Summer Innovation
Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom
Dear Innovation Community,

We have had a strong start in 2024, very much continuing our momentum from 2023. We are creating cross-functional working committees that span our “verticals” in areas where we are developing a more holistic office strategy around translational funding with value creation and identifying emerging fields and opportunities.

Along those lines, Innovation Ventures has conceived and rolled out dedicated training workshops, from how to create a startup, to promoting our innovation and innovators externally to the investor audience at premier life science and healthcare events... as you will see from the below news items.
I am encouraged to see we are now accomplishing this at scale and hope this newsletter captures that endeavor.

Peter Kotsonis, PhD

Creating a Vibrant
Innovation Community
Dedicated Events, Workshops, & Panels

UCSF Innovation Reception
at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2024
On January 9 UCSF hosted an innovation showcase that featured selected technologies, startups, and NewCos, developed at UCSF, and deployed to the frontlines of healthcare and life sciences.

Set in the downtown San Francisco atrium of 350 California St, and thanks to the generosity of SKS Partners, a crowd of investors gathered to taste a sampler of the University's biggest innovative breakthroughs.
In an elegant setting, serenaded by a talented string quartet made up of UCSF medical students, and regaled with gourmet food and drinks, the program featured Chancellor Sam Hawgood, moderator Aenor Sawyer, and UCSF Frontline Innovators including Adam Gazzaley (Neuroscape/Nexus), Marina Sirota (AI in Alzheimer’s and Preterm Birth), O'Rese Knight (Salvista), and Sharmila Majumdar (AI in imaging). All rising healthcare stars in their respective fields of study.

This was an incredible opportunity to showcase the range and depth of the University’s scientific work and the translation of novel ideas into impact. We look forward to JPM 2025.

Thanks to all who participated.

UC Innovation Day:
Presenting to the Legislation
The University of California showcased the higher education system's best innovations to inspire Sacramento policymakers and broaden their support for research, innovation, and entrepreneurial endeavors. UCSF Innovation Ventures organized the showcasing of 2 of our University's top innovation talents, Sonja Schrepfer, MD, PhD, the inventor of now publicly traded Sana Biotechnology (standing here with UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS), and Jesse Courtier, MD, the Chief of Pediatric Radiology at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and the inventor of Sira Medical.

Thank you all for your representation.
Capital for the Cure
Investor Panel Evaluates UCSF Therapeutic,
dHealth, and Medical Device Opportunities
On May 17th, the UCSF Innovation Ventures' Engagement and Opportunity Development Team organized and hosted an Investor Panel for Therapeutic & dHealth/Medical Device Opportunities at UCSF, moderated by Dasha Bubman and Lorraine Johnson; with an introduction by Todd Pazdera. UCSF PIs presented and received VC feedback on 11 startup opportunities, which will help refine their pitches before broader VC outreach. UCSF Innovators, VCs, OTMA’s XiRs and EiRs, BD Managers, and Interns engaged in productive discussions and made connections during the networking lunch following the panel.

Thank you so much to our Therapeutic VC panelists from Google Ventures, Foresite Capital, a16z, OrbiMed, and TCG Labs for participating and for your valuable feedback!

And...thank you so much to our dHealth/device VC panelists from True Wealth Ventures, 1984 Ventures, Relentless Pursuit, First Spark Ventures, Life Science Angels for
participating and your valuable feedback!

By working with actual investors we gain a better understanding of how the market works and what is deemed valuable in the healthcare space.

Bringing the University of California
Together to Fight ALS 
Reinvigorating Innovation in ALS
UCSF Innovations Ventures’ Office of Strategic Alliances hosted the inaugural University of California (UC) system-wide amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) workshop, “Reinvigorating Innovation in ALS”, which took place from May 16-17, 2024, at the University of California Livermore Collaboration Center (UCLCC) located in Livermore, CA. 

The workshop brought together members from all 5 UC medical campuses (UCD, UCI, UCLA, UCSD, and UCSF), industry leaders (Precision Neuroscience, IBM, and Denali Therapeutics), PALS and CALS (people with ALS and caregivers for people with ALS), funding ecosystem managers from ALS Network, ARPA-H, CIRM, NIH NINDS, and Target ALS, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory colleagues to address ALS challenges and collaborate across disciplines to accelerate ALS research and development. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Kimberly Budil and Interim Vice President, UC National Laboratories June Yu provided the welcome address.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Stephen Hauser, UCSF Professor of Neurology and Director of UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. The 1.5-day workshop was filled with informative presentations, engaging panel conversations, insightful poster and lighting talks, and graphic recording by Rio Holaday.

