Venture Catalyst Biotech Innovation Gallery (BIG) Showcase: Ten Exciting Biopharma Startups Pitch to Investors in San Francisco at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference
Aiming Yu, Founder & President of AimRNA and Johnathon Anderson, Co-Founder & CEO of Somos Therapeutics
Jay Ruskey of Frinj Coffee, Dushyant Pathak, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research at UC Davis, and John Wulf, UC Davis alumnus and Founder of New Frontier Life Sciences Consulting
Gino Cortopassi, CEO of Buto Corporation
The UC Davis Venture Catalyst Biotech Innovation Gallery (BIG) startup showcase, held in San Francisco’s Weinstein Gallery on January 9, marked the culmination of the BIG Accelerator program, which provided targeted business plan development, mentoring, and a range of resources, to 21 UC Davis-associated biotech startups. Startups that participated are being supported by Venture Catalyst through its Smart Toolkit for Accelerated Research Translation (START TM) program. Through the BIG Accelerator, approximately 85 hours of mentoring and training were provided to participating startups over a 3-month period with dedicated engagement around IP and regulatory strategy as well as coaching on business models, market fit and investment pitches.

The showcase event was held in held in San Francisco at the Weinstein Gallery at Union Square during the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference and offered a platform for UC Davis innovators and entrepreneurs to showcase their emerging biotech companies and connect with industry experts, potential strategic partners, and investors. During the day, at the Venture Catalyst BIG Open House, also held at the Weinstein Gallery, BIG Accelerator participants took part in more than 65 one-on-one meetings with investors and potential strategic partners using dedicated meeting space in the venue and, in the evening, the startups had the opportunity to network with over 180 invited guests who attended the pitch event and reception. In addition, ten of the startups participating in the BIG Accelerator program were selected by the Venture Catalyst team and industry mentors to provide elevator pitches and were provided with a dedicated interaction space to have focused discussions with potential investors and partners.
  • AimRNA
  • Buto Corporation
  • Cognivive
  • Digestiva
  • Eicosis
  • Pandomedx
  • Somos Therapeutics
  • Tesio Pharmaceuticals
  • Verndari
  • ViVita Technologies
Venture Catalyst also worked with partners to integrate videos, descriptions, and contact information for the 10 showcase startups on the Envent platform to enable follow-up and broader investor engagement. To access the UC Davis section of the Envent platform, please visit the following site and use access code ucdvc.

The BIG Accelerator program and showcase event were enabled by funding from the UC Innovation & Entrepreneurship Expansion Bill with additional support from Squire Patton Boggs and FrinJ Coffee.

For more photos from the BIG event, click here
UC Davis Venture Catalyst Knowledge Exchange:
Building Successful University Startups
  • David Horsley - Chirp Microsystems / Professor, UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • Mark Modera - Aeroseal / Sempra Energy Chair in Energy Efficiency; Professor, UC Davis Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director, Western Cooling Efficiency Center; and Interim Director, Energy and Efficiency Institute

This panel discussion, featuring two successful UC Davis innovators and entrepreneurs, will provide insights from their experiences in building startup companies enabled by technologies developed at the university. The panelists will discuss what they learned from their journeys with Chirp Mircosystems and Aeroseal and provide advice for aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs. Chirp Microsystems, a startup commercializing high-performance ultrasonic sensors, was recently acquired by TDK Corporation and Aeroseal, a company focused on duct sealing technology, was acquired several years ago by Carrier (part of the UTC Climate, Controls & Security unit of United Technologies Corp.).

Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Join us for lunch @
UC Davis Office of Research
1850 Research Park Drive
Davis, CA 95618

