GAINESVILLE and BOCA RATON, February 21, 2012 –The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research has appointed entrepreneur Jamie Grooms as its chief executive officer. Grooms has been a co-founder of two successful University of Florida spin-off companies, RTI Biologics (Nasdaq: RTIX) and Axogen Inc.
The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research is a not-for-profit corporation focused on promoting economic development through the commercialization of new discoveries generated from publicly-funded research. The institute is a collaboration among the technology transfer offices at the 11 state universities, led by UF's Office of Technology Licensing. It is located at the Florida Innovation Hub at UF in Gainesville and the Research Park at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and receives operational support from the Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida. The institute administers the Florida Research Commercialization Matching Grant Program and the Seed Capital Accelerator Program.
University of Florida President Bernie Machen said Grooms is a well-known entrepreneur whose expertise and contacts will help the institute create and attract high-tech start-up companies to Florida.
“We in Gainesville have had the opportunity to see Jamie’s passion for growing companies up close,” Machen said. “I’m confident he can use that same passion to make the institute a national leader in creating an environment that nurtures the kind of high-tech companies Florida wants.”
Beau Ferrari, chairman of the institute’s board of directors, said, “Jamie has a track record working with universities, licensing technology and building companies. Along with Dr. Machen’s strong leadership, this is an important next phase for the institute in its mission to catalyze new companies across industries, resulting in a more vibrant, innovation-based economy.”
Grooms is a co-inventor of the allograft bone implant that formed the basis for RTI Biologic’s product line. He led the company through its spin-off from the University of Florida Tissue Bank in 1998 and oversaw its initial public offering in 2000, which raised $75 million in proceeds. He then went on to found Axogen Inc., a creator of products for peripheral nerve reconstruction and regeneration.
“I am very excited to join the institute and work with a team that is deeply committed to growing and diversifying Florida’s economy,” Grooms said. “With a strong foundation in place, we will build on the institute’s prior successes to accelerate company and job growth, consistent with the state’s strategic plan for a sustainable, diversified economy.”
In addition to his executive management experience, Grooms has extensive experience in many areas of med-tech business operations, including R&D, laboratory and manufacturing operations. He has developed state-of-the-art medical processing and manufacturing systems, robotics and other technological innovations, and has held various leadership positions with LifeNet, Osteotech (Nasdaq:OSTE), and CryoLife (Nasdaq:CRY). He holds a degree in biology from Old Dominion University.