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Regional leaders form new technology initiative

Consortium promotes nanotechnology and biotechnology as Silicon Valley’s future regional effort to accelerate commercialization and spur job growth

SAN JOSE, CA, May 6, 2004 – Regional leaders from business, universities, a national laboratory, and local government have formed the Technology Convergence Consortium (TC2) to help develop unique business opportunities and create more jobs at the intersection of information, biochemical, and nano technologies, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network announced today.

“This will be a real winner for our region,” said Russell Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture. “We already have the highest concentration of information technology based on our established leadership in microelectronics, semiconductors, computer hardware and software.

”We also have the highest concentration of biotechnology and biomedical firms, driven in large measure by the use of IT, to develop new products based on discoveries from mapping the human genome. And we have the nation’s largest cluster of national laboratories and research universities in these emerging fields.

“But what’s been missing so far,” Hancock continued, “is any strong connection linking all of these assets together, and a unified strategy to capture the economic benefits of convergence for our region. Joint Venture is stepping in to play that role, and we expect these actions will keep Silicon Valley in its traditional place at the forefront of innovation.”

Information technology and biotechnology underpin the manipulation of matter at the scale of nanometers, or one billionth of a meter—100,000 times narrower than a human hair. The next big step for the region may turn out to be a “small tech” application of nanotechnology to a wide range of existing industries.

A survey of local businesses conducted by Joint Venture has identified over 100 companies involved in these converging fields.

The initial TC2 leaders from industry, universities, national laboratories and government include: Gary Hooper, vice president-business development, at Genencor International; Thane Kreiner, senior vice president, Affymetrix; Laura Mazzola, CEO of Exellin Life Sciences; Matt Gardner, president of BayBIO; Anthony Waitz, managing partner of Quantum Insight; and Bill Musgrave, president of The Enterprise Network

TC2’s leadership also includes Scott Hubbard, director of NASA Ames who has made a major commitment of his national laboratory to support research in information, biotechnology and nanotechnology with an historical $300 million contract with the University of California, and Robert Miller, vice chancellor for research at UC Santa Cruz, the manager of this important contract.

The major university research centers are represented in TC2 by Tom Kalil, assistant to the chancellor at UC Berkeley; Matthew Scott, professor of developmental biology and genetics at Stanford’s Bio X Center; Teri Melese, associate director of technology at UCSF; and Ahmed Hambaba, associate dean of the College of Engineering at San Jose State University.

Government officials include Congressman Mike Honda, California Secretary of Business, Transportation & Housing Sunne McPeak, and San Mateo County Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson.

TC2 is an outgrowth of Joint Venture’s Next Silicon Valley Initiative begun in 2001 following the dot-com collapse. TC2’s mission is to:

  • Strengthen linkages among industry and Bay Area universities and national labs;
  • Connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed;
  • Create jobs in these fields;
  • Enact programs to prepare a rising generation of workers in these fields;
  • Secure federal and state support; and
  • Address policy issues that slow commercialization.

To carry out its mission, TC2 will:

  • Organize a regional Small Tech Summit to connect existing resources;
  • Promote partnerships among national labs, universities, and new and existing firms;
  • Encourage the development of business incubation;
  • Attract additional federal research funding

What TC2 Leaders are saying:

“Silicon Valley and the rest of our region have the technology resources that NASA will need to fulfill its missions and a growing partnership between the work of NASA Ames and local universities and industry is critical to meeting our mission. – Scott Hubbard, director of NASA Ames

“The National Nanotechnology Initiative authorized by Congress is an important step to support the research required for the United States to be globally competitive in this critical technology. Silicon Valley must play a vital role in moving forward in this area.” – Congressman Mike Honda

“What Silicon Valley is doing holds crucial significance for the state of California. The Schwarzenegger administration is committed to this effort, and the governor views bio- and nanotechnologies as a crucial component of the long-term strategy for California’s economic recovery.” –Sunne Wright McPeak, secretary of business, transportation & housing, state of California

“Our region has all the right resources to ride the next wave of innovation based on this new technology convergence. What we need is to put a spotlight on our current “hotspots” and connect activities in our regions to achieve a stronger critical mass.” – Gary Hooper, vice president, Genencor

“Make no mistake: this is a global competition, like the Olympics. And when you’re in the Olympics you bet on your best athlete. Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area is, without question, our nation’s best athlete, given our region’s strengths and assets, and our track record. So the federal government needs to be investing here. TC2 is going to be relentless in pursuing these funds.” –Anthony Waitz, managing partner, Quantum Insight

“Silicon Valley is fortunate to have not only an abiding entrepreneurial spirit backing it, but some of the most talented concentration of entrepreneurs that can be found any where in the world. These entrepreneurs will be a vital element in synthezing across disciplines and driving technological convergence from which the next wave of innovations will be spawned.” – Bill Musgrave, president, The Enterprise Network (TEN)

"Organizing ourselves into a Consortium is a win for everybody. The basic research we do at Stanford and Bio-X is the sort of discontinuous thing that universities are good at. But it helps us a lot knowing what kind of discovery is going on in the for-profit labs, and a Consortium approach helps us avoid overlapping research. It also, ultimately, speeds up the flow of commercialization when there is active dialogue between both parties." –Matthew Scott, professor, Departments of Developmental Biology and Genetics, Stanford University Bio-X Center

“The emergence of these new technologies will mean more quality jobs for our region based on what we do best: compete globally on innovation, not low cost. We need to continue to invest in the talent and infrastructure required to stay on the cutting edge of this convergence.” – Rose Jacobs Gibson, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors

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