The breakout sessions fostered dynamic discussions among all workshop attendees which resulted in several action items and potential collaboration opportunities.
Catalyst for Rare Disease Symposium
7,000 RARE DISEASES have an impact on 350 million people worldwide. This means that 1 in 11 Americans will have a rare disease in their lifetimes. Three-fourths of all patients with a rare disease are children, many of whom are affected for their whole lives. Out of these suffering patients, half will not receive an accurate diagnosis, and one in four patients will have to wait years for a diagnosis. The average delay in diagnosis is one-and-a-half years, during which time patients may either be misdiagnosed, incorrectly treated, or encounter unnecessary anguish. 

In recognition of all those affected by a rare disease worldwide, the UCSF Catalyst Program and Foundation Ipsen hosted its third UCSF Rare Disease Symposium on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, titled "Catalyzing Innovation and Bridging Gaps in Rare Diseases." Please click the link below to watch the full symposium:
UC Entrepreneurship at BIO-Europe
Stephanie Marrus, MBA MA, Managing Director of Entrepreneurship, participated on the opening plenary panel on March 18 at BioEurope Spring 2024, a partnering conference that attracted over 3700 attendees from Europe, the US, and Asia. She joined panelists from J&J Innovation and Sofinnova on the panel, "Company Creation in the Current Biotech Market". 

She judged in the Startup Spotlight Pitch Competition with a European VC and Pharma executive, choosing Los Angeles based immunotherapy company MabSwitch as the winner.

Fireside Chat with CEO, Founder,
and Author Stephanie Wisner
The UCSF Catalyst Program, together with LaunchPad, hosted a Fireside Chat with Stephanie Wisner, CEO & Co-Founder of biotech startup Centivax and author of the new book “Building Backwards to Biotech: The Power of Entrepreneurship to Drive Cutting Edge Science to Market.”
In 2022, Stephanie was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Healthcare, and her company, Centivax, demonstrates the benefits of building backward. The Centivax team built the company around a goal to make vaccines more effective against viral mutations, including those for influenza and COVID-19, and has raised $10 million in a Series A funding round for its universal vaccine technology.
Launch a NewCo
How to Start a Startup, with David Hanzel, PhD
Serial Entrepreneur and Investor
Preview of the Global Life Sciences/Healthcare Entrepreneurship Virtual Master Class Direct from Silicon Valley.

Interested in starting a company or learning about startups? Want to know how to succeed as an entrepreneur? How to Start a Startup was an engaging talk by David Hanzel, PhD, serial entrepreneur, and investor, who did surprise us with his insights. But this was just a taste of our Global Entrepreneurship Course.

To learn more about what it takes to start a startup, we offer the 10-week, part-time course for professionals, that teaches the key ingredients for startup success by top Silicon Valley practitioners: serial entrepreneurs, investors, pharmaceutical executives, attorneys, and domain experts. It is uniquely focused on the special business requirements of life sciences/healthcare startups. 

The course covers the essential topics of a business plan. Find out more:
The Teams
Catalyst Program
Weill Institute to Co-Fund Neuroscience-focused Catalyst Awards
UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences has partnered with the Innovation Ventures Catalyst Program to co-fund the 2024 neuroscience-focused Catalyst Awards projects. Eight neuroscience projects were selected for the 2024 award by the Catalyst Advisor selection committee with additional input from Weill Institute leadership. Awarded projects receive mentorship and advice from the Catalyst Industry Advisor network and seed funding. The Catalyst Program is very grateful to the Weill Institute for co-funding the neuroscience projects and the efforts of Stephen Hauser and Jon Van Leeuwen, who were instrumental in catalyzing this partnership. Recent Catalyst Awards have also been funded by the continued generous philanthropy of Mukesh Patel as well as the Living Therapeutics Initiative of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center thanks to the support of Alan Ashworth and Cammie Edwards. 

