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N E W S F R O M U C I B E A L L A P P L I E D I N N O VAT I O N A N D T H E C O V E

SET 2, WAVE 1 / JANUARY 2020 / innovation.uci.edu/news

S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

The Sky’s the Limit at the Cove UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s new three-story location is built for success. 10

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DEEP DIVE

Bill Waldo Wants to Make the World a Better Place – One Business at a Time

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S TA RT U P

NOWA Innovations Breathes New Life into Respiratory Disease Management

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FAC U LT Y F E AT U R E

Greg Weiss Lets Never-ending Curiosity Drive his Research and Commercial Goals


“IF YOU’RE OFFERED A SEAT ON A ROCKET SHIP, DON’T ASK WHAT SEAT! JUST GET ON.” – Sheryl Sandberg


TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S

2 2 Events Past Tides • Orange County Business Journal’s Innovator of the Year Awards • The UK Comes to the Cove • UCI Beall Applied Innovation Hosts Siemens and HP ...and more

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Deep Dive Bill Waldo Wants to Make the World a Better Place – One Business at a Time

6 Startup NOWA Innovations Breathes New Life into Respiratory Disease Management 10 Special Feature The Sky’s the Limit at the Cove

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14 Faculty Spotlight Greg Weiss 18 Listicle 5 Places to Kick Off Your Startup Journey in Southern California, Part I

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19 Cove Tenants In the Ecosystem 19 Q&A Employee Feature Michelle Hong 20 UCI Stories Across Campus • Paul Merage School of Business • Donald Bren School of Info. and Computer Sciences • Henry Samueli School of Engineering • School of Social Ecology • School of Medicine 21 Tips Questions About Disclosing a Record of Invention? RTG has Answers

Rising Tide Editorial Editor-in-Chief Jackie Connor Senior Writer / Copy Editor Ethan Perez

Writers Design Director Ronnie Hanecak, Ph.D. Julie Kennedy Grace Wood Designers Jesus Reyes Selina Tieu Vivian To

Photographers Rthura Cevallos Daniel Xu

Stay up to date with news about UCI’s innovations and commercially promising technologies. Find this issue of Rising Tide at innovation.uci.edu/news If you have story ideas, contact the editor-in-chief: connorj@uci.edu

JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE

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EVENTS

Past Tides E V E N T S AT T H E

PHOTO BY: MICHELLE MAR

C OV E @ U C I

Orange County Business Journal’s Innovator of the Year Awards / September 2019

The UK Comes to the Cove / October 2019 Karin Koch, University Lab Partners ecosystem director, talks about the new wet lab’s capabilities during an event hosting 12 life science companies from the U.K. University Lab Partners, a nonprofit program of the Beall Family Foundation, is a biomedical wet lab incubator that provides professional coworking space to innovators.

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PHOTO BY: RTHURA CEVALLOS

PHOTO BY: RTHURA CEVALLOS

Three leaders from UC Irvine startup companies, Neel Grover, CEO of Indi, Mark Bachman, chief technology officer of Xidas and UCI faculty, and Andrew Ninh, CEO of Docbot, receive Innovator of the Year awards from the Orange County Business Journal during the publication’s fifth annual Innovator of the Year Awards ceremony at Hotel Irvine.

Innovation Draws C-Suite and Senior Executives / October 2019 Michael Sikorsky, CEO of Robots & Pencils, talks about the importance of on-demand innovation and recognizing opportunities that can give businesses an advantage over others during an invite-only event hosted by 41 Orange for C-suite and senior executives at the Cove @ UCI.


EVENTS PHOTO BY: DANIEL XU

New Wayfinder Teams Go Back to School / October 2019

PHOTO BY: MICHELLE MAR

PHOTO BY: RTHURA CEVALLOS

Four UCI startup teams – UniSAFE, UnoKiwi, SyringePro and Hydroflow – are accepted into UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Wayfinder incubator. During the orientation, the teams learn about how the Wayfinder program helps UC-affiliated startup companies refine their business, pitching skills and more.

UCI Beall Applied Innovation Hosts Siemens and HP / October 2019

Startup Scrimmage Kickoff / September 2019

HP Inc. and Siemens Digital Industries Software present the result of their collaborative partnership: HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer with Siemens’ NX software at the Cove. The printer can 3D print parts faster, more cost-effectively, more sustainably and at higher volumes than previously possible.

Football season gets a networking twist at the Cove during the first Startup Scrimmage event of the year. The recurring event combines Monday Night Football displayed on the Cove’s massive Hiperwall™ screen with pitches from both Applied Innovation startups and community startups at halftime.

U P C O M I N G E V E N T AT T H E C O V E @ U C I

FEB 12

UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Grand Opening DATE:

Wednesday, February 12

OUR NEW LOCATION:

UCI Beall Applied Innovation @ the Cove 5270 California Ave Irvine, CA 92697

Join us for refreshments, tours and live entertainment in our new three-story, 100,000-plus-square-foot space! Free to the public.

JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE

The Cove @ UCI is host to more than 700 events per year in support of innovation, entrepreneurship, industry and the community. Take part! Check out and register for upcoming events: innovation.uci.edu/events 3


SBDC, where he has worked as an investor and consultant, respectively, for over a decade. Waldo’s role at TCA allows him to invest in promising startups and use what he observes from pitches to help his SBDC clients. For example, Waldo knows that investors look for product marketability and success in startups so he advises his clients to have customers before they seek investors.

DEEP DIVE

Bill Waldo WANTS TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE – ONE BUSINESS AT A TIME A S A S E N I O R C O N S U L T A N T, W A L D O USES HIS YEARS OF EXPERTISE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP TO HELP THE

TEXT BY: GRACE WOOD / PHOTOS BY: RTHURA CEVALLOS

N E X T G R E AT S TA R T U P S F I N D S U C C E S S .

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At the SBDC, Waldo is the first point of contact for entrepreneurs. He evaluates the needs of incoming clients and pairs them with one of the SBDC’s six other consultants, or himself, often co-consulting alongside his colleagues. Regardless of their focus, if life science startups need to raise capital, Waldo helps them find the right source for investment. Through his personal experience as an entrepreneur, investor and consultant, Waldo understands startups and gives them advice that aids their economic and personal needs. And, as an added bonus, there is no cost to the client. “Bill Waldo is the embodiment of the letter and spirit of the SBDC,” said Julie Cranston, director of SBDC @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation. “He is dedicated to his clients and always goes the extra mile to help them get their businesses across the finish line. He is an extremely experienced and successful entrepreneur in his own right and selflessly shares his expertise with the hundreds of clients he has consulted with since we opened our doors.” Applied Innovation provides Waldo with the opportunity to work closely with Wayfinder* teams like Kolkin and METAseismic. Waldo also appreciates Applied Innovation’s ample event space at the Cove*, which the SBDC uses for Lunch & Learns and other startupfocused events*.

Parents, teachers and leaders seem to share a universal piece of advice: treat others the way you want to be treated. Bill Waldo, senior consultant at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) @ UCI Waldo’s greatest achievements are the successful Beall Applied Innovation and membership chairman companies that return with impressive investments of Tech Coast Angels Orange County (TCA), is not or other significant milestones. one to shy away from this wisdom. He recalls a client who he helped He sees his job as an opportunity grow from one person with grueling to help both new and experienced workdays in a tiny office, to a entrepreneurs reach the next step of 100-person company with $50 their business journeys. M Y G O A L , E V E R Y D A Y, million in revenue. Waldo started his own entrepreneurial I S T O H AV E O N E, I F N O T “It boils down to being able to have endeavor at the end of his college T WO, P O S I T I V E I M PA C T S a positive impact on a client. It’s a career. His business, a sales and O N A C L I E N T .” big deal,” said Waldo. “That’s what marketing company for the food – Bill Waldo I strive for every day. My goal, service industry, represented every day, is to have one, if not two, big names such as the Sara Lee positive impacts on a client.” Corporation, Nestlé and Tyson Foods, Inc. After 29 years as CEO, Waldo sold his company Contact Bill Waldo about business consulting; and went on to other projects – namely TCA and visit sbdctech.com/contact ///


DEEP DIVE

The SBDC @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation, funded in part through the Small Business Administration (SBA), provides no-cost confidential consulting in business development, funding and technology commercialization strategy. They are a resource for high-tech, high-growth, scalable ventures from within the UCI ecosystem and the Orange County/Inland Empire community. SBDC consultants are especially focused on fundraising, resources and relationships cultivated at UCI Beall Applied Innovation as well as the surrounding community.

Bill Waldo, senior consultant at the Small Business Development Center @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation, helps both new and experienced entrepreneurs achieve their goals by making a positive impact.

“The SBA’s partnership with UCI Beall Applied Innovation is strong, in part, thanks to the Small Business Development Center,” said Adalberto Quijada, Small Business Association director. “As a flagship SBA-powered entrepreneurial development program, the SBDC @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation is a tremendous asset at the Cove and serves as a fantastic funnel for clients to be introduced to its resources and our agency.” Since 2018, SBDC has partnered with Applied Innovation to provide startup companies and entrepreneurs with impactful resources. The group continues to service startups and entrepreneurs within UCI and the Orange County community at their new headquarters, within UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s new building.** **see “Special Feature” page 10

*Resources Mentioned in this Story Events @ the Cove innovation.uci.edu/events Event Space @ the Cove innovation.uci.edu/the-cove Wayfinder innovation.uci.edu/programs/ wayfinder-incubator

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S TA RT U P

NOWA Innovations Breathes New Life into Respiratory Disease Management THE UCI BEALL A P P L I E D I N N O VAT I O N S TA R T U P A I M S T O U S E TEXT BY: ETHAN PEREZ / PHOTOS BY: RTHURA CEVALLOS

UNIVERSITY RESEARCH TO HELP MILLIONS.

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – or COPD – are two of the most common chronic respiratory diseases, affecting people all over the world. According to the World Health Organization, hundreds of millions suffer from these diseases, with COPD-related deaths making up nearly five percent of global deaths each year. The problem with chronic respiratory diseases, according to UC Irvine (UCI) alumna and NOWA Innovations’ CEO Nasam Chokr, is the way they are managed.

