UC life sciences startups will compete for $300,000 in awards at primeUC finals

Representatives from 20 University of California life sciences startups will compete for $300,000 in awards during the finals of the primeUC competition to be held Dec. 2 at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus.

The all-day competition will culminate in a fast-pitch event to be emceed by University of California President Janet Napolitano. The evening fast-pitch event is open to the public.

The competing finalists, who hail from the UC campuses in Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, were chosen from more than 260 entrants who submitted pitch decks designed to highlight the entrepreneurs’ ingenuity and business savvy. A panel of judges selected the 70 most promising semifinalists and further narrowed the field to 20 finalists, including startups developing medical devices, microbiome therapies, imaging technologies, and wearable sensors.

“UC has a great entrepreneurial spirit and its students, staff and faculty are commercializing a wide range of innovations spun off from university research,” said Neena Kadaba, Ph.D., director of primeUC. “But many of them could use help making the professional connections that will enable them to grow their companies and create new jobs in California. The primeUC finals give 20 early-stage startups the chance to reach important players in the life science ecosystem.”

The primeUC competition was designed to give life science entrepreneurs from all 10 UC campuses and the three affiliated national laboratories a stage to present their technologies to the public and a chance to win seed funding to help them get their ventures off the ground.

Throughout the day on Dec. 2, the finalists will seek to convince the judges that their companies hold the greatest potential and deserve to win the $150,000 grand prize. Three runners-up will each win $50,000. The judges will convene to choose the winners, who will be announced at the end of the public lightning-pitch ceremony that evening.

primeUC is hosted by QB3, the University of California life science research institute and technology accelerator, with funding from the University of California. Prize money will be provided by Johnson & Johnson Innovation.