UC Davis Awards Grants to Advance Innovative Solutions with Commercial Potential
Seven scientists at UC Davis have been selected to receive grants to advance research and innovations with commercial potential. Now in its seventh year, the Science Translation and Innovative Research, or STAIR, grant program provides awards of up to $50,000 to campus innovators to enable demonstration of early proof-of-concept for technologies being developed at the university. A second program, Data, Informatics and Application Launch (DIAL), provides awards of up to $20,000 for innovations specifically geared toward data, information science or software. The programs are funded and managed by Venture Catalyst in the UC Davis Office of Research. Several campus and industry partners also joined this cycle to increase the funding, including BASF, Elanco Animal Health, the UC Davis School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine and College of Biological Sciences. This year's awardees are:

STAIR Grant Recipients

  • Xinbin Chen, Professor, Surgical & Radiological Sciences, Veterinary Medicine
Novel Therapeutic Strategy to Enhance p53 Expression for the Treatment of Hematological Cancers

  • Jorge Dubcovsky, Distinguished Professor, Department of Plant Sciences
Commercialization of Triticale with Enhanced Baking Performance

  • Annaliese Franz, Professor, Department of Chemistry
Developing an Algae Ruminant Feed Additive to Reduce Methane Emissions

  • Yoshihiro Izumiya, Professor, Department of Dermatology
Development of Novel Cancer Drug from Viral Protein Sequence

  • Joseph Tuscano, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
An Optimized, Humanized Antibody to Promote Natural Killer Cell Activity in Cancer Immunotherapy

DIAL Grant Recipients

  • Hao Cheng, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences
Novel Diagnostic Platform to Detect Canine Heart Disease on Thoracic Radiograph

  • Heather Marie Siefkes, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Automated Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening with Non‐Invasive Oxygenation and Perfusion
Heffernan Insurance Brokers is the Newest Partner in the Venture Catalyst VentureNet TM Program
Venture Catalyst will be collaborating with Heffernan Insurance Brokers through its VentureNet program to offer participants in the Smart Toolkit for Accelerated Research Translation (START TM ) program access to business insurance and advisory services. Heffernan provides comprehensive business insurance to a wide range of startups and small businesses from liability to clinical trials coverage. START participants can take advantage of niche practice area expertise, discounted services fees, and premium credits where available. To learn more about Heffernan Insurance Brokers, click here .
UC Davis Venture Catalyst Knowledge Exchange Webinar
Can You Keep a Secret? Protecting Your IP Rights
  • Dr. Erica PascalFounder, IngensityTM IP

Intellectual property can be one of the most valuable assets for an early-stage company and it is critical that entrepreneurs understand how to avoid unintentional disclosures and maintain appropriate secrecy. This talk, led by Dr. Erica Pascal, an experience IP strategist, will cover strategies for presenting your company, its business plans and technology while protecting your intellectual property rights. Topics covered will include non-disclosure and materials transfer agreements, innovation disclosure record keeping, and provisional patent application filing. The talk also will address how pitches, grant applications, product offerings and internet postings can impact your intellectual property portfolio.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 10:30 – 11:45 am
UC Davis Venture Catalyst Virtual SBIR/STTR Grant Workshop
Instructors :
  • Ryan Sharp, Senior Associate Director, UC Davis Venture Catalyst
  • Zane Starkewolfe, Director, Corporate Development, WuXi Biologics

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs, collectively known as “America’s Seed Fund”, provide nearly $3 billion in funding each year to support the development and commercialization of innovative technologies. During this virtual workshop, the instructors will provide an overview of the SBIR/STTR program and discuss all aspects of how to strategically approach obtaining funding and developing a competitive, well-written grant application. Topics will include aligning business and technology development needs with available SBIR/STTR opportunities, requirements for program participation, the general application process, commercialization considerations, proposal development, budgets, and award management.

