AZAdvances Co-creator Recognized for Innovation Leadership

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AZAdvances was created by OTEF and AZBio to create a permanent stream of funding to support the creation of future health innovations.

On Thursday, September 30, 2021, the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) stepped into the spotlight at the Arizona Business Innovation Awards, hosted by AZ Big Media and presented by Keyser. AZBio was recognized as one of the 30 Most Innovative Companies in Arizona  and received a spotlight award for Leadership in Arizona’s innovation ecosystem.  

AZBio’s small staff and large team of committed volunteers support a growing innovation ecosystem of more than 1,400 innovative life science and healthcare firms that together represented an economic impact of $23.16 billion in 2016 and $32.67 billion in 2018.

The mission of AZAdvances is to support the creation and commercialization of Arizona-based health innovations. As we work to create a sustainable solution to address the need for early-stage life science funding for researchers and companies in Arizona and developing the programs they need to succeed, we rely on community donations and the subject matter expertise developed through our collaboration with the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio).

AZBio's Innovation Track Record

Arizona Bioscience Week: 

Created by AZBio in 2015, Arizona Bioscience Week connects the life science community and the general public through a weeklong series of events that bring together innovators, educators, patient advocates,  philanthropists, investors, and the general public. 

Celebrating Life & Science

In 2020, when COVID-19 made it impossible to host large scale events, AZBio produced Celebrating Life & Science, a 1-hour television special that aired on ABC15 and  CW61 during Arizona Bioscience Week and continues to stream online. As the Delta variant caused cases to again rise in 2021, Celebrating Life & Science 2021 will premiere in ABC15 on Oct 3, 2021.

White Hat Life Science Investor Conference

Hosted by AZBio in even numbered years during Arizona Bioscience Week. The White Hat Life Science & Investor Conference brings together local, national and international investors with some of the most exciting life science companies in the Rocky Mountain Southwest region.  Since its launch  in 2014, White Hat presenting companies have gone on to raise over $1 billion in investment.


OTEF’s first collaboration with AZBio, D3Bio focuses on STEM education and our FUTURE  innovators.  Since 2011, the Student Discovery Zones have provided opportunities for over 1,000 student researchers to showcase their work and connect with industry leaders. 

University Infrastructure

The State of Arizona authorized an additional $1 billion in university research infrastructure at our three public universities thanks to the work of AZBio and a coalition of community leaders.

Protecting TRIF

The Technology & Research Initiative Fund, or TRIF for short is an essential component of Arizona’s life science innovation ecosystem.  Funded through a portion of Arizona’s .006% sales tax for education and workforce development, TRIF has provided over $1 billion in research funding that is making an impact on the lives of the people of Arizona.  AZBio created, Faces Of TRIF as part of its ongoing education campaign on the VALUE of TRIF.

Sonoran Living Health Innovation Spotlights

Based on the success of Celebrating Life & Science, AZBio again partnered with ABC15 and CW61 to create the Sonoran Living Health Innovation Spotlights public information campaign,  Each segment focuses on a health challenge and how Arizona life science innovators are rising to meet the challenge.  The campaign is projected to reach over 1.2 million viewers in 2021.

In 2020, AZBioPEERS was created by AZBio and a group of Arizona  life science science executives to provide Professional Education, Engagement, and Resource Sharing.  In-person sessions transitioned to Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic and can be viewed here.
Voice of the Patient

Patients are the reason life science and health innovations are necessary. On Oct 8, 2021, AZBio’s Voice of the Patient initiative kicks off during Arizona Bioscience Week with a live event on Zoom and the unveiling of the Voice of the Patient website that shares the impact of life science innovation from the patient perspective and will be updated on an ongoing basis.

In 2019, AZBio received a grant from the Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, to support its work on creating AZAdvances, part of the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation. OTEF’s board chair, Joan Koerber-Walker also currently serves as the president & CEO of AZBio.

Business Innovation Spotlight Awards: Exceptional Achievement

Disruptor: Waymo

Product: Footprint

Leadership: AZBio

Breakthrough: Rosendin Electric

Game Changer: Emerge

The 30 most innovative companies in Arizona for 2021

  • Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio)
  • Arizona Federal Credit Union
  • CFM
  • Calero-MDSL
  • Casago
  • Design Pickle
  • Emerge
  • Footprint
  • Freeport-McMoRan
  • HOPCo (Healthcare Outcomes Performance Company)
  • Hexagon Mining
  • In-Position Technologies
  • Kitchell Corporation
  • Neighborhood Ventures
  • Outlier
  • Paradox
  • RJ Russo
  • Rosendin
  • SRP
  • STORE Capital
  • SmartRent
  • Solugenix
  • StrongMind
  • Team Select Home Care
  • The Touchpoint Solution
  • TriWest Healthcare Alliance
  • Verdigris Holdings
  • Veyo
    the healthcare space.
  • Waymo
  • Xcellerate Biomedical Technologies

Click here to read about each of these innovative companies and how they innovate.

Coming in 2022

AZBioPEERS Mentoring

Building on the success of the AZBioPEERS program, AZBioPEERS Mentoring will be announced at the AZAdvances Life Science Innovation Showcase on Oct 6, 2021 during Arizona Bioscience Week. AZBioPEERS Mentors will provide mentoring and technical support to early state life science entrepreneurs in Arizona.


AZBio and OTEF will continue the capital campaign for AZAdvances in 2022.  Based on the level of community support received, the plan is to begin company evaluations for investment in Q4 of 2022 with first investments made in 2023.  The community can support this initiative through donations of cash, appreciated securities, and  crypto  currency.