Secret Sauce: Vision, Leadership, Collaboration Boost Biotech and Healthcare

Brandon Ames CEO, AniCell BioTech

Thought Leader Q & A with Brandon Ames, Founder and CEO AniCell Biotech

The PHX East Valley region continues to draw biotech and healthcare businesses that are at the forefront of innovation. Chandler-based AniCell Biotech, which is revolutionizing regenerative treatments for animals, is one of them. President and chief executive officer Brandon Ames, a longtime entrepreneur, talks about the company’s success here and what’s ahead for the thriving tech and innovation community.

Why did you choose the PHX East Valley region for AniCell Biotech’s home base?

Arizona State University and specifically Chandler’s commitment to the biotech industry made the Valley a great place to launch AniCell. With the support of NACET (Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology) and Chandler Innovations, AniCell was able to  bring our dog and horse regenerative treatments to market much more quickly than we could have otherwise.

Chandler Innovations’ wet lab biotech incubator turned out to be the perfect space for us. We were able to share technology, and collaborate with other biotech companies and the University of Arizona, who has since moved but at the time was doing some stem cell research as well…Things like that allowed us to really move the organization ahead, and it was with great vision from the city of Chandler that that happened. It easily would have added six months onto our launch without them.

How is the region evolving as a hub for biotech and tech-related healthcare businesses?

Early stage industries have always been very successful in the Valley, and biotech is no different. Due to our entrepreneurial climate, both our political and industry leaders understand the importance of bringing high-paying, sustainable jobs to the Valley. Organizations like the Arizona Commerce Authority, AZBio (Arizona Bioindustry Association) and the Flinn Foundation all have strategic visions for the biotech industry and continue to excel against more mature regions like the Northeast and Silicon Valley.

What is the area’s “secret sauce” for luring so many startups?

That’s easy: Collaboration – everyone working together.  Individual organizations cannot create enough momentum to move the needle but together, associations, industry, and government have been able to coalesce around a common vision that is driving a significant ground swell that is attractive to entrepreneurs.  While it is never fast enough for entrepreneurs, we continue to see evidence of progress in all areas, from manufacturing to biotech.

As a “serial entrepreneur,” what do you see on the horizon for the growing tech and innovation community in the PHX East Valley?

From solar installations to self-driving car technologies to advancements in biotech, the East Valley continues to attract new and exciting innovation to the Valley. We as entrepreneurs typically look for environments first that will support the culture that we want to achieve.