2022 Annual Report

Page 1

Where research gets real

VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group
The UVA Licensing & Ventures Group is dedicated to growing and guiding University innovations while improving lives on Grounds and around the world.
3 2022 ANNUAL REPORT 02 Mission Statement 04 Welcome 07 2022 Performance 12 New Ventures 20 LVG Seed Fund 34 Innovator of the Year 40 Inside LVG TABLE OF CONTENTS


The artificial heart valve. Magnetic resonance imaging. The hepatitis B vaccine. Moderna’s COVID vaccine. The home dialysis machine. The geneediting tool CRISPR-Cas9.

FM Radio. The lithium-ion battery. E-books. The Global Positioning System. Google. Gatorade.

You may not know it, but these are just a few of the innovations born from university technology transfer offices.

So, when you look at the cover of our 2022 Annual Report and see the phrase, “Where research gets real,” please know this isn’t just some catchy tagline – it should be taken quite literally.

I have been leading technology commercialization offices at major research universities for more than 15 years, and this year it has been an honor and thrill to have joined one of the premier organizations in the University of Virginia’s Licensing & Ventures Group.

Building on a strong foundation, our focus is to continue to accelerate the translation of innovations from the lab to companies that develop products creating economic and societal impact from the research done at UVA.

As we reflect upon 2022 in our Annual Report, I am humbled by the dedication, perseverance, and service to the common good here on Grounds. We will build upon the “Great and Good” 2030 Strategic Plan set forth by President Jim Ryan. UVA researchers look for answers to fundamental questions that lay the groundwork for solutions to problems decades in the future. From this engine of creativity, UVA LVG derives the substrate for innovations, partnerships and economic opportunity.

This year, LVG completed 85 transactions with companies, the second-highest total ever next to the record number in 2021. Licenses included companies in the Commonwealth, the U.S. and seven different countries, highlighted by the biotech, electronics and medical device fields.

LVG launched five new ventures to advance innovations in treatment for blood clotting, quantum computing, immunotherapy for some cancers and molecular switches with potential applications in oncology, immunology and neuroscience.

Last fall, we were honored to celebrate Dr. Amy Mathers as our 2021 Innovator of the Year for her extraordinary efforts and lifesaving innovations throughout the pandemic. I invite you to read about her extraordinary work developing in-house testing, and early-stage detection in wastewater from University buildings to detect early signs of COVID-19 that prevented larger outbreaks.

As part of a world-class university, LVG provides educational opportunities for our students to learn about research translation, commercialization, intellectual property, new venture creation and venture capital investing. Please follow the stories inside featuring our interns and our programs.

The entire LVG team derives its energy and enthusiasm from working with UVA faculty, students, entrepreneurs and investors. None of this is possible without the passionate support and guidance from our Board of Directors. On behalf of the entire LVG team, we want to express our thanks for your dedication, time and talent to support our mission.

& Ventures Group

Board of Directors

It’s a mission we all care deeply about. One of my most memorable moments from my time in tech transfer occurred several years ago while on a business trip. In casual conversation with a hotel bartender, I just happened to mention that our team had helped commercialize cisplatin and carboplatin.

The bartender stopped in his tracks, looked me squarely in the eyes and told me that my money would be no good at the bar for as long as he worked there. It turned out that the cancer drugs I mentioned had saved his 13-year-old daughter’s life many years before. She was now a young woman, married with two children.

This is the type of societal impact that we all strive to achieve here at UVA LVG. Just like that phrase on the cover, we also take the words in our mission statement – “Improving lives on Grounds and around the world” – quite literally.

Thank you for taking time to view our 2022 report. I hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as we love sharing them.

Peter M. Grant II (COL ’78, DARDEN ’86) Chair

Founding Partner, Anchormarck Holdings LLC

John G. MacFarlane III (DARDEN ‘79)

Board of Visitors Representative Managing Partner, Arrochar Management LLC

Erik L. Hewlett, M.D.

Professor Emeritus, Medicine, Infectious Disease and International Health UVA School of Medicine

John S. Lazo, Ph.D. Associate Director for Basic Science UVA Cancer Center

Michael J. Lenox, Ph.D. (ENGR ’93)

Senior Associate Dean and Chief Strategy Officer, Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration UVA Darden School of Business

The Honorable Paul R. Michel, J.D. (LAW ’66)

Former Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Ron Newbold, Ph.D.

Chief Business Officer, Spinogenix, Inc.

Melur K. (Ram) Ramasubramanian, Ph.D.

UVA Vice President for Research

Kwame Ulmer

Principal, Ulmer Ventures

Jennifer L. West

Dean, Nancy and Neal Wade Professor of Engineering and Applied Science UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science


Renowned Researcher, Entrepreneur and Engineering Dean Joins LVG Board

University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Jennifer L. West is the newest member of the Licensing & Ventures Group’s Board of Directors.

In her more than 25-year career as a professor, inventor and entrepreneur, West has focused her research on the use of biomaterials, nanotechnology and tissue engineering, applying engineering approaches to studying biological problems and solving unmet medical needs, particularly in the fight against cancer.

West is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors, with 19 patents that have been licensed to eight different companies. One company, Nanospectra Biosciences Inc., co-founded by West, is running human clinical trials of a cancer therapy she invented.

“I am thrilled to be part of the University of Virginia community, where ideas are transformed into real benefits for society through the entrepreneurial spirit and expertise of UVA’s faculty, students and alumni,” West said. “The Licensing & Ventures Group’s commitment to increasing opportunities for UVA entrepreneurship will ensure that more promising products and services become reality.”

West came to UVA in 2021 from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, where she was the Fitzpatrick Family University Professor in Engineering and Associate Dean for Doctoral Education, with appointments in biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science.

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group
2022 Performance Invention Disclosures 226 Patents Filed 240 U.S. Patents Issued 53 Licensing Deals 85 Invested from the LVG Seed Fund $1.2MM Leveraged by the LVG Seed Fund $16.6MM New Ventures 5 University of Virginia research, across disciplines, schools and institutes on Grounds, yields discoveries and inventions with commercial potential every year. LVG engages these ideas and stewards them toward the marketplace through evaluation, business development, patent protection, transactions with new and existing companies and seed fund investments to yield returns for UVA and enrich and improve lives.

Invention Disclosures

In FY2022, UVA innovators brought forward 226 ideas and discoveries with the potential to improve lives.


Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics Biomedical Engineering Cell Biology

Center for Diabetes Technology Center for Comparative Medicine Cardiovascular Research Center Emergency Medicine Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology (MIC) Neuroscience Neurology Obstetrics & Gynecology Ophthalmology Orthopaedic Surgery Otolaryngology Pathology Pediatrics Pharmacology

Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences Radiology and Medical Imaging Radiation Oncology Surgery Urology

School of Medicine

8UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group
64% 226 2022 Performance

of Education & Human Development

Human Services Kinesiology

Curriculum Instruction & Special Education (CISE)

Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy Darden Business School McIntire School of Commerce School of Nursing Medical Center

College of Arts & Sciences

Biology Chemistry Physics Psychology

Biomedical Engineering Center for Applied Biomechanics Chemical Engineering Engineering Systems and Environment Computer Science Electrical and Computer Engineering Engineering and Society Materials Science and Engineering Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Other School of Engineering & Applied Science 20% 4% 1% 11% 226 2022 Performance

Industry Partners

10UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group California Florida Illinois Maryland Massachusetts Missouri New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina Pennsylvania Virginia Wisconsin Virginia United States World 9 37 8 USA Austria China Denmark Singapore South Korea United Kingdom 20212020201920182014 2022 9283787754 85 2022 Performance Licensing Deals LVG executed 85 commercial transactions with 45 industry partners from around the world.

Industries Represented

Biotech Communications Electronics Government Healthcare


Marketing Medical Devices

Mobile App Development

Nonprofit Pharmaceuticals

Quantum Computing Research Reagents




UVA Translational Research Funds

The Licensing & Ventures Group plays an integral role in UVA’s sophisticated translational research infrastructure. Translational research involves moving knowledge and discovery gained from the basic sciences to its application in clinical and community settings.

UVA has three ongoing philanthropically funded translational research programs that support biomedical innovation. While each fund has different parameters and oversight, all proposals are evaluated based on their potential path to delivering improvements in healthcare.

Coulter Translational Research Partnership Ivy Biomedical Innovation Fund LaunchPad for Diabetes

2022 Performance
Year Founded 2006 2008 2009 Applications 237 278 115 Projects Funded 99 62 67 Transactions 116 total transactions Active Patent Applications 353 total applications Issued Patents 250 total issued patents

I agreed to join the Board of the University of Virginia’s Licensing & Ventures Group, because the success of this kind of work is crucial to the nation’s future prosperity, jobcreation and security. I also wanted to learn more about how it is done on a first-hand basis. And try to help shape improvements in the effectiveness of the tech-transfer function. As a graduate of its law school, the University of Virginia was the appropriate institution for me to connect with.”