THE BIGGEST CAUSE OF DEATH FOR ASTHMA AND COPD PATIENTS IS POOR MANAGEMENT.” – Nasam Chokr

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S TA RT U P

“The biggest cause of death for asthma and COPD patients is poor management,” said Chokr. “Research has shown that many patients have trouble remembering how to properly use their inhalers. That is further compounded when they miss doses and don’t keep track of their inhaler use, which then makes it harder for physicians to treat these diseases.”

COPD-related deaths make up nearly

5%

of global deaths each year

NOWA Innovations, a UCI startup that has been part of the Wayfinder* incubator at UCI Beall Applied Innovation since 2018, is taking university intellectual property (IP) and developing a device to help patients with chronic respiratory diseases. ENTREPRENEURIAL EXPOSURE Respiratory disease management wasn’t the team’s first joint project, however. For their senior design project, then-students Chokr and Michael Nguyen, NOWA Innovations' co-chief technology officer, worked to develop a laser septoplasty device to noninvasively correct a patient’s deviated septum for improved airflow through the nasal airway.

The project first brought them to the Cove @ UCI*, Applied Innovation’s headquarters, for events* and lab space*. There, they also learned how to take an idea and develop it into a product as well as how to create a business plan and go-to-market strategy. Unfortunately, the underlying IP for the laser septoplasty device was licensed to a different company, leaving the team empty-handed. But after spending so much time at the Cove and having been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, the team wanted another problem to tackle. That’s when Chokr, Nguyen and Patrick Chung – NOWA Innovations’ co-chief technology officer – continued where another senior design project left off and they began their next venture: respiratory disease management. Since then, they have gone through the I-Corps program*, received mentoring from Innovation Advisors* and made countless connections through the Cove. BREATHING LIFE INTO EXISTING RESEARCH The research behind the startup was conducted over decades in various labs and at the Pediatric Exercise and Genomics Research Center at UCI and was the focus of numerous grants, including from the National Institutes of Health. The biggest inspiration stems from the work of the late

UCI Beall Applied Innovation startup NOWA Innovations hopes to help patients with chronic respiratory diseases breathe easier.

JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE

UCI Professor of Chemistry and Nobel laureate Frank Sherwood Rowland – whose name adorns one of the university’s physical science buildings – and his team’s discovery in the 1970s that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were contributing to the depletion of the earth’s ozone. By the time the world decided to phase out CFCs, they had been used in all sorts of everyday items, including hairspray canisters and inhalers. While conducting a study on a compound that was to replace CFCs in inhalers, Rowland, along with longtime collaborator and UCI Professor of Chemistry Donald Blake and Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Dan Cooper, discovered that they could detect the new compounds in exhaled breath. This newfound ability to measure compounds in exhaled breath was a revelation, and has huge potential for respiratory disease management. RESPIRATORY REMEDY NOWA Innovations’ technology, Unaresp™, notices compounds in exhaled breaths to give pulmonologists and patients the data to help them better manage their diseases. This device detects inhaled medication concentrations in the body and trains patients to properly inhale those medications, which leads to improved treatment outcomes.

SEP·TO·PLAS·TY / noun surgical repair of the nasal septum (source: merriam-webster.com)

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“We’ve completed the second prototype and completely changed our technology to utilize something more promising, which will be more accurate and reduce the cost of the device,” said Chokr. The final Unaresp device will be handheld so patients can use it anywhere. Patients will exhale into the device and it will detect certain biomarkers and analyze molecules to provide instant feedback and valuable information that is not currently available to patients with chronic respiratory diseases. Information would include the quality of their exhalation, the likelihood of an inflamed airway and the effectiveness of prescribed medications. By quantifying medication intake and providing feedback on airway and breath quality, NOWA Innovations hopes to help reduce the adverse effects associated with poor respiratory health management and increase patient quality of life. “I-Corps has really changed the way I look at things,” said Chokr. “I was able to talk to the top pediatric pulmonologists in Orange County and in California. … They all said there needs to be education about asthma and COPD and for patients to really know how to take their medications because that’s one of the biggest issues they face.”

then reality tells you otherwise. But we can’t quit now. We have big dreams for NOWA Innovations.”

the country invited to present at the 2019 University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Showcase in front of members of Congress, federal agency officials and government relations officers in Washington, D.C. NOWA Innovations recently submitted a number of grant proposals to fund clinical studies, which would provide them the information needed to submit to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). From there, NOWA Innovations plans to request a Breakthrough Devices Designation with the FDA, which, if a few criteria are met, can fasttrack the device’s approval to get it out to the public faster where it can begin to help patients. “There are many obstacles along the way and things that slow the process down,” said Chokr. “You have this timeline in your head but

Learn more about NOWA Innovations at linkedin.com/ company/nowa-innovations ///

T H E R E A R E M A N Y O B S TA C L E S A L O N G T H E WAY A N D T H I N G S T H AT S L OW T H E P R O C E S S D O W N. Y O U H AV E T H I S TIMELINE IN YOUR HEAD BUT THEN REALITY TELLS YOU OTHERWISE. B U T W E C A N ’ T Q U I T N O W. W E H AV E B I G D R E A M S F O R N O W A I N N O V A T I O N S .”

