Innovative Startups Commercializing UC Davis Technologies
Over the past fiscal year, Venture Catalyst supported 33 new startups with direct ties to the university through foundational technology and/or faculty, students, staff and alumni. During the 2019-20 fiscal year alone, startups that Venture Catalyst has assisted through its programs raised approximately $60 million in funding. During the past 10 years, a total of 115 startups have been formed with an emphasis on commercializing UC Davis technologies. Approximately 75 percent are still active.

Additionally, during the past fiscal year, 15 emerging startups executed agreements to access patented technology developed at the UC Davis. These startups include:

  • Alphacait — Novel leukemia stem cell-targeted ligand and nanotherapeutics for human leukemia treatment.
  • AmCyt — Automated rapid onsite evaluation device that mitigates the 20 percent sampling error in fine needle aspiration biopsies.
  • BCD Bioscience - Proprietary techniques around natural carbohydrate structures to create and commercialize novel prebiotics, synbiotics and immuno-modulatory therapies for human and animal health.
  • Breeze Biosciences — New method for targeting nuclear receptor ROR-gamma in tumor cells for prostate cancer treatment.
  • Carrisan Technologies — Novel antimicrobial solutions to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses and minimize food losses due to pathogens.
  • HistoliX— Rapid slide-free tissue imaging and decision-support tools that provide real-time results to address critical needs in cancer care and medical diagnostics.
  • InStatin — Lung-targeted inhaled therapies to treat chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
  • Matrubials — Novel and selective antimicrobial therapies to treat bacterial infections based on antimicrobial peptides found in milk.
  • NanoElements Technologies — Revolutionary nanotechnology-based intellectual property to remove lung-penetrating sub-0.3 micron air pollution particles and viruses.
  • Orox BioSciences — Dual inhibitors of soluble epoxide hydrolase and cyclooxygenase-2 for the treatment of inflammation, pain and cancers.
  • Sarya — Alpha-4 Beta-1integrin ligands for imaging and treatments of cancer, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases.
  • Spectral Analytix - Applies machine vision and machine learning to the classification and sorting of insects and also seeds, creating fast and nondestructive methods to eliminate nonviable seeds.
  • Storx Technologies - Noninvasive fetal pulse oximeter for use during deliveries.
  • Tendel Therapies - Genetically adjuvanted vaccines engineered for durable B- and T-cell immune memory.
  • The Vaccine Group - non-PCR (polymerase chain reaction) method to create a recombinant DNA fragment for insertion into a target sequence.
UC Davis Sets Record With $941 Million in Research Funding
UC Davis set a new record for external research funding in the fiscal year 2019-20, receiving $941.2 million in awards, a $94.5 million increase from the previous year. The awards reflect a broad range of critical work, from therapies for pancreatic cancer and disability research to new online learning platforms and tackling issues related to climate change. UC Davis researchers also applied their unique areas of expertise to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. More than two dozen grants totaling $2.4 million were awarded during the fiscal year. The federal government remains the top funder for research at UC Davis, but the University also saw notable activity from other funders, including $85.4 million in business funding, an $11 million increase from the previous year.... Read More
UC Davis Venture Catalyst Knowledge Exchange Webinar
Lessons Learned from Leading University Startups 
  • Ted Daley, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Selva Therapeutics, Inc.

Emerging innovators interested in technology commercialization can learn a lot from experienced entrepreneurs. This talk will focus on challenges and rewards of starting and growing companies based on university technologies. Ted Daley will draw from his experiences as a founder of and advisor to biotechnology companies spun out of University of California campuses, and will offer helpful perspective to people considering starting their own companies and practical advice to early-stage founders.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 10:30 – 11:45 am
UC Davis to Lead New Artificial Intelligence Institute for Next-Generation Food Systems
UC Davis has been awarded $20 million as part of a multi-institutional collaboration to establish an institute focused on enabling the next-generation food system through the integration of artificial intelligence, or AI, technologies. The AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems, or AIFS, aims to meet growing demands in the food supply by increasing efficiencies using AI and bioinformatics spanning the entire system — from growing crops through consumption.... Read More
Surgical and Engineering Researcher Wins National Dialysis Innovation Award
Aijun Wang, a UC Davis associate professor of surgery and biomedical engineering, was awarded a $500,000 grant to create the next generation of vascular grafts for patients with end-stage kidney disease. The funding, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and American Society of Nephrology (ASN), will enable Wang to improve kidney dialysis by improving grafts that connect blood vessels and maintain the blood flow rate. The generous award stems from the KidneyX: Redesign Dialysis Phase 2 competition, which Wang won during the recent virtual KidneyX Summit.... Read More
