PHILADELPHIA (July 13, 2017) – After 11 years developing and growing commercialization, investment, and business acceleration programs at Philadelphia’s University City Science Center, Christopher Laing, MRCVS, Ph.D. has been tapped to lead the effort to establish a new healthcare-focused innovation zone in Austin, Texas. Dr. Laing will become the first Executive Director at the newly formed Capital City Innovation effective September 1, 2017. He has served as the Vice President, Science & Technology at the Science Center since 2010.
Capital City Innovation, a non-profit, will help established businesses and enterprising startups become part of the health ecosystem that is developing around the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin and a new modern teaching hospital. Austin community leaders also expect to build on creativity already occurring in the vicinity to spur innovation in sectors beyond healthcare. Founding Members of Capital City Innovation include The University of Texas at Austin, Central Health and Seton Healthcare Family, a member of Ascension Health.
“Austin is blessed with many assets that will support and leverage an innovation district. What we need is someone working to bring them all together in a meaningful way. We’re excited Chris will be heading up Capital City Innovation to do just that,” said Kirk Watson, Texas Senator.
As the first Executive Director of Capital City Innovation, Dr. Laing will focus on convening diverse stakeholders, which along with the founding members include government, business and community leaders in Austin, to align vision and goals for the innovation zone, to launch and grow the enterprise, and to make meaningful connections across Texas and beyond. Drawing upon his experiences in Philadelphia, his goals are to expand business opportunities, seed innovation activities, and develop collaborations among high-tech entrepreneurs, creative industries, academic, and public sectors, with a focus on creating an ecosystem that will improve health and economic outcomes for Austin.
“Philadelphia has such a vibrant and growing entrepreneurial culture, and I’ve been very lucky to have collaborated with many wonderful organizations” says Dr. Laing. “I’m looking forward to engaging in that same spirit of collaboration with new partners in Austin. It’s always exciting to be at the start of a great new project.”
During his time as a member of the Science Center’s senior management team Dr. Laing helped grow the organization into a nationally-recognized innovation hub. He re-imagined the Port business incubator and oversaw the development and implementation of the QED Proof-of-Concept Program, the Digital Health Accelerator, the Innovation Center @3401, and most recently Phase 1 Ventures, building a strong network of academic, entrepreneurial, corporate, and investment partners across the region along the way.
“Under Dr. Laing’s leadership, the Science Center’s technology commercialization and business growth capabilities have been transformed to support startups from idea all the way to IPO and beyond,” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “Philadelphia’s loss is Austin’s gain. Chris’ knowledge and experience will be an asset to Capital City Innovation and to Austin.”
Dr. Laing has a Ph.D. in endocrinology, and completed his post-doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. Prior to joining the Science Center in 2006, Chris worked for a number of biomedical start-up companies, and was a practicing companion animal veterinarian in the United Kingdom, where he is a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Chris serves on the Board of Visitors of the University of the Sciences Mayes College, and on the Boards of the South Jersey Technology Park and the Global Philadelphia Association. In 2015 he was invited to spend a month engaging with leaders of China’s innovation economy as an Eisenhower Fellow.
About the Science Center
Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond.
For more information about the Science Center, go to www.sciencecenter.org