Applications Open for the
Catalyst Summer Internship
Applications for the Catalyst Internship are now open! Internship provides an opportunity to be part of an innovative project team to learn about early translational research and the process of translating academic discoveries into products for patient benefit. The primary focus for Catalyst Interns is to draft Target Product Profiles (TPPs) for the 2024 Catalyst Awardees. While creating the TPPs, interns will learn about important aspects of translating an idea into a product. One way in which interns learn about translation is through the Catalyst Summer Internship Workshop Series (register here). The approximate commitment is 30-40 total hours over 10 weeks in Summer 2024 and the application deadline is Friday, May 31, 2024. 

Learn more and apply here:
Technology Management and Advancement
Sharing with UCSF Faculty
As part of the Office of Technology Management and Advancement’s outreach efforts to engage faculty, Heather Pittman, Assistant Director of Strategic Projects, and Sherri Gini, Licensing Contracts Officer, partnered with Mike Matthews, Assistant Director, from Industry Contracts Division to give a presentation outlining the Material Transfer Agreement process to the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry faculty.
The presentation explained why Material Transfer Agreements are needed, how those agreements are divided between the Office of Technology Management and Advancement and the Industry Contracts Division, provided relevant contact information, and described the DIY pathway. This resulted in productive conversation and feedback, and the Office of Technology Management and Advancement is excited about future opportunities to present around campus and continue faculty engagement.

Sharing UCSF Best Practices
in StartUp Creation For All UC
Innovation Ventures IP Managers Meeting at UC Riverside. Lindsay Sanford (OTMA Licensing Team) and Danielle Casey Callaghan (OTMA Business Affairs & Strategic Partnerships Team) Presented OTMA’s cutting-edge market-first approach, startup services, and commercialization workflow at the UC IP Managers’ Meeting at UC Riverside in late March 2024.

These programs are some of OTMA’s programs that support bringing UCSF innovations to market. Featured content will include information on commercialization workflow, opportunity prioritization, and development (including information on OTMA’s Key Opinion Leader (KOL) network and executive/entrepreneur-in-residence (XiR/EIR) programs, term sheet reviews, and tools for business development workflow management and tracking.

Business Development Analyst
Summer Internship Program
The Engagement & Opportunity Development team (EOD) at UCSF Innovation Ventures engages faculty and develops business opportunities for new ventures around select technologies. EOD takes a market-first approach by identifying a product or products and defining potential market opportunities up front. The EOD Business Development Internship Program offers students and postdocs the opportunity to gain exposure to market opportunity analysis, competitive landscape analysis, and building go-to-market strategies for start-ups. The internship program's goal is to provide an enriching educational opportunity for students.

Eligibility: Interns should be enrolled in or have completed a graduate-level program in life sciences, biomedical engineering or related fields, or business at UCSF. Interns will sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to the internship.

Time commitment: 8-10 hrs/week
Deadline: Applications should be complete by June 28, 2024.

Please send your resume and cover letter to:

Innovator Enrichment
IV Innovator Enrichment initiatives in full swing
In the past year, Innovation Ventures launched “Innovator Enrichment,” which is focused on supporting the development of UCSF Frontline Innovators. Current initiatives include the monthly UCSF Innovator Seminar Series, Innovator Consultations, and Innovation Ambassadors.

The next Innovator Seminar will be held July 23 from 5:30-7:30 and features Ralph Gonzales, MD, MSPH, speaking on “Inside Out Innovation: How purpose-driven engagement can yield positive results in practice.”
Save The Date: Cardiology Innovation Showcase
Our IV Ambassador in Cardiology, Olivia Roberson, PhD, is helping organize the UCSF Cardiology Innovation Showcase.

This showcase will be located at the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) at UCSF Mission Bay Campus on Oct 1, 2024, from 4-7 PM.

Save the date and we'll see you there!
 If you are interested in “Innovator Enrichment” initiatives, please contact

A Conversation About Startups
UCSF Innovation Ventures' Managing Director of Entrepreneurship, Stephanie Marrus, sat down for a frank discussion on what it takes to convert a scientific or medical idea into a business.

"My role is to ensure entrepreneurs understand what’s needed to build a company and maximize their opportunity to succeed. The commercial world is a mystery to people who spend their lives in a lab or hospital – I can demystify it."

Stephanie Marrus,
Managing Director, Entrepreneurship
UCSF Innovation Ventures
UCSF StartUps in the News
Siolta Therapeutics Raises $12 Million in Series C Financing for Clinical Development

Always more to come!