When :
Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 10:00 am - Noon
Medical Innovations Win Big in 20th Annual UC Davis Business Competition
UC Davis biochemistry and molecular medicine doctoral students Shabnam Jafari and Diedra Shorty along with Teri Slack, an MBA student at the Graduate School of Management, who earned her organic chemistry doctorate from UC Davis in 2017, captured both the $20,000 first prize and the $10,000 Health Sector Award in the 20th annual Big Bang! Business Competition, a program originated by the UC Davis Mike and Renee Child Institute or Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The team’s venture, StarBio, developed a new diagnostic method that quickly and accurately identifies ischemic stroke patients.... Read More
Vice Chancellor for Research, Graduate Student Develop COVID-19 Contact-Tracing Tool
Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor for research and distinguished professor of computer science at UC Davis, and Vikram Rao, graduate student in the Department of Computer Science, developed a web-based contact-tracing application. The app, We-Care, allows users to check in at specific locations and notifies them if someone reporting themselves as positive for COVID-19 checks in at the same location within a certain time window.... Rea d More
New Double-Contrast Technique Picks Up Small Tumors on MRI
A new technique developed by Yuanpei Li, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Center, and his team , uses magnetic resonance imaging to detect small early-stage tumors. The UC Davis team created a probe that generates two magnetic resonance signals that suppress each other until they reach the target, at which point they both increase contrast between the tumor and surrounding tissue. Combined with specially developed imaging analysis software, the double signal enabled researchers to pick out brain tumors in a mouse model with greatly increased sensitivity... . Read More
Data Science Researchers Receive Over $1 Million in Grants
The UC Davis Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research (CeDAR), an Office of Research Impact Center, was awarded over $1 million dollars in grants to 18 campus researchers studying innovative data science. Two of the research projects focus on the coronavirus pandemic: Democratizing Health Research Through Privacy-Protecting Synthetic Data, led by Thomas Strohmer, director for CeDAR and a professor in the Department of Mathematics, and Using Data Science to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic, led by Francisco Arsuaga, a professor in the departments of Mathematics and Cellular and Molecular Biology... . Read More
UC Davis Receives $6.7M for 5-year Renewal of its NIH Mutant Mouse Resource & Research Center
To further support the efforts of resource sharing and eliminating variability in mouse model research, the National Institutes for Health (NIH) has renewed funding for its Mutant Mouse Resource and Research Centers (MMRRC) biorepository program. The MMRRC was created in 1997, and UC Davis has played a pivotal role over the past two decades in the exponential growth of mouse model holdings in the repository. The new grant will provide a total of $6.7 million over five years to the MMRRC at UC Davis.... Read More
UC’s CITRIS Launches COVID-19 Response with 25 Awards for Innovative Technologies
The first 25 teams awarded seed funding for technology projects designed to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis were announced by CITRIS and the Banatao Institute. Projects were funded at an average of $50,000 each with the award criteria including cost, scalability, and impact. The ten of the awarded projects from UC Davis spanned nearly all of the award categories including clinical care/therapeutics, contact tracing, data analytics, PPE/equipment, and testing. .... Read More
CTSC is a Quiet Hero of UC Davis COVID-19 Research
The Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) plays a crucial role in COVID-19 research at UC Davis while also serving as protector of ongoing clinical trials during the pandemic. Among many of its efforts, one of the CTSC’s crucial moves was to quickly organize a clinical trial review committee led by Nicholas Kenyon, associate CTSC director and chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, to coordinate UC Davis COVID-19 clinical trials so they would not overlap and so patients and health care teams would not get overwhelmed.... Read More
Stay Informed of Latest COVID-19 Research and Information from UC Davis
Startup News
AgTech Firms Receive Grants to Achieve Commercialization Milestones (Woodland Daily Democrat)
Pheronym and FloraPulse, both Davis-based pre-commercial agtech firms, each received $25,000 from the AgStart Entrepreneur Support Grant Program to help them continue commercialization work affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.... Read More
Sapience Therapeutics Announces FDA Acceptance of IND Application for ST101 in Advanced Cancer Indications and Receives United Kingdom Authorization to Initiate a Phase 1/2 Trial of Lead Candidate
Sapience Therapeutics announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for ST101, a peptide therapy being evaluated for the treatment of adults with unresectable and metastatic solid tumors.... Read More
The company also announced that United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has accepted the Clinical Trial Authorization (CTA) application for ST101.... Read More