For more information and to register, visit:
IndieBio Biotech Entrepreneur Panel
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM PST
Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility
451 Health Science Drive, Davis, CA
Come learn from the experiences of four UC Davis startups that have participated in the IndieBio accelerator program and engage with two of program’s leaders. The IndieBio life science accelerator is based at the heart of biotech, medical, and bio-engineering innovation in San Francisco, offering selected teams access to lab space, seed funding, dedicated mentorship, and potential investors and partners.
Rice Plants That Reproduce as Clones From Seed
Plant biologists at UC Davis have discovered a way to make crop plants replicate through seeds as clones. The discovery, long sought by plant breeders and geneticists, could make it easier to propagate high-yielding, disease-resistant or climate-tolerant crops and make them available to the world’s farmers. The ability to produce a clone, an exact replica, of a plant from its seeds would be a major breakthrough for world agriculture. Instead of purchasing expensive hybrid seeds each year, which is often beyond the means of farmers in developing countries, farmers could replant seeds from their own hybrid plants and derive the benefits of high yields year after year. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature.... Read More
Three Hundred Blind Mice Uncover Genetic Causes of Eye Disease
Hundreds of new genes linked to blindness and other vision disorders have been identified in a screen of mouse strains. Many of these genes are likely important in human eye vision and the results could help identify new causes of hereditary blindness in patients. The results are the latest to come from the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, of which UC Davis’ Mouse Biology Program is a founding member. The goal of the consortium is to identify a function for every gene in the mouse genome, by creating lines of “knockout” mice that lack a single specific gene and screening them for their effects. Consortium researchers have previously identified a set of genes essential to life, genes linked to deafness and even those linked to hereditary bad breath.... Read More
Almond Board Funds UC Davis Research on Cultivating Larvae as Animal Feed (Sacramento Business Journal)
The Almond Board of California, which has invested $80 million in research over the past 45 years, has recently committed to nearly $7 million in research investments for 2019; a portion of these funds will be directed to UC Davis, which is currently working on the cultivation of insects as a food source for livestock. More specifically, UC Davis is investigating the cultivation of black solider fly larvae on the fibrous outer hulls of almonds. These hulls, rich in sugar, are often sold as animal feed; by using the hulls as feedstock to farm insect larvae, UC Davis hopes to utilize the larvae as a nutrient-rich food for poultry and aquaculture.... Read More
UC Davis Health Leads Effort to Digitize Microscope Slides for Developing Artificial Intelligence for Alzheimer's Disease, Other Brain Disorders
Thanks to a $265,000 Multi-campus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) grant from the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), Brittany Dugger, assistant professor in-residence at the UC Davis Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, will lead a team of researchers to organize and digitize representative microscope slides of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease from brain banks at UC Davis, UC Irvine and UCLA to generate reference materials of common pathologies found within the brains of subjects with dementia for educational, consultation and research purposes.... Read More
Startup News
Sage Therapeutics Announces SAGE-217 Meets Primary and Secondary Endpoints in Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Postpartum Depression
Sage Therapeutics reported top-line results from the Phase 3 ROBIN Study. This study evaluated the effect of SAGE-217 30 mg on depressive symptoms in women with postpartum depression (PPD). After two weeks of outpatient treatment, patients treated with SAGE-217 had a statistically significant improvement.... Read More
Bacteria for Piglets and Chinese Infants Spur Li Ka-shing’s Gut Instinct to Put his Money Behind this US Biomedical Firm (South China Morning Post)