New Partnership Seeds Microbiome Research
UCSF, UC Davis, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory formed a Tri-Institutional Partnership in Microbiome Research (TrIP Microbiome) to leverage their collective expertise in these areas. Together, the TrIP Microbiome institutions will catalyze and fund novel, bold, and potentially transformative collaborative microbiome research projects proposed by their scientists. The first round of funding was awarded to five cross-institutional teams.... Read More
High-Throughput COVID-19 Screening Coming to Campus
UC Davis is planning a unique, multidisciplinary approach to screening its on-campus population for COVID-19 this fall. The limiting factor with most COVID-19 testing is the time it takes to get results, which would be a problem in keeping the coronavirus from spreading through a college campus. UC Davis is ramping up to be able to screen individuals for COVID-19 much faster using an open-source method that may avoid some of the bottlenecks of other approaches..... Read More
Stay Informed of Latest COVID-19 Research and Information from UC Davis: COVID-19 Research Working Group
Startup News
Verndari, Inc. Announces Funding from U.S. Government Agency BARDA to Accelerate Development of VaxiPatch™ Dermal Patch Vaccine Technology
Verndari, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company located in the UC Davis Medical Center, is one of four companies awarded funding by Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support development of Verndari’s VaxiPatch™ alternative vaccine delivery technology..... Read More
Arcadia Biosciences Completes Purchase of Industrial Seed Innovations, Acquires Proprietary Hemp Varieties
Arcadia Biosciences announced it has completed the purchase of Oregon-based Industrial Seed Innovations (ISI) specializing in organically grown, high CBD feminized hemp seed and seedlings. With this acquisition, ISI’s portfolio of strong performing, federally compliant hemp varieties have become part of Arcadia’s GoodHemp™ line of hemp seeds, transplants and extracts.... Read More
Sapience Therapeutics Awarded SBIR Phase I Grant from National Cancer Institute
Sapience Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics to address difficult to treat oncology indications, announced that it was awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate ST101 activity against breast cancer.... Read More
Botanical Solution Inc. (BSI) Appoints Marcus Meadows-Smith to their Board
Botanical Solution Inc. appointed Marcus Meadows-Smith to its Board of Directors. Meadows-Smith will advise and support the management teams current efforts to bring novel biopesticides and a vaccine adjuvant to global markets. Meadows-Smith is currently CEO of BioConsortia Inc., a leading discoverer of microbial crop protection and crop enhancement products.... Read More
Startup Career Opportunities
Career Opportunities at AnimalBiome
AnimalBiome is currently hiring for an animal care specialist and a laboratory technician.... Learn more
Career Opportunities at Arcadia Biosciences
Arcadia Biosciences is hiring for a Technical Seed Sales & Agronomy Advisor.... Learn more
Career Opportunities at Evolve Biosystems
Evolve Biosystems is currently hiring for two research associates and a management position.... Learn More
Career Opportunities at Novoheart
Novoheart is currently hiring for an engineer and three scientist positions.... Learn more
Career Opportunities at Sage Therapeutics
Sage Therapeutics is hiring for a wide range of positions from Vice President of Pharmacovigilance & Drug Safety to director level positions.... Learn more
News from the DRIVE Network
Inventopia Leases Additional Lab Space in Davis
Intentopia, a Davis-based prototyping space, has signed a lease for a new prototyping space in Davis. The new location will triple its size and provide more space for startups to conduct R&D work.... Read More
Pheronym Granted Patent for Ag Biocontrol Breakthrough Technology
Pheronym, an Ag-biotech company based at the UC Davis-HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center, and developing green pest control solutions, has been granted a patent for its breakthrough technology that improves the mobility and aggressiveness of nematodes, increasing their ability to kill pests in agriculture.... Read More
Regional News
Vertical Farming Technology to be Explored at Davis Site (Daily Democrat)
Unfold, a company formed by the Bayer AG investment arm Leaps by Bayer, and Temasek, the global investment company headquartered in Singapore, will be based in Davis and will focus on innovation in vegetable varieties with the goal of lifting the vertical farming space to the next level of quality, efficiency and sustainability...... Read More
Silicon Valley VC Confidence Rebounded a Bit in Q2 from Record Low (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
The Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index for the second quarter logged a 3 on a 5-point scale, slightly recovering from the record low of 2.33 in the first quarter..... Read More
Folsom Fintech Company Buys Simi Valley Insurance Payments Vendor (Sacramento Business Journal)
One Inc., a Folsom-based company that provides payment technology for the insurance industry, acquired Simi Valley-based Invenger Technologies Inc. and its' InsurPay claims payment product.... Read More
Roseville Telemedicine Company VeeMed Sees Swift Expansion During Pandemic (Sacramento Business Journal)