– Nasam Chokr

Unaresp™ Device Prototype Patient exhales into mouthpiece

RESPIRATION ASPIRATIONS The startup continues to receive acclaim for their dedication to commercializing university-based IP for the public’s benefit. In April 2019, NOWA Innovations was one of just 20 startups from across

USB port allows data to be imported to a computer

Results are shown on the device’s display

*Resources Mentioned in this Story

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Cove @ UCI innovation.uci.edu/the-cove

I-Corps innovation.uci.edu/programs/i-corps

Lab Space innovation.uci.edu/the-cove/facilities-info

Events innovation.uci.edu/events

Innovation Advisors innovation.uci.edu/programs/innovation-advisors

Wayfinder innovation.uci.edu/programs/wayfinder-incubator


S TA RT U P The Unaresp™ device measures medication concentrations in a person’s exhaled breath, allowing pulmonologists and patients to better manage chronic respiratory diseases, like asthma and COPD.

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S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

The Sky’s the Limit at the Cove U C I B E A L L A P P L I E D I N N O VAT I O N ’ S N E W T H R E E - S T O R Y L O C AT I O N I S

TEXT BY: ETHAN PEREZ / PHOTOS BY: JULIE KENNEDY & RTHURA CEVALLOS

B U I LT F O R S U C C E S S .

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The new home of UCI Beall Applied Innovation is a three-story, 100,000-plus-square-foot facility in UCI Research Park with specially designed spaces to accommodate all manner of innovators. Over twice the size of the previous location and no longer split between two buildings, the Cove @ UCI is even better equipped to be the preeminent gathering place for Orange County’s vibrant business and innovation communities.


S P E C I A L F E AT U R E

THE BEACH The Beach is a purpose-built event space that can accommodate over 300 guests and features 180 degrees of seamless display technology that can easily play content in any configuration. This inviting, ultramodern space is the new home for large events at the Cove, including seminars, meetings, conferences, panels, networking dinners and workshops.

THE BEACH

VENTURE COVE A

LONGBOARD LOUNGE

TIKI BAR

VENTURE COVE (A, B, C)

LONGBOARD LOUNGE & TIKI BAR

Venture Cove is a dedicated pitching, screening and presentation space that features a high-resolution, wall-size screen and seating for up to 200 guests, combined. The space was designed to accommodate all presentation, video conferencing, recording and livestreaming requirements and can be split into three separate rooms of varying sizes.

The Longboard Lounge is a relaxed space that can be used to entertain guests or serve as a space for poster sessions. In addition to the Longboard Lounge, the Tiki Bar – a fully designed entertainment space with a wet bar and indoor and outdoor seating – can also be utilized in conjunction with the Beach and Venture Cove as a break area, networking space and to serve guests.

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WAYFINDER COWORKING SPACE

WAYFINDER COWORKING SPACE

WAYFINDER COWORKING SPACE To accommodate the 40-plus Wayfinder teams that conduct startup-related activities at the Cove @ UCI, a large open coworking space – complete with desks and lounge seating – is situated on the second floor between the offices and workspaces of Applied Innovation staff and Cove tenants. Here, Wayfinder teams can code, network and meet with Innovation Advisors to further develop their startups. CONVERGENCE OPTICAL SCIENCES INITIATIVE (COSI) Helmed by Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy Chris Barty, the COSI lab aims to develop and commercialize biophotonics technologies for human health, research and medical devices. The 10,000-square-foot space features laser labs and office space for researchers and includes a state-of-the-art linear particle accelerator among other advanced technologies.

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MAKERSPACE

MAKERSPACE The makerspace at the Cove offers entrepreneurs the space and equipment to build prototypes. From 3D printers and laser cutters to soldering equipment and power tools, the makerspace has what it takes to bring an idea from concept to reality.

JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE


S P E C I A L F E AT U R E UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION STAFF

COVE TENANTS

COVE TENANTS

UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION STAFF Applied Innovation staff – now all under one roof – are better equipped to develop entrepreneurial programs, assist with grant proposals, license technologies, meet with faculty and startups, and foster the collaborative atmosphere of the Cove. UNIVERSITY LAB PARTNERS WET LAB The wet lab space by University Lab Partners, a nonprofit program of the Beall Family Foundation, provides economical wet lab and office space to local innovators. Rather than travel to San Diego or Los Angeles to access wet labs, startups in Southern California can more easily access this in-demand and much-needed resource within the heart of Orange County.

More space at the Cove also means more offices for Cove tenants and ecosystem partners. The on-site presence of tenants and ecosystem partners allows for chance encounters and interactions between entrepreneurs of all stages, which can lead to meaningful connections and partnerships. The scale of collaboration at the Cove has never been greater than it is now. ESPORTS The new UCI Esports facility builds upon the original location at the student center on campus and doubles down on the program’s success. The second facility, the program’s flagship location, features dedicated offices and conference rooms for staff, an open workspace, a classroom, practice rooms and soundproof spaces for gaming and content production.

JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE

Attend the grand opening of the Cove on February 12. /// Stay up to date on upcoming events, including our grand opening, by subscribing to our newsletter at innovation.uci.edu 13


“[ORGANIC CHEMISTRY] GIVES YOU A SET OF G O G G L E S T H AT YO U PUT ON AND YOU NEVER SEE THE UNIVERSE THE S A M E W A Y A G A I N . ” .”