Evolve BioSystems is in talks with Zhejiang University to conduct clinical trials on more than 4,000 pigs this year in the province to improve stock survival rates and cure gut diseases in piglets. The company is also seeking to reintroduce the Bifidobacterium longum bacteria to Chinese infants’ guts through a powder mixed with liquid. It is in talks with potential partners to develop sales in mainland China, and aims to introduce its product in Hong Kong at Queen Mary Hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit to establish credibility and pave the way for a mass market launch.... Read More
How Miniature Human Hearts Will Revolutionize Drug Testing (Forbes)
UC Davis spinoff company, Novoheart, developed the world’s first miniature beating human hearts using stem cells. The company is on a mission to transform the medical industry by offering a new standard for precision testing.... Read More
Chirp Microsystems and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Collaborate to Bring Inside-Out 6-DoF Controller Tracking to Mobile VR/AR Headsets
TDK Corporation announced it is working with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. through its group company, Chirp Microsystems, to make inside-out six degree-of-freedom (6-DoF) controller tracking available to mobile VR/AR head-mounted displays (HMDs) powered by Snapdragon Mobile XR Platforms. For Chirp, the announcement further validates company's ultrasonic tracking technology as the optimal solution for mobile VR/AR systems, offering high-precision, low latency tracking with low power consumption and near-zero computation cost.... Read More
TDK Showcases Solutions for Automotive, AR/VR, IoT, Mobile and Wearables at CES 2019
One of TDK's showcased solutions at CES was the Chirp ToF Sensor, the world’s first MEMS ultrasonic time-of-flight (ToF) sensor, which consumes only microwatts while performing ultrasonic echolocation. The new inside-out 6DoF Ultrasonic Controller Tracking Solution for All-in-One VR is a tiny “sonar on a silicon chip” enabling ultrawide field-of-view, inside-out controller tracking for mobile VR/AR at 1/1000 power of other solutions.... Read More
Arcadia Biosciences Announces End to Lawsuit Against Arista Cereal Technologies in New York
Arcadia Biosciences announced that its lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Arista Cereal Technologies, Pty. Ltd. has ended based on a jurisdictional decision by the court. The lawsuit sought to correct inventorship on key patents for Arista’s high-amylose wheat..... Read More
Startup of the Month: Japa (Comstock’s Magazine)
Japa, a UC Davis-associated smart parking technology startup was named the Startup of the Month by Comstock's Magazine. .... Read More
Startup Spirit: Entrepreneurial Alumni are Trying to Solve Real-World Problems Through Their Own Technologies
The entrepreneurial movement at UC Davis is supported by a variety of campus groups, programs, and accelerators. Last fiscal year, 16 startups acquired foundational intellectual property rights from UC Davis, an all-time high for the university. Still others developed their ideas through classes or graduate programs.... Read More
Startup Career Opportunities
Career Opportunities at Evolve Biosystems
Evolve Biosystems is currently hiring for several sales management positions across the US and Canada and two research & development positions, including Associate Director of Quality and a research associate in molecular/microbiology field.... Learn More
Career Opportunities at Chirp Microsystems
Chirp Microsystems is hiring for several positions at its Berkeley, CA location. Open positions include software applications engineer manager, MEMS validation engineer, algorithms engineer, and test engineer.... Learn More
Career Opportunities at Sage Therapeutics
Sage Therapeutics is hiring for several director-level positions including Associate Director of Clinical Pharmacology, Associate Director of Biostatistics, and Director of Patient Advocacy.... Learn more
Career Opportunities at Novoheart
Novoheart is hiring for several scientist roles including two senior-level scientists and two associate scientists.... Learn More
Regional Innovation News
Marrone Selling Biologic Protection to Other Manufacturers (Sacramento Business Journal)
Davis-based Marrone Bio Innovations Inc., widely known for its production of biological controls to manage pathogens, mold, and pests in agriculture as an alternative to chemicals, announced its intention to launch a business-to-business platform to sell its products to other companies. The new platform, called TerraConnect, will sell directly to seed companies and other integrated pest management companies. These companies will then use Marrone’s commodities to create custom products for sale via treatment of soil and/or seeds.... Read More