VeeMed Inc., a Roseville-based provider of telemedicine services for inpatient hospital settings, has seen a spike in its business during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past two months, VeeMed Inc. signed two contracts with large health systems, including Georgia-based WellStar Health and Arizona-based Banner Health.... Read More
Funding Opportunities
Y Combinator Winter Cohort
Application Deadline: September 23, 2020.... Learn More
Food-X 2021 Accelerator Program
Applications open through Fall 2020.... Learn More
Big Ideas Contest
Pre-Proposal Application Deadline: November 20, 2020.... Learn More
Deep Life 2020 Drug Discover and Delivery Challenge
Currently accepting applications.... Learn More
IndieBio Accelerator
Currently accepting applications.... Learn More
Open SBIR/STTR Grant Topics.... Learn More
Educational Opportunities
UC Davis Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship UC Entrepreneurship Academy (Virtual)
Dates: October 5-9, 2020.... Learn More
Regional Events
Carlsen Center Entrepreneurship Speaker Series - Ask Me Anything: Kwame Anku (Virtual)
Date: September 21, 2020.... Learn More
Startup Investment & Community Capital Expo (Virtual)
Date: September 28-30, 2020.... Learn More
Sacramento Urban Technology Lab Showcase 2020 (Virtual)
Dates: October 15, 22, and 29, 2020.... Learn More
Greater Sacramento Economic Council Annual Celebration (Virtual)
Date: December 3, 2020.... Learn More
AgStart Office Hours
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Small Business Development Center Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Silicon Valley USPTO Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Bay Area NSF Innovation Corps Immersive Short Courses
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
1 Million Cups
Date: Weekly (Wednesdays).... Learn More
Industry Events
Xconomy Xcelerate Keynote Series (Virtual)
Date: September 21, 2020.... Learn More
BIO IMPACT Digital Ag & Environmental Conference
Date: September 21-22, 2020.... Learn More
Forbes Small Business Summit (Virtual)
Date: September 25, 2020.... Learn More
SynBioBeta: Global Synthetic Biology Conference (Virtual)
Date: September 29-October 1, 2020.... Learn More
BIO Investor Forum Digital
Date: October 13-15, 2020.... Learn More
TechConnect Virtual Business Summit & Showcase, Defense Innovation Summit, and SBIR/STTR Innovation Conference (Virtual)
Date: November 17-19, 2020.... Learn More
Forbes Women’s Summit West (Los Angeles, CA)
Date: November 18-19, 2020.... Learn More
Forbes Healthcare Summit (Virtual)
Date: December 2-3, 2020.... Learn More
JLABS Virtual Educational Events
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Innovation Insights
Venture Capitalists and COVID-19 (SSRN)
Researchers surveyed over 1,000 venture capitalists at over 900 firms to understand how the pandemic has affected their decisions and investments. According to the findings, VC investment pace is down to 71% of normal. The findings further indicate that 52% of VC portfolio companies are positively affected or unaffected by the pandemic, 38% are negatively affected, and 10% are severely negatively affected. Many VCs have also dedicated more time to provide guidance and support to portfolio companies.... Read More
Announcing the YC Startup Library (Y Combinator)
Y Combinator announced the launch of the YC Startup Library, a central location with advice and content for the public. The new library offers entrepreneurs knowledge such as strategies on pitching, fundraising, and navigating the coronavirus pandemic.... Read More
Agtech Sector Blooms As More Dollars and Startups Rush In (Crunchbase)
Investments and startup activity in the agtech space have increased significantly over the past five years. According to Crunchbase, VCs invested $4 billion in agtech startups in both 2018 and 2019. With $2.6 billion invested so far, 2020 is on track to repeat or even exceed the activity of the previous two years.... Read More
EPA, USDA Launch Next-Generation Fertilizer Challenge (Feedstuffs)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture partnered to create the Next Gen Fertilizer Challenges. The competition, launched to further agricultural sustainability efforts and adopt new technologies in the U.S., consists of two challenges that aim to increase the development and use of fertilizer technologies to maintain or improve crop yields while reducing the environmental footprint of fertilizers.... Read More
Collaboration Between Start-Ups and Federal Agencies: A Surprising Solution for Energy Innovation (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation) 
Collaborations between climate-tech startups and government partners help startups overcome obstacles and yield more favorable results. With these collaborations, outcomes related to patenting and follow-on financing are often greater than collaborations with private firms or universities. Despite their promise, climate-tech startups face a VC environment that still perceives this sector as risky and unattractive from an investment standpoint.... Read More 
About Venture Catalyst 
UC Davis Venture Catalyst supports the development of new ventures fueled by university research and technology. Venture Catalyst offers several innovative programs that bridge the gap between early-stage research and commercialization and provide entrepreneurs the resources, support, and connections needed to successfully form and grow technology-based startups. With a focus on accelerating technology-led economic development in the Davis-Sacramento region, Venture Catalyst also works closely with partners in the regional innovation and economic development ecosystems. 
Contact Venture Catalyst 
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