Biodesign continues to be a major ASU focal point for translational research. Biodesign researchers, working in conjunction with Skysong Innovations, the intellectual property arm of ASU, continued with a high level of technology transfer activity including disclosures and patent applications. Biodesign’s Commercial Translation projects enhance the intellectual property and innovation pipeline by providing a risk-reduction strategy to start-up and spinout companies originating in the Institute.

Venture Catalyst at ASU is Arizona State University’s entrepreneurial assistance initiative designed to help faculty, students, alumni and ASU-linked companies launch new startups or accelerate existing ventures.

The program leverages the expertise of ASU's Knowledge Enterprise Development and Skysong Innovations to identify and develop investment-grade companies. 

The Venture Catalyst team works one-on-one with faculty entrepreneurs to determine the steps needed to advance ideas to market launch. The in-house Venture Catalyst team, an extensive mentor network and pre-selected service providers (market research, legal, IP assistance, etc.) are then engaged to provide tailored business services. 


Faculty with Venture Catalyst can be matched with experienced entrepreneurs and seasoned business executives based on their specific needs and required time commitments.  Approximately 100 mentors are currently participating in Venture Catalyst mentor programs.

SBIR / STTR grant support

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program provide funding for early-stage technology ventures that are still too high-risk to attract funding from private investors.  Both programs are coordinated by the U.S. Small Business Administration and offer applicants a three-phase development cycle:

  • Phase I – Awards of up to $100,000 for approximately six months support exploration of the technical merit or feasibility of an idea or technology.
  • Phase II – Awards of up to $750,000, for as many as two years. During this time, R&D work is performed and the developer evaluates commercialization potential.  Only Phase I award winners can apply.
  • Phase III – Period during which Phase II innovation moves from the laboratory into the marketplace. No SBIR funds support this phase. The small business must find private or non-SBIR federal agency funding.

Venture Catalyst supports faculty SBIR/STTR applications by providing research, writing and submission support, along with making critical connections to large corporate partners.

ASU's Office of Entrepreneurship supports the innovation ecosystem, and every year, sponsors opportunities through its Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Start-Up Opportunities

Biodesign continues to be a major ASU focal point for translational research and and a robust entrepreneurial culture. As new intellectual property is identified and defined, including confirming the market need and efficacy of a novel technology and identification of a business opportunity, it may either spin out as a start-up company with continued involvement of the Biodesign inventors, or exclusive or nonexclusive licenses may be negotiated by Skysong Innovations.

The Skysong Innovations executive team is comprised of industry and university veterans with years of professional experience in technology evaluation, product development, technology marketing, capital formation, operations and management, IP protection, industry relationships, and licensing and commercialization. Skysong Innovations performs at least three vital functions, each of which can be pursued in parallel:

  • Skysong Innovations works to transform discoveries into valuable intellectual property. Possible inventions disclosed to Skysong Innovations are evaluated for their commercial potential. High- potential technologies are chosen for further investment in the form of patent protection. The scope of this protection is determined by a technology’s market potential in specific fields-of-use and geographic territories.
  • Skysong Innovations determines and pursues the most appropriate commercialization strategy. Incremental technologies that build on the technologies of existing market players represent licensing opportunities. In contrast, technologies that have the potential to disrupt or revolutionize existing markets may represent new company start-up opportunities.
  • An essential function Skysong Innovations performs is to provide or otherwise locate gap funding for promising new technologies that are not quite ready to attract the interest of commercial partners.