University of California holds Inaugural UC Pitch Day Event at Applied Innovation

Past Tides
December 13, 2018 By Jackie Connor

The event featured five UC medical campuses, including individual teams that presented on their latest research and technology.

UC Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration and Development (BRAID), a group of five UC medical campuses, and the UC Center for Accelerated Innovation (CAI), partnered with UCI Applied Innovation and held the first systemwide UC Pitch Day at the Cove @ UCI.

Investors, corporate executives, UC faculty researchers and staff watched 12 teams from UC Irvine (UCI), UC Los Angeles (UCLA), UC San Diego (UCSD), UC Davis (UCD) and UC San Francisco (UCSF) present on their emerging technologies from their respective research labs.

A large crowd of investors, UC faculty and staff listened to pitches from five different UC schools. Photo: Ben Li

“The purpose of what we are trying to do is make it easier for investors to meet faculty,” said Mike Palazzolo, director for CAI. “Also, this helps faculty learn how to create a pitch that helps potential investors understand what they’re pitching, see if there are unmet needs being met, recognize if there is a problem being solved and whether or not it is a good investment.”

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the event is part of Applied Innovation’s Born in California educational effort focusing on high-potential startup companies in California and provides a forum for venture capitalists to connect with each project.

Among the many presentations was one from UCI postdoc Samir Shreim, CEO of Cactus Medical, a startup company that has developed technology for rapid, noninvasive detection of ear infections. He talked about the company’s new otoscope, a medical device used to look into ears to diagnose a type of ear infection. The company discussed their commercialization strategy and competition and is currently seeking $750,000.

“We anticipate this will be fully functional and in the market by early March next year,” said Shreim, CEO of Cactus Medical.

Andrew Kahn, UCSD professor of computer science and engineering and chief medical officer for Veocor, a startup company that has developed the first personalized tool to assess the risk of blood clot formation and associated stroke.

The company has filed a full patent in the U.S. and has a pending patent in the E.U. They have recently signed with Medtronic for $250,000 and are seeking FDA 510(k) approval.

From UC Davis, Aijun Wang, associate professor of surgery and founder of startup Vasocoat Inc., discussed his team’s technology that improves surgical procedures for end-stage renal disease. The team’s technology prevents platelet binding, thrombosis and inflammation. It captures endothelial cells and supports these cells’ growth and healthy healing.

UCI postdoc Samir Shreim, CEO of startup company Cactus Medical, discusses the company’s future funding goals. Photo: Ben Li

“The technology overcomes the major barriers of vascular grafts and processes,” said Wang. “It provides optimal stability and specificity and functionality.”

Jeff Neitz, UCSF associate adjunct professor and CEO of startup Tessera Therapeutics, LLC, developed first-in-class small molecule inhibitors of protease Taspase 1 for lung and breast cancer treatment.

One of the last presentations for the day featured Ariana Anderson, UCLA assistant professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, who discussed her team’s startup, ChatterBaby. This is an application that compares a baby’s sounds to their database sounds to predict why the baby is crying and to identify if the infant is in pain, as well as the type of pain.

“Since the launch of our app in May, we have had half a million users and counting,” said Anderson. “Our goal with the database is to identify whether babies are at risk for autism spectrum disorder and pain assessment.”

Stay tuned for a second UC Pitch Day scheduled for April 2019.

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