– Greg Weiss, Ph.D.

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TEXT BY: JACKIE CONNOR / PHOTOS BY: DANIEL XU AND RTHURA CEVALLOS

FA C U LT Y S P O T L I G H T

FA C U LT Y S P O T L I G H T

Greg Weiss LETS NEVER-ENDING CURIOSITY DRIVE HIS RESEARCH AND COMMERCIAL GOALS

T H E M U LT I - FA C E T E D P R O F E S S O R U S E S H I S PA S S I O N FOR ORGANIC CHEMISTRY TO CHANGE CANCER TESTING T U R N A R O U N D T I M E S F O R C L I N I C I A N S A N D T H E I R PAT I E N T S .

Organic chemistry focuses on the study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions and synthesis of organic compounds that contain carbon. Any structure, object, material and more can be analyzed using organic chemistry and Greg Weiss loves it. Weiss, UC Irvine (UCI) professor of chemistry, can light up a room when talking about organic chemistry. Despite his appointments in not only chemistry, but also molecular biology, biochemistry and pharmaceutical sciences, Weiss is an organic chemist at heart. “It gives you a set of goggles that you put on and you never see the universe the same way again,” said Weiss. “And it lets you answer questions about our world that are really fascinating, so it’s endlessly enjoyable.” While calling out the organic polymers in common office furniture at UCI Beall Applied Innovation, Weiss is forever investigating and determining molecular interactions of many impactful structures by breaking all things down to the

molecular level with an endlessly curious state of mind. “I want to know how molecules interact with each other, what causes them to do the things they do, and how to make things better,” said Weiss. “That process will never get boring to me, and will keep me running to work forever.” Once set on a track heading toward medical school, essentially following in his father’s footsteps, his path quickly shifted during his undergrad years at UC Berkeley, where he discovered his passion for organic chemistry. “I was trying to decide what to do with my life and I was pretty much set on going to medical school,” said Weiss. “My father was a physician and would just radiate with joy every time we walked into a hospital.” From a young age, Weiss grew up around hospitals. His father admired the hospital activity and made sure that benign hospital visits were a part of their lives, even during their family vacations. “I disliked the smell of hospitals and I also started to realize that I’m not

JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE

the person who likes sick people all that much,” said Weiss. “But fortunately, at Berkeley, I was taking an organic chemistry class and found my professor so inspiring that I couldn’t wait to learn more about this topic.” After his undergraduate work, Weiss fed his passion for organic chemistry and moved on to Harvard University to receive his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1997. Afterwards, Weiss pursued his post-doc studies at Genentech, a biotech company that follows groundbreaking science to develop medicine for people with life-threatening diseases. FROM UCI TO IRVINE: PHAGETECH In July of 2000, Weiss arrived at UCI and spent nearly 20 years teaching his passion to students and getting them excited over organic chemistry. During this time, it’s no surprise that Weiss has taken several research students under his wing and, with their help, cofounded several UCI-based startup companies. In 2013, he co-founded

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PhageTech, Inc., a startup company now based in Irvine that applies an innovative approach to detecting disease markers in body fluids, which include urine and blood. “I think working with Dr. Weiss was one of my best experiences,” said Jeffrey Briggs, research scientist at PhageTech. “It shaped my career goals and ambitions and really opened my eyes as to what you can do as a researcher. It also showed me what kind of research opportunities are available for undergrads at UCI.”

In the Weiss Lab, a multi-channel pipettor allocates solutions for an experiment aimed at determining the stickiness of a cancer biomarker for one of the phage displays binding partners.

A solution is transferred using a pipettor during a test.

Originally, Weiss’ passion with PhageTech was spurred by his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer. During the lengthy and wearing treatment process, Weiss realized the test’s turnaround times were costing his wife and him valuable time. “During that wait, you’re just stressed out of your gourd and very on edge just waiting and waiting,” said Weiss. “I really imagine a future where patients go in, the physician immediately collects some samples and then boom, the data’s right there, the physician knows exactly what to do next without waiting and going through central labs. That’s my dream.” This experience sparked a collaboration in the Weiss Lab at UCI between Weiss and Reg Penner, UCI chancellor’s professor of chemistry, where the two invented a new way of building polymers using phage display technology. In this technology, phage, which are harmless viruses that only infect bacteria, are evolved to grab onto disease-associated proteins, such as cancer biomarkers. PhageTech applies phage display to diagnostics for recurrent bladder cancer and potentially many other diseases. Specifically, the team incorporates the phage into a special type of plastic casing and electricity is sent through them. If the phage have grabbed onto something, it changes both the electrical properties, including resistance and the capacitance, of that material. “We can detect things in 60 seconds or less, which is incredibly fast for detectors,” said Weiss. “Think about a pregnancy test, right? That’s been incredibly optimized for decades

