. The organization’s goals as well as program goals are tracked on a monthly, quarterly, annual, and three-year (strategic plan) basis to determine effectiveness and future needs/opportunities. 

BioAccel’s Council of Advisors includes nationally recognized leaders representing the following industries:

  • Bioscience: (Medtronic, Molded Devices, W.L Gore, General Electric, Arteriocyte),
  • Venture/Investment (HLM Partners, GE Ventures),
  • Academia (Northwestern/Stanford Design Institute), and
  • Other local business and medical device leaders advise regarding the selection and management of BioAccel portfolio of companies as well as BioInspire activities.