The UVA Licensing & Ventures Group (LVG) is launching a revitalized “EIR” program to accelerate startup formation with successful entrepreneurs, experts, and executives in residence. With support from the UVA Office of Economic Development, Albemarle County Economic Development, the City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development (OED), and community partner CvilleBioHub, the EIRs will be available to offer guidance to novice entrepreneurs and to identify their next business opportunity from the UVA research portfolio.
“We can scale this program significantly to drive the commercialization of UVA technologies while contributing to the growth of the Charlottesville innovation ecosystem thanks to our strategic partners,” Michael Straightiff, Executive Director of LVG. “These individuals have specific experience in the industries emphasized in UVA’s research portfolio, and many have connections as alumni or former employees of UVA. They share in our mission to steward ideas forged on Grounds into successful new ventures.”
This powerful new resource will offer UVA faculty and researchers access to seasoned professionals with experience in early-stage implementation of new ventures. The first cohort of EIRs includes leaders who are UVA alumni, founders, and investors who possess business acumen, industry experience with early tech commercialization, strategic planning, and fundraising.
“New venture creation is one of the pillars of economic development that drives job creation and helps attract and retain industry in Charlottesville,” said Pace Lochte, Assistant VP for Economic Development at UVA. “We are thrilled to support LVG as they elevate this program with expert industry veterans to launch new ventures from the UVA research portfolio.”
The program officially launched on October 1, 2019, and several EIRs have already begun work at LVG. Weston Fox, a UVA and Jefferson Scholar alumnus with more than 15 years of experience in healthcare business development, joined LVG in February 2019 to lead portfolio companies Warm Health Technology (WHT) and Antimicrobial Resistance Services (AMR). Kevin Combs, CEO and Managing Director of Keswick Pharmaceuticals, is a founder, entrepreneur, and investor who has been working closely with the LVG Seed Fund as an advisor since the fall of 2018.
Others who will be joining the cohort this fall include Darden alumnus Daniel Lynch who brings more than 25 years of experience in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He has active board roles in several companies and most recently served as CEO and CFO of ImClone Systems Corp. There, he negotiated a major partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb and helped secure FDA approval of its novel cancer treatment, ERBITUX.
LVG also welcomes Andrew Krouse, CEO, and founder of Cavion Pharmaceuticals and Chad Rogers, UVA alumnus, CEO, and co-founder of TypeZero Technologies to the program. Cavion and TypeZero are UVA startups that were acquired by leaders in their respective industries within the last year. Krouse led the acquisition of Cavion by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in August 2019, and Rogers is continuing his role as CEO of TypeZero since its acquisition by DexCom, Inc. in September 2018.
LVG will continue to add EIRs on an ongoing basis throughout the year as needs arise. UVA faculty members, researchers, and affiliated entrepreneurs are all welcome to contact the EIRs via the LVG licensing and new venture professionals. Find more information about the program at lvg.virginia.edu.