CA•PAC•I•TANCE / noun the measure of property that is equal to the ratio of the charge on either surface to the potential difference between the surfaces (source: merriam-webster.com) 16

and it’s still an excruciating wait for everyone who does one. It takes a while for the molecules to bounce their way down to the surface and we found a way around that, basically.” The result is a significant reduction in testing turnaround time for diseases like cancer. Instead of waiting weeks to hear from the doctor, a patient might know their test results within a few minutes based on a simple urine test. FROM UCI TO SAN DIEGO: DEBUT BIOTECHNOLOGY, INC. In 2019, Weiss and a UCI student researcher also co-founded Debut Biotechnology, a startup based on his lab’s technology that incorporates continuous flow manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, alcoholic beverages and cannabis. “Having Greg Weiss as a Ph.D. supervisor is a unique, oncein-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Joshua Britton, CEO of Debut Biotechnology, Inc. “To receive great mentorship while being given the freedom to chase an area in chemical biology in which you are passionate about is rare. The most impressive aspect of Greg is the ability to turn research into a profitable company. The amount of research commercialized by Greg is staggering and I’m proud to be a part of that.” The startup utilizes Weiss’ protein immobilization technology to immobilize proteins into continuous systems to improve the ways of creating pharmaceutical drugs. By utilizing easy-to-use enzyme cartridges, complex pharmaceuticals are created using only cells.


FA C U LT Y S P O T L I G H T Professor Greg Weiss explains the fine points of molecular structure to UCI undergraduate Khoi Nguyen. The Weiss Lab synthesizes organic compounds using the apparatus seen in the fume hood.

“Enzymes are like magic fingers in biology,” said Weiss. “They take chemicals in and they massage them and transform them into something else. Without enzymes, no organism would be alive.” This allows the creation of alcohol in minutes and the manufacture of cannabinoids without using the plant. This technology also allows proteins used in pharmaceutical synthesis to work quicker, with better stability and in more suitable ways. Debut’s market applications include protein therapeutics, alcoholic beverages, pharmaceuticals and cannabinoids. “When starting Debut Biotechnology, Greg never questioned the final goal and continues to provide support on a daily basis,” said Britton. “If you manage to be a part of the Weiss team, there is a good chance you will end up a CEO, and that’s fantastic.”

In addition to licensing* the technology to Debut Biotechnology, Weiss has utilized connections through UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s investor network. “Applied Innovation has been awesome,” said Weiss. “They brokered meetings with potential companies that are interested in the technology, introduced me to investors, and basically helped provide some oxygen to keep these things going. They really work hard on behalf of faculty.”

IF YOU MANAGE TO BE A

WEARING MULTIPLE HATS With PhageTech off and running at solid speed in the city of Irvine and Debut Biotechnology kicking up dust in San Diego, the busy professor also continues to pursue his research, and teach and inspire students while progressing both startups and, like his passion for organic chemistry, he loves it. “It’s real. I like to talk about technology in terms of its usefulness, but in the startup world, you find out whether that’s true or not, whether there really is a market for what you’re talking about or if the technology really does have a chance to impact society,” said Weiss. “I like that.” Find out the latest research in the Weiss Lab at gweisslab.net ///

PA RT O F T H E W E I S S T E A M, THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE YOU WILL END UP A CEO, A N D T H A T ’ S F A N T A S T I C .”

– Joshua Britton

*Resources Mentioned in this Story Licensing UCI IP innovation.uci.edu/about/research-translation/ JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE

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LISTICLE

5 Places to Kick Off Your Startup Journey in Southern California, Part I T H E R E A R E M A N Y WAY S T O G E T Y O U R C O M PA N Y O F F T O A

TEXT BY: GRACE WOOD

G O O D S T A R T A N D I N C U B A T O R S A N D A C C E L E R A T O R S C A N H E L P.

It is often intimidating for first-time entrepreneurs to navigate their startup journey without some guidance along the way. Startup incubators and accelerators alleviate this common struggle by providing startups with resources like workspaces, complimentary services from licensing officers and a network of mentors. Here are five Southern California incubator and accelerator programs* that help startups in various industries. WAYFINDER

EVONEXUS

The Wayfinder incubator at UCI Beall Applied Innovation welcomes applications from UC-affiliated startups, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as those commercializing UC intellectual property. The incubator includes a coworking space, lab space, office hours with lawyers and licensing officers, the Innovation Advisor mentorship program and access to workshops that address business models, gaining capital and more. Wayfinder accepts teams on a quarterly basis.

EvoNexus, a nonprofit incubator, specializes in technology and life science startups, and more recently fintech. The incubator fosters long-term sustainability, which allows startups to build teams, develop their product, attract venture capital and create strategic partnerships. Their two-year residency program includes office space, dry lab space, access to experienced mentors and the opportunity to pitch to an audience of 400 people during the EvoNexus Demo Day at the Qualcomm headquarters in San Diego. EvoNexus accepts startups that have at least two full-time employees and enough money in their accounts to cover six months of business expenses.