Fast-Growing Sacramento-Based Luxer One Acquired by Swedish Company (Sacramento Business Journal)
Swedish lock company Assa Abloy Group acquired Sacramento-based Luxer One, a maker of high-tech package-delivery lockers. Luxer One, with $37 million in annual revenues, was founded in 2014 in San Francisco and moved to Sacramento in 2016.... Read More
Innovation Insight
Why More Small Companies Avoid IPOs (San Francisco Chronicle)
The number of listed public companies peaked in the late 1990s; however, as of 2016, that number has plummeted 52 percent. Many of the small and midsize companies are opting out from going public and instead, choosing to stay private longer to raise venture capital and get acquired by larger companies. Staying private longer allows these companies to bypass the volatility and scrutiny that comes with the stock market. Furthermore, even if some small companies do go public, their time at the IPO stage may be limited, as oftentimes they do get acquired during the early IPO stage.... Read More
Startup Founders are Giving Up Less Control as Valuations Soar (Silicon Valley Business Journal)
A report from San Francisco-based equity management startup Carta Inc. shows that a rising number of startups are reducing the number of shares given to investors as valuations escalate. The median amount of equity given to investors in seed rounds has reduced from 26% in 2014 to 24% in 2018.... Read More
How to Handle Key Challenges as You Move From Startup to IPO (VentureBeat)
Each of the growth stages for a company comes with its own set of challenges. During the startup phase of the company, survival is the key. When the company moves into the small company phase (revenues between $5 and $20 million), teamwork becomes crucial. Continuing to the large-small company phase, allignment becomes key in both company's internal and external operations. Once the company moves onto the final, corporate/IPO phase, developing a model with predictable operations is a requirement for the company to succeed.... Read More
2019 Emerging Technology Outlook (Pitchbook)
Some of the trends outlined in Pitchbook's 2019 emerging technology outlook report include:
A shift from from pure-play shared-mobility applications toward bundled mobility-as-a-service (MaaS); continued partnerships and M&A activity in the autonomous vehicle space; and an increased number of large technology firms making moves into the financial sector by introducing large-scale financial products, major acquisitions, and partnerships.... Read More
Funding Opportunities
NSF Partnerships for Innovation
Application Deadline: January 17, 2019.... Learn More
Little Bang! Poster Competition
Application Deadline: January 21, 2019.... Learn More
NASA CO2 Conversion Challenge
Application Deadline: January 24, 2019.... Learn More
Big Bang! Business Competition and Little Bang! Poster Competition
Application Deadline: February 21, 2019.... Learn More
CITRIS Core Seed Funding Opportunities
(Areas of interested include health, people & robots, and sustainable infrastructures)
Application Deadline: January 31, 2019.... Learn More
WSGR MedTech Innovator Competition
Application Deadline: February 1, 2019.... Learn More
Johnson & Johnson Nurses Innovate QuickFire Challenge
Application Deadline: February 1, 2019.... Learn More
VentureWell E-Team Grants
Application Deadline: February 6, 2019.... Learn More
Rice Business Plan Competition
Application Deadline: February 10, 2019.... Learn More
VentureWell Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams Challenge
Application Deadline: May 31, 2019.... Learn More
UC Santa Cruz SVLink Accelerator
Application Deadline: Applications Accepted on the 15th of Each Month Until Full.... Learn More
IndieBio Accelerator
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
Open SBIR/STTR Grant Topics. ... Learn More
Educational Opportunities
UC Davis Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Big Bang! Business Competition Workshops.... Learn More
California Life Sciences Institute FAST Advisory Program
Application Deadline: January 25, 2019.... Learn More
VentureWell ASPIRE Medtech Cohort
Application Deadline: January 31, 2019.... Learn More
2019 AbbVie Golden Ticket
Application Deadline: February 1, 2019.... Learn More
California Climate & Agriculture Summit
Date: March 4-5, 2018.... Learn More
Regional Events
Greater Sacramento Economic Council Conversations with the Community - Building a New Economy in the Greater Sacramento Region: A Center for Future Mobility
Date: January 23, 2019.... Learn More
Davis Chamber of Commerce Installation Gala
Date: February 2, 2019.... Learn More
Bizwomen Mentoring Monday
Date: February 25, 2019.... Learn More
Greater Sacramento Economic Council Competitiveness Forum
Date: March 28, 2019.... Learn More
Regional Educational Events – AgStart Founder Education Workshops
Use Discount Code GO AGGIES for 80% off
January 23, 2019: Early Stage Financing for Tech-Led Businesses
February 20, 2019: Perfecting Your Pitch
March 20, 2019: Pitch Practice.... Learn More
Hacker Lab Hands-On Education
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Small Business Development Center Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Silicon Valley USPTO Workshops
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
1 Million Cups
Date: Weekly (Wednesdays).... Learn More
Industry Events
MD&M West Medtech Conference (Anaheim, CA)
Date: February 5-7, 2019.... Learn More
Festival of Biologics (San Diego, CA)
Date: March 3-5, 2019.... Learn More
World AgriTech Summit (Monterrey, CA)
Date: March 19-20, 2019.... Learn More
Startup Grind Global Conference (Redwood CIty, CA)
Students: use code " UC-Davis " for a discounted rate of $75/ticket
Date: February 12-13, 2019.... Learn More
Festival of Biologics
Date: March 3-5, 2019.... Learn More
VentureWell OPEN Conference (San Francisco, CA)
Date: March 28-30, 2019.... Learn More
BIO International Convention (Philadelphia, PA)
Date: June 3-6, 2019.... Learn More
Nanotech Conference & Expo
Date: June 17-19, 2019.... Learn More
Seed Central
Date: Every Second Thursday.... Learn More
About Venture Catalyst 
UC Davis Venture Catalyst facilitates the translation of University research and technology by enabling the development of new ventures. Venture Catalyst engages with the Davis and Sacramento business, governmental and economic development community to highlight the development of technologies and ventures coming out of UC Davis that will drive tomorrow’s regional job creation. Working closely with these partners, Venture Catalyst is invigorating the technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystem of the entire region. 
The Venture Catalyst START™ Suite of programs and services provides the ABCs to equip UC Davis entrepreneurs with the tools they need to form and grow robust startups. The program gives founders the START they need to create a well-structured company and ensure the company is prepared for success. 
Contact Venture Catalyst 
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