– The Honorable Paul R. Michel (LAW ‘66) excerpt from AUTM 2020 Fireside Chat


14UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group New Ventures
“Our focus is to continue to accelerate the translation of innovations from the lab to companies that develop products creating economic and societal impact.”

New Ventures

C6 Elements, LLC

Developing a cost-effective strategy for manufacturing high-quality graphene from cotton.



SelSym Biotechnology, Inc.

Developing novel micro- and nanoparticle technologies to revolutionize clinical care of trauma, wound healing and tissue repair.



Tundra Targeted Therapeutics

Harnesses the immune system through bispecific antibody technology that directs T cells to attack cancer. The first target is childhood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma.



QC82, Inc.

Working to deliver practical photonic quantum computing by using its breakthroughs in scalable onchip quantum photonics and room temperature photodetection.



Umbra Therapeutics

Umbra Therapeutics is mapping the tyrosine and lysine proteome to develop impactful therapeutics against diverse target classes.



15 2022 ANNUAL REPORT New Ventures

53 U.S. Patents Issued

US Patent Number Title

11,355,238 Method, System and Computer Program Product for Evaluation of Blood Glucose Variability in Diabetes from Self-Monitoring Data

11,238,990 System, Method and Computer Simulation Environment for In Silico Trials in Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

11,069,434 Method and System for the Safety, Analysis and Supervision of Insulin Pump Action and Other Modes of Insulin Delivery in Diabetes

11,058,354 Access Needle with Direct Visualization and Related Methods

11,083,381 Systems and Methods for Determining Pressure Frequency Changes in a Subject

11,055,257 Systems and Methods for Disjoint Character Set Report Merging

11,079,452 Systems and Methods for Magnetic Resonance Thermometry Using Balanced Steady State Free Precession

11,339,417 Amplifier System and Controls for Dielectrophoretic Tracking in Microfluidic Devices

11,085,980 Detecting Signal Changes in Heated Bone with a 3D Spiral Ultra-Short Echo Time Sequence

11,364,011 Ultrasound Contrast Agent Decorrelation-Based Signal Separation

11,135,583 Devices and Methods for Extraction, Separation and Thermocycling


Kovatchev, Boris P.

Kovatchev, Boris P.; Cobelli (not UVA), Claudio; Dalla Man (not UVA), Chiara

Breton, Marc D.; Patek, Stephen D.; Kovatchev, Boris P.; Karvetski, Colleen Hughes

Mahapatra, Srijoy; Gillies, George T.; Tucker-Schwartz, Jason M.

Mahapatra, Srijoy; Gillies, George T.; Tucker-Schwartz, Jason M.

Wadden, John Pierson; Angstadt, Kevin Alan

Miller, IV, Grady Wilson; Zheng, Yuan

Swami, Nathan; Su, Yi-Hsuan; Warren, Cirle Alcantara; Rohani, Ali; Farmehini, Vahid

Fielden, Samuel W.; Mugler, III, John P.; Miller, IV, Grady Wilson; Pauly (Stanford), Kim Butts; Meyer, Craig H.

Herbst, Elizabeth Bronwyn; Hossack, John A.; Wang, Shiying; Mauldin, Jr., F. William

Landers, James P.; DuVall, Jacquelyn; Le Roux, Delphine; Root, Brian; Mills, Daniel; Nelson, Daniel A.; Tsuei, An-Chi; Thompson, Brandon L.; Li, Jingyi; Birch, Christopher

11,311,665 Insulin Monitoring and Delivery System and Method for CGM Based Fault Detection and Mitigation via Metabolic State Tracking

11,369,569 Target-Specific Delivery of Therapeutic Agents

Breton, Marc D.; Patek, Stephen D.; Kovatchev, Boris P.

Klibanov, Alexander L.; French, Brent A.; Kelly, Kimberly A.; Dasa, Siva Sai Krishna

11,331,375 Compositions and Methods for Regulating Leukocyte Adhesion Isakson, Brant E.

11,253,245 Illuminated Suction Retractor Device Green, Megan E.; Morris, Madeline M.; Trikantzopoulou, Maria Filippa; Cottler, Patrick S.; Black, Jonathan S.; Archual, Anthony J.

11,289,201 System, Method and Computer Readable Medium for Dynamical Tracking of the Risk for Hypoglycemia in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

11,213,264 Positron Emission Tomography Systems and Methods

11,229,810 Methods and Systems for Producing Neuronal Lesions Using Magnetic Resonance and Acoustic Energy

11,309,088 Method, System and Computer Readable Medium for Virtualization of a Continuous Glucose Monitoring Trace


Reconfigurable Crypto-Processor

11,117,976 Compositions and Methods for Regulating Erythropoiesis

11,180,489 Sphingosine Kinase Inhibitor Amidoxime Prodrugs


Compositions for Inhibiting Formation of and/or Disrupting Bacterial Biofilms and Methods of Use Therefor

Breton, Marc D.; Kovatchev, Boris P.

Berr, Stuart S.; Majewski, Stanislaw; Baviera (UPV), Jose Maria Benlloch; Martinez (UPV), Antonio Javier

Lee, Kevin S.; Bertram, Edward H.; Wintermark (Stanford), Max

Patek, Stephen D.; Breton, Marc D.

Aly (U of Illinois), Mohamed E.; Hwu (U of Illinois), Wen-Mei W.; Skadron, Kevin

Braciale, Thomas J.; Kim, Taeg S.

Thorpe (SphynKx), Steven Brandon; Santos (VTECH), Webster L.; Lynch, Kevin R.

Hewlett, Erik L.; Hoffman, Casandra L.

11,123,121 Coracoclavicular Fixation Device and Related Method Thereof Miller, Mark D.

11,241,526 Method and System for Enhanced Imaging Visualization of Deep Brain Anatomy Using Infusion

Elias, William J.; Bond, Aaron E.; Gillies, George T.

16UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group
New Ventures

US Patent


11,179,095 Method, System and Apparatus for Remote Patient Monitoring or Tracking of Sepsis-Related Indicators

11,266,602 Pegylated Liposomes and Methods of Use

11,278,641 Occlusive Implant Compositions


LQG Artificial Pancreas Control System and Related Method


Patek, Stephen D.

Fox (IDRI), Christopher B.; Lin (IDRI), Susan S.; Carter (IDRI), Darrick; Van Hoeven (IDRI), Neal; Abhyankar, Mayuresh M.; Petri, Jr., William A.

Herr*, John C.; Klibanov, Alexander L.; Eisenfrats, Kevin Simon

Patek, Stephen D.; Breton, Marc D.

11,207,677 Devices, Systems and Methods for Detecting Substances Krauss, Shannon Theresa; Landers, James P. 11,161,102 Iminium Salt Organocatalysts, Method of Making and Methods of Using Hilinski, Michael Kenneth

11,241,421 Combination Therapies for Treating Cancer

11,314,750 Methods, Circuits and Articles of Manufacture for Frequent Sub-Tree Mining Using Non-Deterministic Finite State Machines

11,168,118 Compositions and Related Methods for Modulating Alkaloid Production by Controlling PMT Promoter Activation Mediated by Transcriptional Factors ERF and MYC

11,269,036 System and Method for Phase Unwrapping for Automatic Cine Dense Strain Analysis Using Phase Predictions and Region Growing

11,155,899 Antimicrobial, Hypoallergenic and Tarnish-Resistant Cu-Based Alloy and Related Methods Thereof


Cavity-Enhanced Fourier Transform Spectroscopy for Chiral Analysis

Bushweller, John H.; Illendula, Anuradha

Sadredini, Elaheh; Skadron, Kevin; Rahimi, Gholamreza; Wang, Ke

Timko, Michael P.; Rushton, Paul J.; Han, Sheng-Cheng; Zhang, Hongbo; Bokowiec, Marta T.

Epstein, Frederick H.; Auger, Daniel A.; Sun, Changyu; Cai, Xiaoying

Hutchison, Michael John; Scully, John Robert

Pate, Brooks Hart

11,371,958 Electrochemical Device for Identifying Electroactive Analyte and Related Methods Thereof Yang, Cheng; Venton, B. Jill

11,212,008 Power Allocation for Visible Light Communication


Brandt-Pearce, Maite; Lian, Jie

Compositions and Methods for Blocking Sodium Channels Patel, Manoj; Rivara, Mirko

11,179,517 Method, System and Computer Readable Medium for Controlling Insulin Delivery Using Retrospective Virtual Basal Rates

11,090,433 System and Method for Body Mass Index Relation to Patient Differing Psychological Stress Effect on Blood Glucose Dynamics in Patients with Insulin Dependent Diabetes

11,306,041 Catalytic Synthesis of Super Linear Alkenyl Arenes Using Rhodium Catalysts

Patek, Stephen D.; Breton, Marc D.