Location: Irvine innovation.uci.edu/programs/wayfinder-incubator PRECCELERATOR

Locations: Irvine and San Diego

The Preccelerator Program is an accelerator program for early-stage startups in the technology or digital media spaces. The program provides teams with coworking space, investment strategy counseling, mentors, workshops, Preccelerator Demo Day and targeted investor introductions. Preccelerator also invests $25,000 into their startup teams and provides up to $25,000 in non-billable legal advice and services. It accepts five promising startups per six-month term.

evonexus.org

Location: Santa Monica preccelerator.com

MakeInLA focuses on startups and entrepreneurs that specialize in hardware technologies. The incubator provides teams with a shared workspace, shared equipment and tools, a metal and wood shop, a fabrication laboratory and wet lab space. Additionally, teams have access to mentors as well as $75,000 to $1 million in investment from MiLA Capital, a venture capital firm based in Los Angeles that funds all stages of startup development.

BACKSTAGE

Location: Los Angeles

The Backstage Incubator is a three-month program designed to support minority-led startup companies. These startups have access to mentorships and financial advice from experienced entrepreneurs, in addition to investment capital and resource networks so they may achieve their next major milestone. Backstage also provides $100,000 to each company in exchange for five percent equity.

makeinla.com

Location: Los Angeles backstagecapital.com/accelerator 18

MAKEINLA

*These incubators and accelerators are listed in no particular order. Some of the incubators listed also have locations outside of Southern California. Applied Innovation offers many other resources and services for entrepreneurs and startup companies. Learn more at innovation.uci.edu/programs /// JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE


In the Ecosystem

&

U C I B E A L L A P P L I E D I N N O VAT I O N E M P L O Y E E F E AT U R E

Michelle Hong

RESIDENTS OF THE

A P P L I E D I N N O VAT I O N L E A R N E D

C O V E @ U C I AT A G L A N C E .

ABOUT MICHELLE HONG’S LOVE OF C I N E M AT O G R A P H Y A N D T H E B E S T W AY

AG Tools AiViva Biopharma Auctus Global Capital Base 11 Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus Cellular Nanomed Cove Fund DH Diagnostics Docbot Elyda Pharmaceuticals Executive Next Practices Gate 5 Energy Partners INBRACE JeniVision Kolkin Laser Associated Sciences Learning Ovations Mark IV Capital METAseismic Monet Networks Novoheart NXT Biomedical Polgenix Pier 70 Ventures Project LEAFpack RebeccaTech RTConfidence SBDC @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation Season Two Ventures Management Sustain SoCal Syntr Tech Coast Angels University Lab Partners

TEXT BY: GRACE WOOD / PHOTO BY: RTHURA CEVALLOS

COVE TENANTS

T O C E L E B R AT E N E W Y E A R ’ S E V E .

Michelle Hong, events manager at UCI Beall Applied Innovation, infuses creativity into her personal and professional life. Hong has exercised her aesthetic eye through the Cove @ UCI’s countless events. When she isn’t organizing events for hundreds of people, Hong explores other outlets – such as cooking traditional dishes, pondering cinematography and making the next viral music video. Learn more about her below.

Q What’s your favorite holiday? In the Korean culture New Year is a big deal. There’s this traditional soup called tteokguk. The rice cakes in the soup symbolize living another healthy year so you pretty much eat it all day promoting long life. It’s just a fun tradition because you make it at home with your family starting in the early morning. And then there’s the homemade dumplings!

Q If you could be anyone in the world for one day, who would you choose? Why?

Ava DuVernay. I really admire all the films she’s created, like “When They See Us” and “Selma.” Just to get behind that creative mindset and to follow her day talking to others in that industry and creating something that speaks volumes to its audience … I think that would be really fun.

Q What is the best gift you have ever received? Someone gifted me tickets to see “Hamilton” the musical and it was such a memorable night. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a musical genius and to see his art brought to life on stage was amazing. I think I listened to the soundtrack on repeat for a month straight after that performance.

Q What was your childhood dream job? Would you still like to try it? I had this project in middle school where we had to make our version of a music video. I used Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Woman” and the video was filled with clip art matching the lyrics with different digital fade transitions. I thought, how awesome would it be to produce this professionally! Just giving you the description of that probably answers the second part of that question.

Q What are you most excited about for the new building? To be a part of the process in building out the new events floor plan. Knowing what we know now really gives us the opportunity to maximize the space in a capacity that wasn’t possible in the past. I’m really excited to see all the new possibilities of what the enhanced technology can do. ///

For more information on community partners, visit: innovation.uci.edu/the-cove/ecosystem

Applied Innovation hosts many events for entrepreneurs. Learn more at innovation.uci.edu/events 19

L I S T I C L E • C O V E T E NA N T S • Q & A E M P L O Y E E F E AT U R E

C O V E T E NA N T S


UCI STORIES

Across Campus S O M E O F T H E L AT E S T S T O R I E S FROM THE UCI CAMPUS

PAUL MERAGE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS Merage students tested BotRide, a free robotaxi service developed by Hyundai, Pony.ai and Via. The cars shuttled students to school and other popular locations and students offered feedback via survey.

DONALD BREN SCHOOL OF INFORMATION AND COMPUTER SCIENCES Distinguished Professor of Computer Science Gene Tsudik received a $270,000 grant from the Semiconductor Research Corp. for research on low-end embedded “internet of things” and cyber-physical system devices’ security.

