The University of California, Davis, enabled the foundation of 14 commercial startups during the past fiscal year— matching the largest number of new ventures launched in a single year, based on UC Davis technologies.
MUSE Microscopy, one of the startups, is planning to revolutionize the way pathologists identify disease. The company’s technology, jointly developed with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has the potential to save pathologists time and money.
Examining patient tissue under a microscope is critical for research and diagnosing diseases, but preparing samples for slides is costly and time-consuming, taking hours to days. MUSE has developed an alternative: a method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light and fluorescent dyes to generate high-definition images of tissue features without the drawbacks of traditional slide preparation.
Logos4n, another startup based on research being conducted at UC Davis, has developed a method to identify individuals’ genomes with high precision, as well as measure genetic changes from development, stress and aging.
Founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Kiho Cho sees a wide range of possible applications for the company’s genetic surveillance protocols and algorithms such as animal and plant breeding, cell and tissue typing, fundamental cell biology and genetics, and judicial forensics. He also notes several medical applications including genome toxicology (how people’s genomes respond to drugs and environmental toxins), monitoring of radiation therapy, and marker discovery to help diagnose and study diseases.
“Our genetics surveillance technologies have opened the pathway to new understandings of the dynamic genome landscape in biology in general and to individual diagnostics and treatments of some of the most challenging medical conditions in our society,” said Cho.
Several other companies are developing medical applications such as new therapies for high-mortality cancers, Sapience Therapeutics; new anti-inflammatories, AccenGen Therapeutics; a portable non-invasive screening tool for diagnosing traumatic brain injury, Vizzario; and a wearable device for managing vein disorders, VenoSense.
Beyond the biomedical space, UC Davis startups are also tackling important societal problems. Foodful.ly, for example, has created an app to reduce America’s massive food waste problem by alerting users when food is about to go bad and even providing a recipe to uses the item, rather than let it go to waste.
Innovation part of University of California culture
University of California campuses, including UC Davis, are powerhouses when it comes to innovation.
In July, the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association ranked University of California number one in the world among universities based on granted U.S. patents. And according to a report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, UC researchers and entrepreneurs have spawned hundreds of new companies, contributing more than $20 billion to California’s economy.
This past year UC Davis innovators were issued 35 U.S. and 29 foreign patents. The university also executed 98 copyright licenses, processed 233 records of inventions, filed 200 U.S. and 22 foreign patents, and negotiated 51 licenses and 799 material transfer agreements.
In total, 51 startups, including the 14 new companies for fiscal year 2015-2016, have been formed at UC Davis during the past five years. Of the 85 startups that launched on all ten UC campuses in 2015, 14 were from UC Davis. Of the 85 startups that launched in 2015 based on UC research, 13 were from UC Davis.
Campus entrepreneurs supported by UC Davis Venture Catalyst
Venture Catalyst, within the Technology Management & Corporate Relations division of the UC Davis Office of Research, provides a range of services and resources to help campus inventors and entrepreneurs turn their technologies into companies focused on developing products or services that benefit society.
Venture Catalyst guides researchers through the startup phase including company formation, establishing the appropriate corporate structure, creating connections to mentors and commercial service providers, and provides access to startup incubation facilities.
“This last year, we have seen Venture Catalyst and our collaborative partners support the creation and foundational development of a new cohort of exciting startups based on the novel and compelling research of our faculty, students and staff,” said Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor of research, who also serves as the executive director of Venture Catalyst. “Our startups, with their focus on commercializing effective solutions for pressing societal needs, represent one of the ways in which UC Davis fulfils its mission to serve the greater good of California, the nation and the world.”
Venture Catalyst works closely with campus and local community resources, including its companion units, InnovationAccess and the Office of Corporate Relations, the university’s Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and local and regional drivers of economic development to support the translation of university research into economic impact.
Venture Catalyst also provides grants to help campus entrepreneurs demonstrate commercial proof-of-concept and the feasibility of their market impact.
UC Davis startups fiscal year 2015-2016
- A-Chip. Microfluidic-based diagnostic tool for evaluating inflammatory cell activation and assessing a patient’s risk for a repeat heart attack.
- AccenGen Therapeutics. Novel anti-inflammatories for indications with the highest unmet needs, such as sinusitis, pain, cardiovascular, respiratory indications and cancer.
- Amaryllis Nucleics. More efficient RNA-sequencing library synthesis for diagnostics, pharmaceutical development and food security.
- Biomass Liquefaction Technologies. Innovative process for energy-efficient high solids liquefaction of biomass.
- Foodful.ly. App that integrates with grocery store purchases to alert users when food is about to go bad and even provides a recipe.
- GlycoHub. Highly effective enzymatic approaches for high-yield and cost-effective production of complex glycans.
- Izotropic Corporation. Breast computer tomography for early cancer detection and diagnosis.
- LOGOS4n. High-resolution genetics, genome, DNA surveillance technologies, to be applied to precision diagnostics and prognostics.
- MUSE Microscopy, Inc. Novel slide-free microscopy technology for research and diagnostic applications.
- Protein Architects. Beta solenoid proteins as “molecular Legos” for applications in self-assembly of nanoparticle based devices and materials.
- Sapience Therapeutics. Novel therapeutics for major unmet medical needs, particularly high-mortality cancers.
- SensIT. Microelectromechanical-based chemical sensors and information systems.
- VenoSense. Wearable sensing platform for management of chronic venous disorder.
- Vizzario. A non-nvasive portable screening methodology for diagnosing traumatic brain Injury.