Venture Catalyst will be closed to the public December 21, 2020 through January 1, 2021. Please plan to reach out to us with any new requests by December 16, 2020 to allow appropriate time for engagement and action before the soft closure.
Happy Holidays from the Venture Catalyst Team
UC Davis Venture Catalyst is Recruiting for a Proof-of-Concept & Innovation Programs Manager
The Venture Catalyst FY 2019-2020 Year in Review infographic is now available.
New Compound Related to Psychedelic Ibogaine Could Treat Addiction, Depression
David Olson, assistant professor of chemistry at UC Davis, and his colleagues have developed a non-hallucinogenic version of the psychedelic drug ibogaine, with potential for treating addiction, depression and other psychiatric disorders. Olson’s laboratory at UC Davis is one of a few in the U.S. licensed to work with Schedule 1 substances. They created a synthetic molecule, which they named tabernanthalog or TBG, that retained the therapeutic properties of ibogaine without the undesired effects of the psychedelic compound. A paper describing the work was published on December 9 in Nature. Olson has started a company, Delix Therapeutics Inc., which has licensed TBG-related technology from UC Davis for further development. Delix has raised funding to advance commercialization of small molecule drug compounds for increasing neural plasticity.
New Compound Related to Psychedelic Ibogaine Could Treat Addiction, Depression
Developing Novel Treatments for Depression and Related Disorders
14 New Startups Emerge From UC Davis Innovations
State Stem Cell Agency Funds Clinical Trial for Spina Bifida treatment
California’s stem cell agency (CIRM) awarded a $9 million grant to Diana Farmer, professor and chief of surgery at UC Davis Health, and Aijun Wang, associate professor of surgery and biomedical engineering, and co-director of UC Davis’ surgical bioengineering laboratory, to help launch the world’s first human clinical trial using stem cells to treat spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don't form properly and can lead to severe neurological damage. The treatment will involve generating mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from placental tissue, which will be seeded onto an FDA-approved graft and applied to the spinal cord of an infant, while still in the womb. The related technology around a method for treating spina bifida is covered by a patent, which is being managed by UC Davis InnovationAccess.... Read More
Seed Central Innovators Showcase
Seed Central, in partnership with Venture Catalyst, the UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food & Health, and the Microbiome Special Research Program will host a virtual Innovators Showcase with pitch sessions, panel discussions, and online company visits scheduled for January 21-29, 2021. The showcase will feature startups and innovative companies in seed, ag, agbiotech, microbiome, and food & health and will also include a panel discussion on incubator and startup space in the Davis-Sacramento region, with particular focus on seed-to-fork.
UC Davis Joins Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute
UC Davis joined the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), led by the University of Texas at San Antonio. Established through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy, the $111 million public-private partnership is a consortium of 59 member institutions with a goal of driving American manufacturers and supply chains to further adopt secure, energy-efficient approaches, ultimately securing and sustaining the nation’s leadership in global manufacturing competitiveness.... Read More
UC Board of Regents Approves $1.1B Aggie Square Project (Sacramento Bee)
The University of California Board of Regents approved the UC Davis Aggie Square project, which will be located in Sacramento, next to the UC Davis Medical Center. This final approval allows the $1.1 billion project to move forward with construction anticipated to begin in 2021.... Read More
2020 CITRIS Core Seed Funding Awards Announced
The CITRIS Core Seed Funding program – focused on innovation in information technology – announced the awardees for the 2020 cycle. Out of the seven projects that each will receive the $60,000 award, five are associated with UC Davis, including:
  • Data-Driven Fall Prevention and Intervention for Older Adults
  • Therapeutic Touch: Reactive Smart Clothing for Anxiety
  • General Charger Feed Specification
  • Platforms and the Future of Work in Digitized Agriculture
  • The Impact of Shared Values and Power on Successful Mentoring for Under-Represented Minorities in STEM
A total of 68 competitive proposals were submitted from UC Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Merced, Davis, and Davis Health.... Read More
The Image of Health (Comstock’s Magazine)