HENRY SAMUELI SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING Samueli School Professor Arash Kheradvar’s team is developing artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms for a software platform that efficiently analyzes cardiac MRIs to identify children with congenital heart disease.

engineering.uci.edu

merage.uci.edu ics.uci.edu

20

SCHOOL OF SOCIAL ECOLOGY

SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Whereas many studies on veterans focus on post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, this UCI study looked at the trends in veterans’ grief related to a comrade’s death.

UCI researchers reveal how an ancient flavoprotein’s response to ultraviolet, blue and red light informs internal circadian processes about the time of day.

socialecology.uci.edu

som.uci.edu

JANUARY 2020 / UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION / RISING TIDE


TIPS

Questions About Disclosing a Record of Invention? RTG has Answers A L S O K N O W N A S ‘ I N V E N T I O N D I S C L O S U R E S,’ T H E S E Q U E S T I O N S ( A N D A N S W E R S ) A R E F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D O F U C I B E A L L A P P L I E D

TEXT BY: RONNIE HANECAK

I N N O V AT I O N ’ S R E S E A R C H T R A N S L AT I O N G R O U P.

The Research Translation Group (RTG) at UCI Beall Applied Innovation receives more than 130 invention disclosures every year that can range from a variety of research, departments and disciplines. An invention disclosure, also known as a record of invention (ROI), is a confidential document written by the inventor that details how the technology is built and how it works to solve a particular problem. RTG also manages patent protection for UCI’s most promising innovations and leverages intellectual property (IP) to enhance research collaborations with industry partners. Below are some frequently asked questions that UCI faculty, postdocs or graduate students have asked when submitting an ROI: WHAT IS CONSIDERED A “PUBLIC DISCLOSURE?”

WHO PAYS FOR THE PATENTS FILED?

Examples of public disclosures include a published paper, like a journal article (online or in print, including conference abstracts) or a presentation or poster at a conference or meeting. If a researcher and/or faculty member publicly discloses the invention, RTG’s ability to obtain patent coverage will be compromised. Filing a patent prior to a public disclosure is the best approach to preserve global rights. RTG encourages proactive engagement with our office prior to publishing in order to coordinate IP protection with public disclosure. WHO IS CONSIDERED AN INVENTOR?

Securing patent rights is expensive and complex. If RTG selects an invention for patenting, UCI will pay a qualified patent attorney with appropriate expertise to apply for a patent on RTG’s behalf. An issued U.S. patent can cost as much as $20,000 - $40,000 or more to prosecute. Once a startup or established company licenses the invention, RTG will seek reimbursement of these costs from the licensee.

WILL I RECEIVE A SHARE OF INCOME FROM THE LICENSING OF MY INVENTION?

Inventors are those individuals that made an intellectual contribution to the conception. Unlike co-authorship on publications, deciding who is an inventor on a patent is a legal determination and not a subjective choice made among participants. Incorrectly specifying inventors can make a patent unenforceable.

Royalties and fees received by UCI from licenses are shared with the inventors. It is UC policy that 35 percent of net revenue is distributed to all named inventors.

If you think you have an invention or questions about submitting an ROI, contact a licensing officer at Applied Innovation. To learn more visit: innovation.uci.edu/about/research-translation ///

Senior Director: Life Sciences Ronnie Hanecak, Ph.D. rhanecak@uci.edu Associate Director: Physical Sciences & Engineering Alvin Viray, J.D. aviray@uci.edu Assistant Director: Life Sciences Casie Kelly, Ph.D. casie.kelly@uci.edu Senior Licensing Officer: Physical Sciences & Engineering Doug Crawford, MBA doug.crawford@uci.edu Senior Licensing Officer: Physical Sciences & Engineering Richard Tun, J.D., Ph.D. tunr@uci.edu Senior Licensing Officer: Life Sciences Steve Huyn, Ph.D. shuyn@uci.edu Senior Licensing Officer: Physical Sciences & Engineering Benjamin Chu, Ph.D. ben.chu@uci.edu Licensing Officer: Life Sciences Maria Tkachuk, Ph.D. mtkachuk@uci.edu Licensing Officer: Physical Sciences & Engineering Michael Harpen, J.D. mharpen@uci.edu Industry Sponsored Research Industry Contract Officer: Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences & Beckman Laser Institute Chris Abernethy christopher.abernethy@uci.edu Industry Research & Material Transfer Officer: All UCI Departments Kelly Carlson kelly.carlson@uci.edu Industry Contract Officer: Medicine & Pharmaceutical Sciences Angie Karchmer, J.D. angie.karchmer@uci.edu Industry Contract Officer: Engineering & Information and Computer Sciences Natalie Tedford natalie.tedford@uci.edu Industry Contract Officer: Medicine James Wang jamesw9@uci.edu

Ronnie Hanecak has over 30 years of experience working in drug discovery within biotechnology startups and in the management of university inventions in addition to more than a decade of academic research experience. She holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and is UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Senior Director of Licensing. 21

UCI STORIES • TIPS

Research Translation Group


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NEWS FROM UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION AND THE COVE Stay up to date with news about UCI’s innovations and commercially promising technologi...

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NEWS FROM UCI BEALL APPLIED INNOVATION AND THE COVE Stay up to date with news about UCI’s innovations and commercially promising technologi...