Patek, Stephen D.; Ozaslan, Basak; Gonder-Frederick, Linda A.

Schinski (Not UVA), William; Goldman (Rutgers), Alan; Gunnoe, Thomas B.; Webster-Gardiner, Michael S.; Schwartz, Nichole

11,204,409 Systems and Methods for Motion-Compensated Reconstruction of Magnetic Resonance Images Wang, Luonan; Weller, Daniel Stuart; Mugler, III, John P.; Meyer, Craig H.

11,312,775 Methods for Treatment or Prevention of a Neurological Immunity Disorder

11,294,015 Method and System for Deep Convolutional Neural Net for Artifact Suppression in Dense MRI

Kipnis, Jonathan; Louveau, Antoine

Abdishektaei, Mohammad; Feng, Xue; Cai, Xiaoying; Meyer, Craig H.; Epstein, Frederick H.

11,324,723 Molecular Genetic Approach to Treatment and Diagnosis of Alcohol and Drug Dependence Johnson, Bankole A.

11,320,506 Multiband Spiral Cardiac MRI with Non-Cartesian Reconstruction Methods

11,369,608 Compounds and Methods for Regulating, Limiting, or Inhibiting Avil Expression

Sun, Changyu; Epstein, Frederick H.; Yang, Yang; Cai, Xiaoying; Salerno, Michael; Meyer, Craig H.; Weller, Daniel Stuart

Li, Hui; Xie, Zhongqiu

11,066,415 Compositions and Methods for Regulating Glucose Homeostasis and Insulin Action Hoehn, Kyle; Kenwood, Brandon

11,351,154 Molecular Genetic Approach to Treatment and Diagnosis of Alcohol and Drug Dependence Johnson, Bankole A.

11,116,753 Molecular Genetic Approach to Treatment and Diagnosis of Alcohol and Drug Dependence Johnson, Bankole A.

11,301,019 System on a Chip with Customized Data Flow Architecture

Lukas, Christopher J.; Calhoun, Benton H.; Yahya, Farah B.

New Ventures

Making Fruits & Vegetables Safer to Eat

Chemical engineering professor Bryan Berger created a sustainable and safer alternative to pesticides and disinfectants that reduces waste and improves food safety and human health.

For many company founders who hail from higher education, the difference between working in a lab and in the business world is kind of like the difference between listening to a Frank Sinatra or a Marvin Gaye album.

That is to say, academic research and commercialization are two entirely different things.

University of Virginia associate chemical engineering professor Bryan Berger recognized this soon after starting his company, Lytos, in 2018.

“As a founder, you quickly realize there are a lot of critical roles you have to fill that you never thought about before: bookkeeping, human resources, finding customers, managing external partners for manufacturing and figuring out regulatory requirements for registering your product, to name a few,” Berger said.

“You realize the need to find people who have the industry and commercial experience necessary to help you build out your business and develop a successful go-to market strategy.”

Thankfully, Berger – whose goal is to create green, sustainable and safer alternatives to chemical pesticides and disinfectants for farming -- had LVG to turn to.

“LVG helped us early on with assisting in market analysis, business plan development and framing our potential market size for grant applications,

such as the Virginia Catalyst that we successfully won,” said Berger, who was recognized as the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council’s 2022 Innovator of the Year.

“LVG wrote a letter of support and provided assistance in the form of market analysis for our successful grant from the state to assist with commercialization.

“LVG also provided patent attorneys and support to discuss our inventions and work with us to make sure our technology was strong from an intellectual property position.”

Today, that technology – which Berger developed in his UVA lab – is of keen interest to companies that produce the agrochemical products that growers use, as well as to growers and producers of specialty agricultural crops, such as wine.

According to Berger, several studies have shown that wine aroma and taste is influenced by pesticides, and pesticides persist in wine at elevated levels. Countries like France are trying to phase out use of pesticides in winemaking because of their toxicity.

18UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group

“We have done several trials in Virginia with winemakers to show our products are highly effective, and therefore provide a safe alternative to chemicals used in wine grape growing,” Berger said. “We’re excited about our ability to help Virginia winegrowers and others provide better products in terms of quality and safety.”

Thanks to Berger’s tech, a wide array of fruits and vegetables, especially strawberries and spinach, which topped this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list – a compilation of the produce that contains the most pesticides – will be significantly safer.

“Our products were tested on strawberries and spinach and are highly effective,” Berger said, “so we are going to save those products and many others from the dubious distinction of being on the Dirty Dozen.”

Lytos’ products are made of proteins, which replace chemicals that are used as pesticides in pre- and post-harvest agriculture. Because they are proteins, they biodegrade naturally and are safe, sustainable and organic alternatives to synthetic chemicals that do not biodegrade rapidly, and therefore persist in the foods we eat, according to Berger.

“Synthetic pesticides often have hazard labels and warnings that require people to wear personal protective equipment when applying them due to their toxicity, and therefore consuming them is also a major problem,” Berger said.

“Our products are not toxic and biodegrade, so they are safe for people, plants and pollinators.”

Berger has always cared deeply for the environment, and is driven by a determination to protect it for future generations.

“This means we have to think about ways of food production that are sustainable and safe,” Berger said. “With a projected nine billion people to feed by 2050, this is a major challenge, even more so when we look at the effects of a changing climate on agriculture.

“Two of the major solutions that have been identified are producing more food from existing farms and reducing waste; both are necessary, and both require innovative, sustainable and safe ways of producing food to take care of our planet.”

Berger said chemical pesticide overuse is increasing and putting over 60% of global agricultural land

at risk of pesticide pollution, with significant negative health and environmental impacts.

Additionally, Berger said changes in weather patterns and climate are causing more disease pressure on agricultural crops. Some farms, which have operated for more than 100 years, are unable to produce wine due to more severe and persistent fungal disease outbreaks.

“Agriculture and food are a major backbone of rural communities and small towns throughout the world,” Berger said. “And so we need to provide solutions that are safe and sustainable to help communities thrive based on agriculture and take care of our planet.

“This is why I focused on biofungicides and other bio-based products at Lytos and made it our mission to work on better bioprotectants for people, plants and the planet.”

With the help of LVG, Berger is well on his way.

It’s imperative that we think about ways of food production that are sustainable and safe.
– Bryan Berger, associate professor of chemical engineering

LVG Seed Fund

As we find ourselves completing our fifth year of operation, I am eager to share some news about our activities at the Fund. The most exciting is the launch of Fund II, with the University and the Health System once again committing to our efforts to support innovation and commercialization of UVA research and technology.

In addition to raising Fund II, this year we continued to make great strides in closing seven investments, celebrated our second exit and maintained our ability to attract strong co-investors from outside Charlottesville for our companies (13-1 leverage on our investments).

We also had a full complement of Entrepreneurs in Residence; our fifth cohort of Darden students participating in the Due Diligence in Seed Fund course; our fourth summer of interns from the Darden Venture Fellows Program; and our inaugural Integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia I-Corps@NCATS program, a five-week course that provides biomedical scientists and engineers with support to accelerate their discoveries from the lab to clinical practice.

It has certainly been an interesting time investing during a pandemic and assisting our portfolio companies, as they have operated in difficult conditions brought about by COVID. However, through it all we have added three new companies to the portfolio: Slate Bio, GenEp and Nanochon.

Slate Bio, the first investment, is based on research and development from Dr. Rahul Sharma from the UVA Division of Nephrology and Center for Immunity, Inflammation and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Sharma and our LVG Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Andrew Krouse, co-founded the company that is advancing a first-in-class fusion cytokine biologic for the treatment of lupus nephritis and other autoimmune diseases.

GenEp was founded by Dr. Manoj Patel from the UVA Department of Anesthesiology in collaboration with Andrew Krouse. The company is working on development of a novel dual sodium channel inhibitor for the treatment of epilepsy. Like Slate Bio, GenEp had previously received translational funds through the UVA Ivy Foundation.

Our third addition to the portfolio was Nanochon. Started by UVA alumnus Dr. Benjamin Holmes, the company is developing a 3D-printed, orthopedic, load-bearing implant that provides a scaffold for cartilage tissue growth. Nanochon is also working with Dr. Jason Kerrigan, director of UVA’s Center for Applied Biomechanics, on studies to validate and improve the technology. Nanochon is initially focused on knee cartilage

20UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group

surgeries, but the device can be applied to any articulating joint (hips, shoulder, elbow, etc.).