Arcadia Biosciences Announces Plans to Acquire Oregon-Based Industrial Seed Innovations
Arcadia Biosciences announced it has entered into a binding term sheet with Industrial Seed Innovations (ISI), an Oregon-based industrial hemp breeding and seed company, to acquire its commercial and genetic assets, including its seed varieties, germplasm library and intellectual property.... Read More
News from the DRIVE Network
Pheronym Wins $225,000 NSF Grant for Commercializing Nematode Pheromones for Eco-Friendly Pest Control in Agriculture
Pheronym, a bio-ag-tech pest control company and tenant at the UC Davis - HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center incubator, received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant for its nematode pheromone focused pest control solution. The $225,000 award will help the company bring its patented approach to the market by developing advanced fermentation methods to manufacture its nematode dispersal and infectivity pheromones, which are used to enhance control of agricultural pests.... 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
Regional Innovation News
Startup of the Month: OpenGrants (Comstock’s Magazine)
OpenGrants, a free platform that uses machine learning to sift through, list and match users with grant writers and opportunities, was featured in Comstock’s Magazine’s May Startup of the Month column... . Read More
West Sacramento Ag-Tech Company Says It's Developed Faster Method of COVID-19 Testing (Sacramento Business Journal)
Biome Makers, a West Sacramento-based agtech company, developed a method for running 1,500 simultaneous COVID-19 test samples by using Illumina MiSeq sequencing platform..... Read More
Nivagen Pharmaceuticals Closes $16 Million Growth Equity Financing from Telegraph Hill Partners
The Sacramento-based Nivagen Pharmaceuticals announced the closing of a $16 million equity financing round led by Telegraph Hill Partners. Nivagen intends to use the money raised for internal development and acquisition of additional generic and branded drugs to expand its product portfolio.. .. Read More
Funding Opportunities
UCSF Rosenman ADAPT Health Technology Program
Application Deadline: July 6, 2020.... Learn More
CITRIS Core Seed Funding
Application Deadline: September 10, 2020.... Learn More
IndieBio Accelerator
Application Deadline: Currently accepting.... Learn More
Valley Ventures Accelerator
Application Deadline: Ongoing.... Learn More
Open SBIR/STTR Grant Topics. ... Learn More
Educational Opportunities
Startup Legal Garage @UC Hastings Law School
Application Deadline: July 17, 2020.... Learn More
UC Davis Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship National Veterinary Entrepreneurship Academy
Dates: September 14-17, 2020.... Learn More
UC Davis Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship UC Entrepreneurship Academy
Dates: October 6-8, 2020.... Learn More
Regional Events
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
Xcelerating Life Sciences (Virtual Event)
Date: June 25, 2020.... Learn More
American Biomanufacturing Summit (Virtual Event)
Date: July 21-23, 2020.... Learn More
BIO Impact: Discover the Future of Ag & Environmental Biotech (Raleigh, NC )
Date: September 21-24, 2020.... Learn More
SynBioBeta: Global Synthetic Biology Conference ( Oakland, CA)
Date: September 29-October 1, 2020.... Learn More
BIO Investor Forum ( San Francisco, CA)
Date: October 13-14, 2020.... Learn More
TechConnect Business Summit & Showcase, Defense Innovation Summit, and SBIR/STTR Innovation Conference ( National Harbor, MD)
Date: November 16-19, 2020.... Learn More
JLABS Virtual Educational Events
Date: Ongoing.... Learn More
Innovation Insight
U.S. SEC Eases Crowdfunding Rules for Firms Due to Coronavirus Disruption (Reuters)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it would temporarily ease restrictions for smaller firms seeking to raise capital through online crowdfunding platforms. Firms must demonstrate the "urgent market need" due to the coronavirus-related disruption in order to qualify.... Read More
2020 COVID Investor Survey (Kauffman Fellows)
The Kauffman Fellows 2020 COVID Investor Survey captured responses from 90 venture capital partners at prominent firms. Three-quarters of respondents expect to slow down capital deployment while many of the respondents anticipate providing enhanced support to portfolio companies around strategy, financial planning, and communications. The majority of respondent are not planning on shifting sector focus, but identified consumer-focused sectors as those that will face the greatest challenges in raising capital. .... Read More
Emerging Tech Research: Foodtech (PitchBook)
The Foodtech Emerging Research Report published by PitchBook provides an overview of the emerging foodtech ecosystem. The prolonged economic challenges are likely to shift the investor focus into more positive cash flow ventures adversely affecting agriculture startups and extending development cycles. ... Read More
USDA SECURE Rule Paves Way for Agricultural Innovation
The newly announced Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, Responsible, Efficient (SECURE) will update agency's plant biotechnology regulations and help farmers to access technology that will advance agricultural productivity, sustainability, and improve the nutritional value of crops.... 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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