EXPLORER, the world's first total-body positron emission tomography (PET) scanner that can capture a 3D picture of the whole human body at once, is up and running at UC Davis Health. The system, which was developed by UC Davis professors Simon Cherry, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Ramsey Badawi, chief of Nuclear Medicine at UC Davis Health and vice chair for research in the Department of Radiology, has so far scanned about 600 patients, of which 500 were clinical patients and the remaining 100 were research subjects participating in clinical trials. Currently, the EXPLORER is being used to conduct about a dozen clinical trials spanning a wide range of disease processes. In addition to being about 40 times more sensitive for the same radiation dose than traditional PET systems, the EXPLORER is also able to provide fast imaging capable of capturing images in as little as 100 milliseconds.... Read More
Governor Newsom Announces Immediate Assistance for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Including Temporary Tax Relief and $500 Million in Grants
Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California will provide temporary tax relief for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The temporary tax relief entails an automatic three-month income tax extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax, extends the availability of existing interest and penalty-free payment agreements to companies with up to $5 million in taxable sales, and provides expanded interest free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions.... Read More
Stay Informed of Latest COVID-19 Research and Information from UC Davis: COVID-19 Research Working Group
Startup News
Davis Biotech Startup Raises $4.8 Million for Carbohydrate Research (Sacramento Business Journal)
BCD Bioscience, a Davis-based startup creating the world’s first broad library of oligosaccharides with diverse natural structures, and linking these structures to their functions as prebiotics and immunomodulators, raised $4.8 million in equity investments.... Read More
Arcadia Biosciences Signs Hemp Distribution Agreement with Tritium 3H
Arcadia Biosciences announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with Tritium 3H, Inc. (T3H), a Canadian hemp seed company that specializes in hemp field testing, certified seed production and commercialization and distribution of industrial hemp varieties for the Canadian market.... Read More
The Regents of the University of California and Evolve BioSystems Win Court Order, Denying Abbott's Attempt to Dismiss Patent Infringement Suit
The Regents of the University of California and Evolve BioSystems announced that an Illinois federal judge has recently denied a motion by Abbott Laboratories to dismiss a patent infringement suit jointly filed by the University and Evolve regarding the usage of probiotics in combination with milk oligosaccharides in infants. UC Davis researchers who founded Evolve have been broadly recognized for their discoveries relating to B. infantis, a probiotic bacterium that allows infants to digest oligosaccharides (complex carbohydrates) found in milk.... Read More
Biogen and Sage Therapeutics Announce Global Collaboration to Develop and Commercialize Potential Breakthrough Therapies in Depression and Movement Disorders
Biogen and Sage Therapeutics announced that they have executed a global collaboration and license agreement to jointly develop and commercialize zuranolone (SAGE-217) for major depressive disorder (MDD), postpartum depression (PPD), and other psychiatric disorders, and SAGE-324 for essential tremor and other neurological disorders. Under the terms of the agreement, Sage will receive $1.525 billion in cash.... Read More
Sapience Therapeutics Completes $14 million Preferred Stock Financing
Sapience Therapeutics announced that it has raised $14 million in its convertible preferred stock financing. The net proceeds from the preferred stock financing will be used to complete the Phase 1 clinical study and for the initiation of Phase 2 clinical study of Sapience's lead drug candidate ST101. Sapience will also use the net proceeds to advance its β-catenin antagonist into IND-enabling studies, and further develop its pipeline of therapeutic peptides..... Read More
RePurpose Energy Wins First Place in the Social Venture Category of the Spark Venture Competition
Learn More about RePurpose Energy
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 Chirp Microsystems
Chirp Microsystems (part of TDK) is hiring for multiple engineering positions, along with several sales and logistics operator openings... 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
City Supports Local Business Incubator Inventopia
The City of Davis announced that it will grant a loan of up to $100,000 to the business incubator Inventopia to allow it to add specialized space needed by local entrepreneurs and startup companies.... Read More
