UCI News

Abbott joins UCI’s TechPortal Orange incubator

TechPortal Orange, a medical business-technology incubator, has leased 900 square feet of laboratory space at its UC Irvine Medical Center location to the vision care business of Abbott, a global healthcare company.

July 1, 2014

Irvine, Calif., July 1, 2014 TechPortal Orange, a medical business-technology incubator, has leased 900 square feet of laboratory space at its UC Irvine Medical Center location to the vision care business of Abbott, a global healthcare company.

Headquartered in Orange County, Abbott’s vision care business will team with UC Irvine ophthalmologists from the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute to conduct preclinical research on new vision care products. Abbott offers a comprehensive portfolio of cataract, refractive and eye care products, including technologies used in laser eye surgery.

“The agreement with Abbott is a landmark for the University of California,” said Jacob Levin, the founder-executive director of TechPortal Orange and assistant vice chancellor for research development at UC Irvine. “Abbott has been a longtime supporter of ophthalmology in the School of Medicine, and the agreement to develop and test new ophthalmic technologies is the next step in this collaboration.”

TechPortal Orange opened in 2011 and occupies 3,100 square feet of lab and office space in Shanbrom Hall, in the heart of UC Irvine Medical Center. It provides resources for both startups and faculty interaction with industry. TechPortal Orange followed the successful 2010 launch of TechPortal, a business-technology incubator in UC Irvine’s California Institute for Telecommunications & Information Technology that houses five campus-based startups.

“Abbott’s lab at TechPortal Orange delivers on our long-standing desire to creatively partner with the local eye technology industry,” said Dr. Roger Steinert, the Irving H. Leopold Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and founding director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute. “Orange County has the highest concentration of eye technology companies in the world, and the university’s assets of talented faculty as well as this space will accelerate our goal of preventing blindness.”

“The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute faculty also benefits by gaining access to a lab that provides resources not otherwise available to us,” he added, “and makes the UC Irvine Department of Ophthalmology one of only a few eye departments in the country capable of sophisticated research projects that require this technology.”

Levin said there were many unprecedented aspects to the arrangement that had to be worked out. TechPortal in Calit2 and most incubators at U.S. universities support only on-campus startups and do not lease to outside companies. UC Irvine’s agreement with Abbott signifies a distinctive partnership that allows for the rapid development and testing of new therapies to treat the millions of patients with vision impairments.

“We are pleased to partner with the TechPortal at UCI Medical Center,” said MK Raheja, Ph.D., Abbott’s global head of cataract research & development, medical optics. “The biomedical research facilities available are among the best in Orange County. This partnership allows Abbott to work closely with the UC Irvine Department of Ophthalmology to accelerate ophthalmic research and product development to deliver new innovations that preserve or restore sight.”

Abbott moved into the TechPortal Orange lab space in late May.

About the University of California, Irvine: Located in coastal Orange County, near a thriving employment hub in one of the nation’s safest cities, UC Irvine was founded in 1965. One of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities, it’s ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Under the leadership of Interim Chancellor Howard Gillman, UC Irvine has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.

About Abbott: Abbott is a global healthcare company devoted to improving life through the development of products and technologies that span the breadth of healthcare. With a portfolio of leading, science-based offerings in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals, Abbott serves people in more than 150 countries and employs approximately 69,000 people.

Media access: UC Irvine maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists/experts/. Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.