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Phoenix hosts delegation of biomedical, climate tech leaders

PHX Business Journal

A group of eight international biomedical and climate technology companies gathered in the Valley this week to learn about potential business expansion opportunities in Arizona.

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council hosted the delegation of executives from Kenya, Mexico, Singapore and the Philippines in a spinoff event associated with the SelectUSA Investment Summit, which takes place June 23-26 in Maryland.

The two-day event, held June 20-21, consisted of roundtable discussions, economic and workforce-related presentations, networking with state and industry leaders and tours of the Valley’s health care facilities.

It marked the second consecutive year that federal officials selected GPEC to host a SelectUSA spinoff event as a precursor to the U.S Department of Commerce’s larger SelectUSA Summit to facilitate foreign investment in the country.

GPEC’s longstanding relationship with the Department of Commerce led to the organization’s selection as host of the spinoff mission, Chris Camacho, CEO of GPEC told the Business Journal.

In addition, biomedical and climate tech are among industry areas that GPEC and the Arizona Commerce Authority are targeting for economic development, he said.

“The whole premise is to illustrate the U.S. — and specifically metro Phoenix — as a great place to do business,” Camacho said.

Spinoff event involved presentations, networking

GPEC’s spinoff event kicked off June 20 with a presentation of the regional and state economy, followed by workforce presentations by Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University and Maricopa Community College, among others.

Companies that participated in the spinoff mission also learned about Arizona’s tax and regulatory environment, and received a “deep dive” into the area’s rapid growth.

Company executives were provided with an overview of available business opportunities in 22 cities within Arizona, along with a session about venture capital and the technology ecosystem in the Valley. Daily activities concluded with a networking reception with business leaders and government officials, including Gov. Katie Hobbs.

On Friday, the event featured an industry roundtable with experts from WearTech Applied Research Center, Kore Power, Banner Health, Flinn Foundation, HonorHealth, Dignity Health, Mayo/ASU MedTech Accelerator and Mayo Clinic, Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Companies also participated in facility tours to highlight Arizona’s growing biomedical and health care industries.

GPEC pitched the spinoff mission to the executives as a “two-day download on one of the fastest growing cities in the nation,” Camacho said.

Camacho said most of the visiting executives had heard of Phoenix because of its growing position as a semiconductor hub, but “a lot of learning” occurred around the Mayo Clinic and the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Camacho said it’s still too early to tell whether the visiting companies plan to establish operations in the Valley, but GPEC will remain in contact with them about their future plans.

Stephen Lim, CEO of FathomX, is among the international executives that participated in the SelectUSA spinoff.

He learned about the spinoff from Casey Gilchrist, GPEC’s senior director of international business development and connected with executives at the Mayo Clinic prior to his visit to Phoenix.

“There’s real potential for us to really talk to the health care providers,” he said.

FathomX is a digital health company headquartered in Singapore that leverages artificial intelligence to improve the procedure for screening mammograms by reducing false positive and negative rates. The spinoff company from the National University of Singapore and National University Health System has already gained regulatory approval for its product in seven countries and is considering an expansion to the U.S., Lim said.

Lim was impressed with GPEC’s overview of the Valley’s economic growth as well as the collaboration occurring with universities, accelerator programs and industries, he said.

“Basically, we are looking for potential collaborators in the medical field — universities, hospitals and screening centers,” he said.

ASU, GPEC rebrand Global Growth Accelerator

Coinciding with the spinoff event, ASU and GPEC announced a new program title, brand and benefit package for the Global Growth Accelerator, which is now known as the Arizona International Soft Landing Experience, or AISLE.

AISLE is intended to support international companies looking to expand products or services to the U.S.

Participants in the program receive three months of free access to office space at SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center Innovation Center, regional labor market data and cost comparison modeling from GPEC, and connections to key business resources from both organizations.

“AISLE’s enhanced brand and benefits highlight the crucial role of this program and its continued economic growth of the Greater Phoenix community,” Sally Morton, executive vice president at ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise, said in a statement. “AISLE participants are primed for success, thanks to the strategic location at Skysong, abundant GPEC resources, and a thriving innovation ecosystem.”

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