We executed follow-on investments with Tear Solutions, BrightSpec and two with Astraea (you can learn more about this exciting spatial analytics company on page 26). As we ended the year, four of our portfolio companies had received term sheets for their next round with increased valuations: Ceres Nanosciences, BrighSpec, Astraea and GenEp.

We also enjoyed our second exit, with 510 Kardiac Devices being acquired by Keystone Heart in Atlanta. The Lim Septal Puncture device has now received FDA approval and is used by cardiologists for performing advanced cardiac procedures.

Ceres Nanosciences continued to play a significant role in addressing COVID. By year end, Ceres had won an $8.5 million award from RADx to build out their manufacturing facility in order to produce proprietary nanomaterials for use in 16 wastewater programs across the U.S. that measured the presence of COVID.

We are also fortunate to attract strong co-investors, including venture investors such as Greybird Ventures, Lumira Ventures, Epidarex, Energy Innovation Capital, 3B Future Health Ventures, MedVest, VT Carilion, and strategic investors such as Angelini BioScience, Santen Pharmaceutical, Helsinn Ventures and Chevron Ventures.

Once again, for the fifth year, we had active participation in the Due Diligence in Seed Fund Investing course at UVA’s Darden School of Business.

Investment Committee

Gerry Brunk (COL ’90), Managing Director, Lumira Capital

Dayna Grayson (ENGR ’99), Co-founder and General Partner of Construct Capital

Peter M. Grant II, Partner (COL ’78, DARDEN ’86), Anchormarck Holdings

Rob Paull (ARCH ’98), Co-Founder, Partner, Lux Capital

Kristin Gunther (DARDEN ’09), Principal, Revolution Growth

Melur K. (Ram) Ramasubramanian, Vice President for Research, UVA (ex-officio)

Dr. K. Craig Kent, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs (ex-officio)

We continue to realize significant benefits from these students, and the students gain the reallife experience of an investment fund associate.

Our Seed Fund Investment Committee continues to be one of the most beneficial and enjoyable components of our operation. Its role in helping us evaluate opportunities and manage the portfolio is invaluable and has been a significant reason for the Fund’s success to date.

As we begin the new year, we know we will face new challenges given the funding environment, but we are excited to begin investing from Fund II and continuing to support our current portfolio as we execute our role in commercializing UVA innovation that will have an impact in many markets.

21 2022 ANNUAL REPORT LVG Seed Fund

This second fund will give LVG latitude to invest in things right off the lab bench.

Peter M. Grant, II (COL ‘78, Darden ‘86) LVG Board of Directors Chair

Sound Investments, Improving Lives Drive LVG’s Seed Fund Strategy

Guided by our mission to grow and guide UVA innovations and to improve lives, the Licensing & Ventures Group is now managing a second $10 million Seed Fund for the University.

More than a decade has passed, but Robin Cacopardo can still remember the conversation she had with her 11-year-old daughter, Kate, just before her middle school science fair.

“Mommy, wouldn’t it be cool if a kid discovered a cure for diabetes as a science fair project?” said Kate, who had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes about a year earlier.

With tears welling in her eyes, Robin took a deep breath to compose herself, nodded in agreement, then suggested doing a project that could raise diabetes awareness.

That led to Kate learning all about diabetes and the latest research, which led to her taking part in artificial pancreas clinical trials at the University of Virginia’s Center for Diabetes Technology and using the new technology.

The experience was lifechanging.

The artificial pancreas system, which consisted of a sensor on the skin and an insulin pump programmed with an algorithm, monitored and automatically regulated Kate’s blood glucose levels much like a healthy pancreas would.

As one of 16 teenagers in the 2013 study that was conducted by Dr. Boris Kovatchev, Kate no longer had to worry about her blood sugar dipping or spiking.

“Watching that computer screen and being able to see the insulin amounts change was amazing,” Robin said.

The potential of the cutting-edge device was not lost on UVA LVG.

In 2016, LVG made the first-ever investment from the University’s newly launched $10 million Seed Fund in TypeZero Technologies, whose artificial pancreas technology they had helped license.

Two years later, the decision paid dividends when TypeZero was purchased by DexCom, Inc., the leader in glucose monitoring for people with diabetes.

Buoyed by our ability to maximize the economic impact of UVA discoveries, as well as our stated mission to improve lives – a charge that aligns with UVA President Jim Ryan’s 2030 strategic plan

23 2022 ANNUAL REPORT LVG Seed Fund

to be both a “Great and Good” University – LVG recently began managing a second $10 million Seed Fund for the University.

LVG Board of Directors Chair Peter Grant said LVG is thankful for the support from both the University and the Health System, who committed to both funds.

“We are very fortunate, through a lot of dialogue and a lot of testing of assumptions and observations of other programs around the country to have gained the support of Fund I from the prior administration at the University, and we feel equally appreciative that the current administration supported our desire to stay on this path and provide the funds for Seed Fund II,” Grant said.

“We don’t take that support lightly, and we know we have a job to do, a mission to accomplish and a service to provide to people who are generating intellectual property at the University.”

Eight of the 10 portfolio company investments that are still in the first Seed Fund have founders who are members of the UVA faculty; the other two were founded by alumni.

TypeZero and 510 Kardiac Devices have been the funds’ two exits.

“Both of those companies have generated positive returns for the fund and for the University,” Grant said, “but as importantly, if not more importantly, they have made lives better for people and for patients. We certainly think both those companies are great examples of that.”

Dr. Scott Lim, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine and medical director of the UVA Advanced Cardiac Valve Center, cofounded 510 Kardiac Devices with his colleague, Jaime Sarabia. Lim spent years developing an instrument called the Lim Transseptal System, which allows for greater control of the needle during heart surgeries and the ability to position it in precise locations.

Grant, the founding partner of Anchormarck Holdings LLC, said the first Seed Fund came about as a result of several conversations around Grounds in 2015 that indicated there was a good appetite for creating such an investment vehicle.

“The thought was, ‘How do we extend beyond just translational research and support or investing and fill what many refer to as this ‘Death Valley?’” Grant said. “There was this thought that to get your next round of support or financing, you might have to go outside of our local ecosystem to get it done because there wasn’t a formal path.

“There was certainly investment capital or private capital available around here, but for someone who is working as a clinician or fulltime in one of our labs, the idea of having to go through a process of running around and investing time and energy in raising capital, it’s daunting -- especially if you haven’t done it before.”

24UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group LVG Seed Fund
“Both of those companies have generated positive returns for the fund and for the University, but more importantly, they have made lives better for people and for patients.” – Peter M. Grant, II

The LVG Seed Fund invested in 510 Kardiac in 2018 to support the company’s efforts to obtain FDA approval for the device. Two years later, shortly after being acquired by medical device company Keystone Heart, the company did just that.

Overall, LVG’s University-focused investment strategy during the first six years of the fund has attracted 18 syndicate partners and raised close to an additional $75 million through followon investments.

“The first fund established our process and proved the concept,” UVA LVG Seed Fund Managing Director Bob Creeden said. “I think this second one will allow us to continue commercializing and accelerating UVA technologies for high impact in the market.”

Grant said the second fund will give LVG latitude to invest in things “right off the lab bench.” In other words, it will allow LVG to invest in new companies – known in the industry as “Newcos” – which aren’t nearly as far along as a TypeZero was back in 2016.

“We can say, ‘Look, we think there’s really something here that can have viability in the marketplace and could have legs. With the proper care and feeding, this could really be something in a year or two,’” Grant said.

“We want to be in position to nurture and support that, and to help build around that by forming these ‘Newcos.’ We’ve done that a couple times in the first fund and I expect that we’ll look for more opportunities to do that in Fund II.”

LVG Seed Fund

Eyes in the Sky

Astraea has Business Leaders, Environmentalists, Techies & Investors Chomping at the Bit

Among many applications, the geospatial analytics startup has been used to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia and a conservation company measure environmental impact.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, Daniel Bailey, Simeon Fitch and Brendan Richardson’s team acted quickly. In less than a week, the cofounders of Astraea spearheaded an effort to provide a free satellite imagery platform that could be used by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, as well as civilians and a host of humanitarian organizations working in the country.

This platform was no ordinary one.

Built specifically for Ukraine with Astraea’s patented earthAI technology, which uses machine learning, big data computing and Earth-observing satellites to collect massive amounts of satellite data that even the likes of Google Earth have yet to reel in, it enabled Ukrainians under attack to view highresolution images that were taken as recently as the day before.

There is no telling how many lives the cloud-based platform –called the “Ukraine Observer” – saved, and continues to save, as the war continues.

“It was incredibly personal for us to find a way to help the country at large, but also people we work with and talk to every day and care deeply about since we have a significant number of our engineering staff who are in Ukraine or are Ukrainian,” said Richardson, a longtime entrepreneur who teaches several courses in UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce.

It wasn’t the first time that Astraea – a UVA Licensing & Ventures Group Seed Fund portfolio company – used its incredible tech for good.

LVG Seed Fund

Among many endeavors, Astraea has helped a global conservation nonprofit company measure the environmental impact to millions of square miles over more than 10 years; assisted a carbon-credit startup company by monitoring timber acreage; and helped the U.S. solar industry determine its growth rate and scale capacity.

“Because satellite imagery covers such large geographic scale and repeats that coverage every few days or even every day in some cases, you can do things – monitor, search, measure, track – at a scale that would be impossible or costprohibitive from the ground,” Richardson explained.

Similar to Google Earth, Astraea’s platform allows users to see images of any location on the planet. But what makes Astraea’s more powerful than competitors is its ability to show all of the imagery captured over a given area – as recently as yesterday, and in some cases retrieving imagery from as far back as 15 years. More importantly, all of that imagery data can be analyzed with machine learning and computer vision techniques.

This is what has tech insiders, business leaders and environmentalists alike so excited, as evidenced by Astraea being oversubscribed in its Series A financing round.

The LVG communications team sat down with Richardson – a Pittsburgh native who has been involved in early-stage ventures as a venture capitalist, angel investor, board member and entrepreneur for more than 25 years – to learn more about the Charlottesville-based company.

Q. What makes Astraea unique and differentiates it from competitors?

A. Most of our competitors started out before we did and were fortunate to find early customers with what seemed like compelling use cases. Many of these customers were big agricultural companies, oil and gas majors or government agencies – organizations with substantial resources and identified needs. Our competitors built very impressive but often expensive single applications from end-to-end to solve one question or address one use case. These applications were very useful, but often highly custom solutions. Hence, it was often impossible to scale them easily – either to other customers or to different end uses.

We were more fortunate. Early on, we did not or could not find an early customer, or even a use case, that seemed big enough or lucrative enough to focus the entire company on. At the time, it was very frustrating, but it turned out to be a significant advantage.


We went in a different direction, which is we built an “application” platform – with all of the tools, algorithms and programming interfaces that a customer would need to build their own applications. Without getting too technical, this approach inspired us to build in a lot of flexibility and scalability into this platform, since we didn’t exactly know what customers wanted to build. We ended up building in pretty much anything and everything they might possibly need, and we architected the platform to be enormously scalable, in the sense that it could handle any type of data and nearly any amount of data – insane amounts of data, you might say.

It turns out that this is an enormous advantage now because we – or our customers – can build incredibly powerful applications very, very quickly and at a fraction of the cost that would be required to build it from scratch.

This allows us to build solutions for really interesting but narrow-use cases or for small organizations and nonprofits doing important work against climate change that might never be able to afford satellite imagery or analytics previously. Of course, we work with those big customers too – large multinationals, global non-profits and Fortune 500 companies are all represented in our customer base.

Q. What’s an example of something that Astraea’s tech has helped accomplish that perhaps nobody had ever been able to?

A. It’s hard to pick just one! Maybe my favorite example is a project we worked on early in the company’s life. We’re big fans of renewable energy. At a solar energy conference we attended, an esteemed panel was discussing the topic of, “Timely, accurate and up-to-date information” about the scale, growth rate and distribution of utility scale solar capacity in the U.S.

We were kind of surprised that no one had access to this information, and we wondered how that could be? Turns out that the database of record is the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and their data was usually 9 to 12 months old by the time it was published. By that time, the industry had grown somewhere between 25 and 30%, but nobody knew exactly. Using EIA as the signpost was a bit like driving while looking in the rearview mirror all of the time. So we went away and noodled on this for a bit and realized that this could be a perfect use case for satellite imagery. Fast forward a few months: we ingested a few petabytes of free Sentinel-2 satellite (European Space Agency) imagery covering the entirety of the contiguous U.S. starting from the present moment and stretching back a little over five years to 2015. We then trained a computer vision algorithm to scan this imagery and identify utility scale solar fields greater than 3 mWs. It took a bit of time to improve the algorithm sufficiently

28UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group
LVG Seed Fund

because it was a two-stage convolutional neural net. Complex and powerful, but requires some tuning. Once we got it though, we scored it on all five years worth of data – the equivalent of scanning about 19 million square miles. That took about 12 hours in our cloud computing environment. But at the end, we were seeing roughly 95% of all solar farms as they were built in the U.S. during those five years and could confirm that the U.S. solar industry has been growing at greater than 30% per year for a long time and continues to do so. We could see all kinds of other interesting things in the data as well.

Q. What is a really big problem facing the world that you think Astraea has the potential to help solve in the future?

A. I don’t know exactly how this all plays out, but I think the big challenge of this generation is climate change and all its known and still unknown effects. Satellite imagery is a running data feed of the changes that are happening at global scale. We’ve only just begun to really interrogate that data persistently, but my hope is that embedded in that exponentially growing data set are key insights and answers about how to mitigate or slow the rate of warming and how to mitigate or deal with the consequences that are already inevitable.

I also know that this data can be used to protect invaluable natural resources from illegal activity –harvesting, mining and poaching. If you think about it, with more than 1,000 satellites constantly in orbit and imaging every spot on the ground every day, it will be increasingly difficult to hide illegal activity anywhere. There are no borders when it comes to satellite imagery. The remotest places in the world are accessible to view at the touch of a button. That’s bad news for bad actors.

Q. What types of information can someone who is not technically savvy glean from using the platform?

A. It’s not as simple as Google Earth, but it’s a lot more powerful. For instance, using just free satellite imagery and signing up with just an email at no cost to the user, one can draw a box around any spot on Earth and instantly see all of the publicly available satellite imagery from as recently as yesterday and stretching back in time up to 15 years, in some cases.

EarthAI Site

If you’re a data scientist or a survey expert, there is a ton more you can do with this data on our platform, but even the casual user can see and compare satellite imagery of anything they have an interest in. A friend of mine who is a big fisherman uses our EarthonDemand interface to look at lakes in his region, Colorado, to see when or if they’ve frozen over in the late fall/early winter, and then when they thaw again in the spring.

I know of one person who casually uses it to monitor when ships are in port in Charleston, South Carolina. Because satellite imagery is constantly being collected, you can get the most recent image through our platform. Most of the images you see on Google Earth are somewhere between three months and three years old. That’s not super useful if you’re trying to monitor lake ice [laughs].

LVG Seed Fund
EarthAI Enterprise

Q. How can Astraea help companies make more informed business decisions?

A. We can provide insight that is simply impossible in scale or cost to achieve otherwise.

A great example is an application we developed recently to enable a state-level government agency to monitor more than 140 ongoing construction projects simultaneously from a desktop – with updated satellite imagery refreshing every day and the ability to order high-resolution imagery over any of the projects to be taken in the next 24 to 48 hours. The previous method was to send one of a group of four site inspectors to these projects for an on-the-ground inspection. That’s still done, but now those individuals can be deployed to the sites that require it based on the persistent view they’re getting from satellites. This will likely save them hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in inspection costs.

Another example is an application we’ve developed for an industrial real estate investor. We provide a satellite-based view of a metropolitan area, overlayed with real estate parcel and building information. The investor can sort through millions of land and building parcels to find the top dozen or so that meet their criteria – from their desk – and then focus the acquisition teams on those. This saves months of on-the-ground work for these teams.

I’ll go back to the Google Earth analogy. Our platform is a bit like having a Google Earth, but one which you can ask any question of and it returns the answers: “Show me all of my active projects in these 10 states on a map, and then let me know when each of them reach 50% completion.” Or, “Show me all of the new solar farms that have broken ground in the last 12 months in Virginia.” Or, “Sort all of the commercial and industrial building rooftops greater than 10,000 square feet in Richmond, which also have black membrane roofs suitable for solar installation.” There are quite literally thousands or even more of potential use cases.

It’s not quite as simple as a voice query to Siri or Alexa, but for a data scientist familiar with raster and imagery data, it’s about as easy.

Q. What are the biggest challenges Astraea faces as it continues to grow?

A. Well, this is still an emerging sector that is not widely understood or known about. At times, it’s been a struggle to attract investors who are not paying attention to the future of Earth observation. But that’s improved dramatically in the last three years as COVID forced everyone to think differently and work remotely. All of a sudden, the potential for satellite imagery and geospatial intelligence was front and center. Now, I think our challenge is more in communicating these powerful solutions to potential customers in their language and not our “technology” language. Customers don’t care much or at all about the underlying technology. They care about whether it solves a need for them better than any other available solution. We know that it does – and we need to craft our communications and marketing in that way.

30UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group LVG Seed Fund

Q. How has the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group helped Astraea get to where it is today?

A. UVA LVG and the Seed Fund have been incredibly important and supportive partners. My first startup, a company called PsiKick (now Everactive), was based on intellectual property that we spun out of UVA and the University of Michigan. My two co-founders were the brilliant professors who had developed the technology (ultra-low-power semiconductors for Internet of Things), and the three of us negotiated the licenses for the original IP with UVA LVG. It was very collaborative, and, by and large, a pretty easy process. We had good alignment, and when we needed to make some tweaks to the license, UVA LVG was a partner in solving it and not an adversary as so often can be the case with tech transfer offices. So, I was quite familiar with the LVG ethos and way of working when we started Astraea. And, once again, from our perspective, our UVA LVG relationship has been a win-win.

LVG Seed Fund Real Estate Renewable Energy Conservation Finance Agriculture UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA GROUNDS IMAGE FROM ASTRAEA

LVG Seed Fund Portfolio



Ceres Nanosciences is a life sciences company focused on incorporating its novel Nanotrap® particle technology into a range of diagnostic products and workflows with the ultimate goal of providing better patient outcomes. The Nanotrap® particle technology can improve diagnostic testing by capturing, concentrating and preserving low abundance analytes from biological samples.

Syndicate Partners: Greybird Ventures, Pactolus Ventures, Bay Area Lyme Foundation



Astraea is a technology startup building the first integrated platform for global scale geospatial analytics. The company’s earthAI technology uses machine learning, big data computing and Earth-Observing satellites to easily access, analyze and extract actionable insights about the planet, providing global understanding for local impact.


GenEp, Inc. is a genetic epilepsy company focused on first-in-class ion channel modulators for treatment resistant genetic epilepsies. GenEp is bringing a precision medicine approach to epilepsy by targeting newly identified gain of function (GOF) mutations.


BrightSpec is a life science instrumentation company offering fast, precise analysis of trace level chemical components for applications in R&D, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, food and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Syndicate Partners: MedVest



Mission Secure is a leading control system cybersecurity company. The company’s patented MSi Platform and cyber advisory services protect clients in the energy, defense, autonomous systems, maritime and critical infrastructure industries prepare for and protect against cyber-attacks.

Syndicate Partners: Energy Innovation, Blue Bear, Chevron

& Ventures Group LVG Seed Fund

Merand Pharmaceuticals


Merand Pharmaceuticals is developing a novel microRNA therapeutic (MicroRNA93 or miR-93), shown to promote angiogenesis, to treat patients suffering from Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a progressive circulatory issue affecting over 200 million people globally.


Direct Spinal Therapeutics, Inc.


Direct Spinal Therapeutics, Inc. is a medical device company developing a Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) product-platform to enhance treatment for chronic back pain and other spinal cord injuries.

TearSolutions’ first-in-class therapy is a synthetic form of the protein lacritin, called Lacripep™, which targets the causes of dryeye disease. The company completed Phase II clinical trials in 2020, which focused on patients with Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome.

Syndicate Partners: Virginia Tech Carilion, Pharmstandard, Santen Pharma



Nanochon is developing a novel implantable device for patients with limited mobility due to injury and joint pain. Nanochon’s Chondograft is a functional cartilage implant made through a unique combination of synthetic nanomaterial and 3D-printing that harnesses the capacity of stem cells to self-repair tissue at the site of injury in the joint.

Founded by Chad Rogers (COM ‘97) to commercialize diabetes technology research from the Center for Diabetes Technology at the UVA School of Medicine and acquired by Dexcom, Inc. in August 2018.

Acquired by: Dexcom, Inc.


Slate Bio. Inc. is developing paradigm-shifting engineered cytokines for immune modulation that induce persistent remission in Lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Slate’s product, SLT-518, is the first bi-specific engineered fusion of IL-2 to IL-33, and is uniquely positioned to improve the lives of those with autoimmune diseases.

Founded to commercialize a novel cardiovascular device to improve surgical accuracy developed by UVA Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine Dr. Scott Lim and acquired by Keystone Heart in June 2020.

Acquired by: Keystone Heart

33 2022 ANNUAL REPORT LVG Seed Fund

Celebrating Impact Through Innovation

of the

THE Edlich-Henderson Innovator
Year Award

The highest honor bestowed on University of Virginia innovators, the Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year award recognizes an individual or team each year whose research discovery is making a major impact.


2020 Rebecca Dillingham, M.D. Karen Ingersoll, Ph.D.

2019 Lee Ritterband, Ph.D.

2018 Jeffrey Elias, M.D.

2017 Brooks H. Pate, Ph.D. 2016 John A. Hossack, Ph.D. N. Scott Barker, Ph.D. Arthur W. Lichtenberger, Ph.D. Robert M. Weikle II, Ph.D.

2015 Benton H. Calhoun, Ph.D. James A. Smith, Ph.D.

2014 J. Randall Moorman, M.D. Douglas E. Lake, Ph.D. 2013 Marcia A. Invernizzi, Ph.D. 2012 Robin A. Felder, Ph.D.

2011 Boris P. Kovatchev, Ph.D. 2010 Kevin R. Lynch, Ph.D. Timothy L. Macdonald, Ph.D. 2009 John P. Mugler, Ph.D. James R. Brookeman, Ph.D. 2008 George T. Rodeheaver, Ph.D. 2007 Wladek Minor, Ph.D. 2006 George T. Gillies, Ph.D. 2005 Benjamin M. Gaston, M.D. John F. Hunt, Ph.D.

2004 Haydn N.G. Wadley, Ph.D.

2003 William A. Petri Jr., M.D., Ph.D. Barbara J. Mann, Ph.D.

2002 Joel M. Linden, Ph.D.

Named for UVA Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard F. Edlich and Christopher J. (“Goose”) Henderson, a veteran of privately owned financial services businesses, the award is a tribute to their enduring support of and commitment to the University and its innovators.

2001 Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf, Ph.D. 2000 Ronald P. Taylor, Ph.D. 1999 John C. Herr, Ph.D. 1997 Richard L. Guerrant, M.D. Timothy L. Macdonald, Ph.D.

1996 Jessica J. Brand

Patrice G. Guyenet, Ph.D. Richard D. Pearson, M.D. Janine C. Jagger, Ph.D.

1995 Donald F. Hunt, Ph.D. Jeffrey Shabanowitz, Ph.D. George C. Stafford Jr., Ph.D

1994 Gerald L. Mandell, M.D. Gail W. Sullivan

1993 Joseph Larner, M.D., Ph.D.

1992 Robert M. Berne, M.D. Luiz Belardinelli, M.D. Rafael Rubio, Ph.D.


Innovator of the Year Made Herculean Efforts Throughout the Pandemic

When Dr. Amy Mathers was a kid, she had no interest in following in the footsteps of her father and becoming a doctor. At the age of 6, she decided she wanted to study the ocean. Mathers wouldn’t waver – until she got to college.

“I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I can’t live on a boat at sea for long extended periods of time,’” Mathers said with a laugh. “I didn’t think it would be right for me.”

All these years later, Virginians – and people all around the world – should be thankful for her career epiphany.

Over the last 2 ½ years, Mathers, an associate director of clinical microbiology and an associate professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Virginia, has been a hero.

At the beginning of the pandemic, when federal health agencies couldn’t provide enough COVID-19 tests, Mathers worked with Melinda Poulter to help create inhouse tests to meet the demand at UVA and at hospitals across the state.

But she was just getting started.

When massive testing led to a nasal swab shortage, Mathers helped solve that issue, too – by helping design, manufacture and get FDA clearance so swabs could be distributed across the state to meet the shortage needs.

As the pandemic wore on and students returned to Grounds, Mathers helped develop a solution for testing wastewater from buildings to detect signs of COVID-19, thereby helping identify potential positive cases and prevent larger outbreaks.

And then, as SARS CoV-2 mutations and successful variants began to emerge, she quickly pivoted her laboratory to begin applying whole-genome sequencing to monitor emergence to inform public health policy and understand transmission.

It was for these life-saving innovations – as well as her work as the chief medical officer of Antimicrobial Resistance Services Inc., a company that specializes in whole-genome sequencing to detect and mitigate the spread of harmful bacteria – that the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group chose Mathers as the recipient of the 2021 Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year award. The endowed award recognizes University faculty members or a team of faculty researchers whose work is making a major impact on society.

Mathers received the award last November in a ceremony in the Rotunda’s Dome Room and delivered a public lecture highlighting her research.

“We are thrilled to honor Dr. Mathers with this award for the leadership and ingenuity she demonstrated in the face of unfathomable challenges presented by COVID-19,” Bob Creeden, managing director, UVA LVG Seed Fund & New Ventures, said. “Dr. Mathers leveraged her experience with translational research and innovation activity to address the urgent need for high-impact testing solutions and made them as widely available as possible to combat the spread of the pandemic across the state.”

Mathers grew up in Montana before getting her undergraduate degree at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and earning her medical degree at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago.

Mathers, who came to UVA for an infectious disease fellowship in 2006, says it was in her second year at Humboldt State when she “fell in love” with bacterial genetics. “I was like, ‘Whatever I need to do to study bacterial genetics, that’s what I want to do,’” she recalled.

According to Mathers, it was around March 10, 2020, when UVA Health began admitting more patients with COVID symptoms than they had tests on hand.

36UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group

The hardest part of those early days, Mathers said, was having to assume that all patients with symptoms had COVID. She had to tell relatives of patients – whether they had COVID or not – that they couldn’t be with dying family members. Since nobody could be tested, Mathers and her colleagues’ hands were tied.

“It was just very, very stressful and sad and felt somewhat overwhelming,” Mathers said, “and so I was highly motivated. … I felt like I should be the person at UVA who should be able to figure this out, because I’m trained in both infectious disease and in diagnostics and felt between Dr. [Melinda] Poulter and [me] that we should be able to get a test launched.

“Failure was just not an option. It was like, ‘We have to figure something out.’”

Creating a test was actually the easy part. Navigating the political red tape? Well, that was something entirely different.

As a result of regulations from former President Donald J. Trump’s administration that mandated the Food and Drug Administration oversee every clinical lab, Mathers and Poulter had to jump through several unexpected hoops.

... I was highly motivated. I felt like I should be the person at UVA who should be able to figure this out, because I’m trained in both infectious disease and in diagnostics and felt between Dr. [Melinda] Poulter and [me] that we should be able to get a test launched.”

– Amy Mathers, Associate Professor, Medicine: Infectious Diseases and International Health

Innovator of the

“I use the analogy that if you were making a sandwich, you had to use Wonder Bread, and that was it,” Mathers said. “You couldn’t use any other kind of bread or other ingredients.”

As a result, acquiring specific reagents and equipment became extremely difficult, since everyone in the country was all looking for the same thing.

Working around the clock, Mathers went door-to-door around the health system, piecemealing the tests into existence.

Just eight days later, with the help of the University of Washington – which provided virus samples – the tests gained FDA approval.

But just a short time later, Mathers and her colleagues realized they had another problem. “There were no swabs anywhere to be had,” Mathers said. “It was just nuts.”

Without the nasal swabs, all the tests were useless. So Mathers, through the UVA Sink Lab, and in collaboration with Will Guilford, a UVA associate professor of biomedical engineering, created a 3D-printed swab prototype, which was then used as a template for injection-molded swabs that Mathers was able to safety test during a clinical trial.

After running a clinical trial and getting FDA approval, 75,000 of the new swabs were produced every week, with 15,000 reserved for testing at UVA Health and 60,000 distributed to testing sites across Virginia.

Mathers, though, realized there might soon be yet another issue.

Because of the needs for testing personnel, she had been going into nursing homes to test for COVID and saw firsthand just how easily the virus could spread in a group setting. Some of the homes she visited had 90% positivity rates.

With UVA students set to return to dormitories that fall, Mathers felt compelled to create an early warning testing system. Working with Lisa Colosi-Peterson in the School of Engineering and Shireen Kotay, an environmental microbiologist in Mathers’ laboratory group, she developed and validated a wastewater test for building-level surveillance.

“I just wanted to keep those kids safe, and at the time we did not have enough tests to give away to college kids,” Mathers said. “We needed to do a large pool screening and so I wondered if you could test wastewater on a massive, building-level scale. That’s why we started developing it.

“I think it worked … We pulled out several asymptomatic positive students before it could reach double digits in a 100-person dorm, as had happened on many other campuses.”

38UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group Innovator of the Year

Innovator of the Year

More recently, Mathers’ focus has been on monitoring for the emergence of variants. In this work, she is applying the foundational infrastructure established through the Licensing & Ventures Group’s bacterial sequencing efforts to sequence SARS CoV-2 to assist with the public health efforts. She has now sequenced thousands of samples and provided data to the state for monitoring emergence of variants.

Mathers, who has two daughters with her husband Billy Jones, an occupational therapist at UVA whom she met back at Humboldt State, is hopeful that the pandemic is winding down.

Professionally speaking, she said she has come to a realization over these last several months. “I love to do research. I’m addicted to discovery. There’s nothing I love more than discovering something in science that nobody has ever seen or known before. I can savor that moment for months and months and months… I love that feeling,” she said.

“But at the end of the day I think that applied research is more important than making discoveries for discovery’s sake. What is most rewarding is when the discoveries we are making are used to help make things better for everyone.”

Mathers joined a handful of other UVA infectious diseases experts who have been named Innovator of the Year, including Dr. Rebecca Dillingham, who earned the honor in 2020, and Dr. William A. Petri, the 2003 winner.

Mathers said Petri influenced her at the start of the pandemic by something he said.

“He said that if there has been a time to make a difference in infectious disease, it’s now,” Mathers said. “I kind of heard that call and said, ‘Yeah, if ever I hope to make a difference with research, it’s now.’

“I saw there was a great need and felt very driven to help wherever I could. I knew that I had a skill set that was well-suited to answering many of the really hard questions and to kind of lead and drive some of the things that could really help save lives.”

Editor’s Note: This article originally published Nov. 8, 2021 in UVA Today.

Enriching the Ecosystem

New venture creation is one of the pillars of economic development that drives job creation and helps attract and retain industry in Charlottesville. We are thrilled to support LVG as they elevate this program with expert industry veterans to launch new ventures from the UVA research portfolio.”

– Pace Lochte (EDUC ’05, DARDEN ’08), Assistant VP for Economic Development

In 2019, LVG launched an “Entrepreneurs in Residence” program of experts, entrepreneurs and executives in residence to accelerate startup formation from the UVA research portfolio. Since then, we have been able to significantly scale the program and contribute to the growth of the Charlottesville innovation ecosystem thanks to our strategic partners.

Supported by the UVA Office of Economic Development, Albemarle County Economic Development and the City of Charlottesville Office of Economic Development, the LVG EIR program is now a powerful resource offering UVA faculty innovators access to seasoned professionals with experience in early-stage technology commercialization and new venture creation.

By formalizing this program and expanding its scope, we have also been able to extend our resources in support of our community partner, CvilleBioHub, to launch their own EIR program. Three years ago, CvilleBioHub was awarded $548,000 from the GO Virginia Initiative to lead the growth and expansion of the biotechnology innovation cluster in Central Virginia.

40UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group

Entrepreneurs in Residence

Our cohort of EIRs includes leaders who are UVA alumni, founders and investors who possess business acumen, industry experience with early tech commercialization, strategic planning and fundraising. Two of the EIRs in our first cohort have successfully launched and sold UVA startup companies in the last decade.

Helen Boyd Executive in Residence

Helen Boyd has nine years of experience in the energy industry, working in various finance positions at different subsidiaries of the Royal Dutch / Shell Group in both the U.K. and U.S. Helen’s experience at Shell included working in corporate strategy, shipping, and as finance advisor, finance manager and risk control manager in several different trading subsidiaries.

Entrepreneur in Residence

Kevin Combs is a founder, entrepreneur and investor with experience in building operating companies to produce outsized value, while maintaining fiscal conservativeness. He is currently the CEO and Managing Director of Keswick Pharmaceuticals, a privately held company focused on commercializing Rx pharmaceutical products for areas of unmet or under-met disease states.

Andrew Krouse

Entrepreneur in Residence

Andrew Krouse has over a decade of biotech investing and leadership experience with a track record of success as the founder and CEO of Tau Therapeutics, LLC, Xdynia LLC, and venture backed Cavion, Inc. Prior to his experience in the pharmaceutical industry, he worked as an analyst for Goldman Sachs, NYC, and served as Vice President of the UVA Darden Graduate School of Business. Most recently, he led the acquisition of UVA startup, Cavion, to industry leader Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

Mike Raker

Entrepreneur in Residence

Mike Raker is the CTO of Improbable Defence, a mission-focused technology company working to transform the national security of our nations and their allies. Raker is also an active member of both the Charlottesville Angel Network and the Country Roads Angel Network.

Chad Rogers

Entrepreneur in Residence

Chad Rogers is a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in medical device technology, early stage startup management and venture capital. Rogers founded TypeZero Technologies, Inc. in 2013 and has led several successful startups throughout the course of his career as an investor, consultant and corporate executive. In 2018, TypeZero was acquired by the medical device company Dexcom (DXCM), a leader in continuous glucose monitoring technology.

Kevin Combs
Inside LVG
COM ‘97ENGR ‘00

Executive in Residence Helming HIV Care Platform

Thousands of people with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS, are overcoming barriers to their care thanks to a mobile health platform licensed by Warm Health Technology, a Charlottesvillebased company started by UVA LVG.

Warm Health Technology President and Chief Operating Officer

Helen Boyd, a member of LVG’s Entrepreneur in Residence program, is helping get PositiveLinks into the hands of the people who need it most.

Recently, the platform was lauded by the Health Resources and Services Administration -- a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency that oversees the federally funded Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program – as a best practice.

“The fact that HRSA has recognized PositiveLinks as a best practice will help to support requests for funding from any organization that provides care for people with HIV and hopes to include this powerful tool in their box,” Boyd said. “We hope that this endorsement will allow more patients to use the platform and have better long-term health outcomes. They will be able to keep their medication adherence strong, achieve viral suppression and thrive.”

Developed at UVA by Rebecca Dillingham, an infectious disease physician, and Karen Ingersoll, a clinical psychologist, PositiveLinks – available to healthcare organizations throughout the U.S. and worldwide under the name PL Cares – is deployed by clinics and community-based organizations to connect people with HIV to a digital support community.

The client-facing app helps people with a new diagnosis of HIV become engaged with care and helps people at risk of dropping out of care overcome barriers, including geographic or social isolation. From the app,

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Inside LVG



people can access HIPAA-compliant patient dashboards, secure messaging with clinic providers, patient lab records and social support from other people with HIV.

The HRSA recognition follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors including PositiveLinks in their compendia of recommended interventions for the support of people with HIV.

“We are thrilled for Helen and the entire team at Warm Health Technology,” UVA LVG Executive Director Richard Chylla said. “This is a platform that continues to help so many people around the world, which aligns with our core mission here at LVG. We couldn’t be more proud.”

Boyd has been an Executive in Residence in LVG’s EIR program since 2019.

“The LVG executives in residence come from a variety of backgrounds and provide a wealth of realworld experience that can be applied to strengthen the ideas and inventions developed at UVA,” Boyd said. “While an academic setting is a great environment for research and the creation of new ideas and products, there are so many steps to consider if you want to make your invention available to others beyond the walls of UVA.

“Whether someone is looking to create a startup company to commercialize their invention, get input on what investors are looking for, or decide whether their idea would be better suited to a nonprofit setting, the EIRs can provide advice and help develop a plan for moving forward.”

Inside LVG

Tech Transfer 101

LVG maintains experiential learning opportunities for students to engage in our business processes which require broad scientific expertise, business insight and legal acumen to convert scientific research into practical applications. Using real examples from our pipeline, students gain hands-on professional experience while providing tangible support to our team.

My internship with the LVG licensing team coincided with the end of my Ph.D. program at UVA when I was exploring post-graduation career opportunities. It was a great experience that gave me insight into different aspects of technology transfer from licensing to intellectual property. It helped me decide to pursue a career in the field, and following graduation, I joined Ice Miller LLP as a Technical Advisor. I currently work at the firm as a Patent Agent and enjoy applying my technical knowledge to the role and learning about different biotech inventions”

–Sarah Pollock, Ph.D. (BIMS ’19)

Technology Commercialization Workshop

In FY20, LVG formalized our licensing educational programming and internships into a comprehensive Technology Commercialization Workshop which serves as a prerequisite for a spring internship with the LVG licensing team. UVA graduate students and post-doc fellows gain a basic understanding of technology commercialization and learn to identify the value of scientific and technological innovations to the world of industry, business, and entrepreneurship.

Led by LVG Licensing Associate Cortney Mushill, the two-night workshop covers everything from intellectual property management and effectively protecting and commercializing the results of scientific research to business development and licensing negotiations. This year’s event will take place on Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 at LVG’s offices.

In collaboration with the UVA Law School and the UVA Darden School of Business, LVG offers accredited curriculum coursework opportunities and internships for professional students throughout the year.

Patent Law & Licensing Clinic

Each semester, LVG – under the direction of Senior Patent Attorney & General Counsel Rob Decker and licensing team members -- runs a UVA School of Law clinic in which students learn how to evaluate inventions and computer software for patentability and commercial value; counsel investors regarding patentability; determine inventorship; and prepare, file and prosecute provisional U.S. and international patent applications.

Due Diligence in Seed Fund Investing

Due Diligence in Seed Fund Investing is an elective course offered within the entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy discipline of Darden’s MBA curriculum. Each year, 12 second-year students join the class led by Bob Creeden, Managing Director of the LVG Seed Fund & New Ventures. Students gain exposure to the operations of the LVG Seed Fund and learn an industry-proven diligence process using real examples from our pipeline.

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Inside LVG

UVA LVG Internships

In LVG’s internship program, students learn about the process of taking earlystage technologies from the lab to the marketplace.

Ph.D. Students Learn Finer Points of Commercialization Through LVG Program

Working in a University of Virginia chemistry and mechanical engineering lab came naturally to Ph.D. candidate Rachelle Turiello. Prior to her time at UVA, she worked for the Baltimore Police Department’s Crime Scene Unit and in the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Forensic DNA/Serology Unit.

But when it came to taking some of the innovations from an academic lab setting and pitching them during presentations to scientists and potential investors for commercialization, the next step in turning an invention into a possible business? Well, that was another story.

“I always struggled to determine which details were worthy of discussion,” Turiello said.

Enter the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group.

Every spring, LVG has a paid internship program designed specifically for students like Turiello. The main objective: to teach the commercialization process that is behind taking early-stage technologies from the lab into the marketplace.

Throughout the internship, students gain insight into a career that requires broad scientific expertise, business insight and legal acumen to convert basic research into practical applications.

“Students learn about the business development process and help the LVG team create marketing materials that highlight exciting technologies developed at UVA,” LVG Licensing Associate Cortney Mushill said. “This experience is valuable and a résumé-builder for any position in industry.”

The LVG communications office caught up with Turiello and fellow Ph.D. candidate Renna Nouwairi – a former chemistry, physics and robotics teacher at Stuart Hall School in Staunton – to hear more about their experiences in the program.

Q. What are some specific things you did during your internships, and how do you think the overall experience might help in your future careers?

Turiello: As an intern under the direction of Josh Mauldin, Cortney Mushill and Johnathon Dooley, the priority was to review intellectual property and generate pitch decks for presentations to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies seeking in-licensing at the 2022 BIO International Conference. Developing these decks can be tricky and requires curating a narrative for reviewers that illustrates the potential impact of the work as a whole, rather than showcasing the experimental details or early hurdles.

The team met with us each week to discuss our decks, ensuring that UVA technologies were properly detailed and accurately depicting each creative, robust approach. The experience has certainly informed my role as a Ph.D. candidate in [UVA professor] James Landers’ lab. I’m certain my new skills will be an asset as I move forward with my projected career goals.

Nouwairi: In our research lab, we work to create technology with the potential for commercialization. Through LVG, we put together marketing material, specifically pitch decks, for UVA technology that will be shown to interested companies seeking in-licensing. It has been informative to see what goes into tech transfer from a legal standpoint as opposed to a science viewpoint.

For example, as scientists, we tend to emphasize the details in methodology and the results of every experiment that led to our conclusions. But when pitching to a company or investor, it is more important to focus on the overall impact of a technology and show just a few influential pieces of the data that support the bigger picture. Knowing this, we have adjusted how we pitch our research when applying for grants, talking to potential sources of funding, and even updating collaborators. Working with LVG has been a wonderful learning experience.

Inside LVG

LVG Staff



UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA Licensing & Ventures Group Lakshmi Narayanan Licensing Analyst Leadership Richard W. Chylla Executive Director Robert J. Creeden Managing Director, UVA LVG Seed Fund & New Ventures Joshua P. Mauldin Director, Licensing Cortney L. Mushill, Ph.D. Licensing Associate Jay Hyun-Jung Lee Licensing Associate Johnathon Dooley Licensing Analyst Robert J. Decker, J.D. Senior Patent & General Counsel Paul Coaker Legal Assistant G. Eden Para Senior Patent Paralegal Seed Fund & New Ventures Jill Simandl Director of Finance and Operations Matthew D. Rannals Senior Venture Associate
Inside LVG


Nicole L. Leister Information & Compliance Manager Whitelaw Reid Manager of Strategic Communications Maggie Hyde Executive Assistant/ Office Manager Mary Anderson Finance Assistant
Inside LVG
722 Preston Avenue, Suite 107 P.O. Box 80075 Charlottesville, VA 22903 434-924-2175 Phone lvg@virginia.edu 434-982-1583 Fax lvg.virginia.edu

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