Pheronym and USDA Enter into 5-Year CRADA
Pheronym, a tenant in the UC Davis - HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center, signed a 5-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS). This CRADA supports their existing National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR phase I grant awarded in mid-2020 and provides for greenhouse and field trials using the company’s patented method of pheromone production.... Read More
Regional News
Wind Harvest Gets Funding to Test Its Near-Ground Wind Technology (Sacramento Business Journal)
Wind Harvest International, a wind turbine technology company based in Sacramento, has surpassed its goal of raising $150,000 on the crowdfunding platform Wefunder, and has reached nearly $380,000. The company will use the funds to purchase and test a custom low-to-ground wind turbine.... Read More
Terzo Power Signs on Illinois Contract Manufacturer to Build its Hydraulic Hardware (Sacramento Business Journal)
The El Dorado Hills-based Terzo Power Systems partnered with the Chicago-based Quality Control Corp. to manufacture the hardware for its electrohydraulic pump systems. Terzo develops electric-based hydraulic systems..... Read More
DHS Grad Wins $25,000 in Entrepreneurship Competition (Davis Enterprise)
Davis High School graduate Jacob Weiss is creating the Sacramento Valley Food Hub, a platform that will help farmers increase profit, reduce food waste, enable consumers to buy local produce. The project was awarded $25,000 at the Friedman School’s Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship Competition, winning both first place and the audience prize for their pitch to launch the food hub.... Read More
Funding Opportunities
UC Hastings Startup Legal Garage
Applications Deadline: December 20, 2020.... Learn More
Equalize Pitch Competition 2021
Application Deadline: December 31, 2020.... Learn More
PLASMA Student Accelerator
Application Deadline: January 4, 2021.... Learn More
CITRIS Foundry Incubator
Application Deadline: January 8, 2021.... Learn More
MedTech Accelerator & Competition
Application Deadline: January 15, 2021.... Learn More
Rice Business Plan Competition
Application Deadline: February 2, 2020.... Learn More
Deep Life 2020 Drug Discovery and Delivery Challenge
Currently accepting applications.... Learn More
IndieBio Accelerator
Currently accepting applications.... Learn More
Open SBIR/STTR Grant Topics.... Learn More
Educational Opportunities
Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy
Application Deadline: December 20, 2020.... Learn More
Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Big Bang! Business Competition Events and Workshops
Dates: Ongoing.... Learn More
SBIR Road Tour Virtual Events
Dates: Ongoing.... Learn More
Regional Events
Startup Grind Sacramento: Raising Funds from Friends and Family
Date: January 12, 2021.... Learn More
AgStart Office Hours
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Sacramento State Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Events and Workshops
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
TechCrunch Sessions: Space (Virtual)
Date: December 16-17, 2020.... Learn More
Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation’s Innovations in Regulatory Science Summit (Virtual)
Date: January 10, 2021.... Learn More
BIO Partnering at JPM (Virtual)
Date: January 11-14, 2021.... Learn More
BIO CEO & Investor Digital Conference
Date: February 16-18, 2021.... Learn More
Startup Grind Global Conference (Virtual)
Date: February 22-25, 2021.... Learn More
Biocom Global Life Science Partnering Conference (Virtual)
Date: February 23-25, 2021.... Learn More
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit (Virtual)
Date: March 9-10, 2021.... Learn More
SXSW Conference (Virtual)
Date: March 16-20, 2021.... Learn More
JLABS Virtual Educational Events
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Innovation Insights
U.S. Venture Capital Investments Exceed 2019 Despite Pandemic Gloom (Reuters)
Venture capital investment through the beginning of December 2020 has already surpassed the total for all of 2019. At close to $140 billion of funding in this period, 2020 will be the third consecutive year where investment has topped $100 billion. Recent interest and activity have been focused on enabling enhanced digitalization of large sectors..... Read More
Agrifood Tech Investment Reports Record-Breaking Year for Industry (Foodbev Media)
Despite the challenges brought forward by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been another record-breaking year for agrifood tech. According to a report published by Agrifood Venture and Finestere Ventures, in collaboration with PitchBook, startups in this sector have raised $11.6 billion in funding through the end of the third quarter.... 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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