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New startups built on UC Davis innovations drive solutions in food, health and agriculture

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During fiscal year 2021-22, 13 startups implemented agreements to access foundational intellectual property and commercialize new technologies developed at the University of California, Davis.

“The bold pursuit of new solutions through research at UC Davis often leads to new technologies and services that align with the business path of impact,” said Prasanth Mohapatra, vice president for research at UC Davis. “In most cases, these innovations are licensed to established companies, but many of them also become the basis for emerging startups. We are pleased to see the continued success of this path at UC Davis.”

The process of linking innovations from the university with commercial impact is managed by Innovation and technology commercialization department, which is part of the Office of Research. During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Section processed 132 new invention records and implemented 48 license agreements.

division Venture Catalyst The unit focuses on developing potential technologies by funding proof of concept and facilitating startup formation.

The University of California campus system ranks first in the world in the number of US utility patents according to the latest Report From National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

“Venture Catalyst, launched in 2013, provides resources to help on-campus innovators advance technologies and launch new businesses,” said Janine Elliott, interim director of Venture Catalyst. “It is exciting to see the results of these efforts and the wide range of solutions being offered.”

Meeting needs in the areas of food, health and agriculture

In the past 10 years, Venture Catalyst has helped 130 startups with their founding IP. The 13 startups emerging over the past year are focused on developing technology to meet needs in the food, health, and agricultural sectors.

One of the startupsAnd the Unicera Development of new therapies to treat and treat advanced drug-resistant prostate cancer. Co-founded Allen ZhaoMD, a professor in the Department of Urology, the company’s proprietary, oral bioavailable small molecules that target both AKR1C3 and androgen receptor variants either act alone or in combination with existing therapies to overcome and prevent treatment resistance.

another company, Enhanced foods Driven by innovations in the food technology and farmed meat sectors. Using a novel approach to fungi technology, the team produces nutritious, sustainable foods, starting with cultured caviar. Minami Ogawa, a graduate student in the Department of Food Science, has discovered how innovation can be harnessed as the ideal proprietary scaffold for cell culture. parallel, Ruihong Chang, a professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and her lab were developing the foundational elements of a food application platform. The company’s platform focuses on making the dream of growing meat a reality, improving human, animal and planetary health.

peak b is to market natural alternatives to synthetic food coloring with superior color quality, stability and efficacy. The UC Davis-led startup has discovered the color cyan, solving one of the biggest challenges in the food industry’s search for the source of natural food colorings. Researchers examined anthocyanins, a water-soluble pigment found in many familiar fruits and vegetables, giving them vibrant colors of red, purple, pink, and blue. Specific anthocyanins were discovered in red cabbage that exhibited the desired blue properties. Since the amount of anthocyanins is small in red cabbage, they used an enzyme-based process to turn the other anthocyanins blue. Co-founded Justin Siegel Associate Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, the company’s patented enzyme-based process now converts extracts from natural sources into blue-green colorants that can be used in a variety of food applications.

Additional companies that entered into agreements to access foundational intellectual property from UC Davis during fiscal year 2021-22 are described below. Three companies chose to remain in “stealth mode” for competitive and unlisted reasons.

AIVision Aims to Reduce the use of toxic chemicals and food loss through early detection of insects. company Co-founded Zongli Panwho is an assistant professor at Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

Artisyn . Laboratories It develops healthy, sustainable products for the commercial market. Participate in the establishment of the company Marc MascalHe is a professor in the Department of Chemistry.

Medical hope Focuses on developing a medical device that helps patients with swallowing difficulties. Participate in the establishment of the company Peter BelavskyHe is a professor in the Department of Otolaryngology.

two cups The development of precision agriculture using atmospheric data analytics. The company was co-founded by Alireza Buriza, assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.

mirnova treatments It is developing small molecules and microRNA drugs to treat traumatic brain injury and other neurological disorders. Co-founded by Da Zhi LiuAnd the Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology.

Prism Bio Pioneering use of biotechnology to produce colors based on natural protein pigments based on natural light-sensing pigment systems from plants and algae to deliver all colors in the visible spectrum. These natural, sustainable colors can be used in food, industrial, personal care and health applications. Their technology will have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Co-founders include John Clark LagariasAnd the Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the Faculty of Biological Sciences Justin SiegelAnd the aWe are an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry.

VGN Bio Inc. It develops unique cancer drug candidates from viral protein sequences that have evolved over millions of years of coevolution. Participate in the establishment of the company Yoshihiro Izumiya, Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology.