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UC Riverside Office of Technology Partnerships awards $230,000 in Grants to Faculty to Help Commercialize Technologies

The Office of Technology Partnerships (OTP) at UC Riverside (UCR) has awarded $230,000 in grants and expert business mentorship to five (5) Proof of Concept (POC) faculty recipients to further the development and commercialization of their technologies. This funding is available, now for the second year, through a gift provided to UCR by Eurosemillas, S.A., a Spain-based leader in the commercialization of agriculture innovations.  The gift funds the Eurosemillas Technology Acceleration Program managed by UCR OTP.

This year, 24 UCR faculty applied for the funding, 13 of which were selected to present to a panel of industry experts and investors. Each faculty member invited to present worked with an OTP Entrepreneur-in-Residence that provided mentoring in preparation for the event.  “Faculty are connecting with our programs earlier in the research and commercialization process, which is better preparing them for funding opportunities that support the commercialization of their technology,” said Dr. Ochoa, associate vice chancellor of Technology Partnerships at UCR. “With the help of our funding partners, like Eurosemillas, we have been able to expand our reach and now the Proof-of-Concept grant call for proposals is international, this year we saw applications from researchers from Spain and Chile in addition to UCR.”

“We are pleased to fund commercialization of technologies that will help real world problems.  Every year we are more impressed with the quality of the projects and the research.  The UCR team and group of expert judges have a good process to identify promising technologies and support them along the way.” said Javier Cano Pecci, Chief Executive and Development Officer of Eurosemillas. 

The five projects awarded POC funding include:

“Solar battery” is a unique technology that combines power collection and power storage in a single solar panel.  The technology, developed by UCR assistant project scientist at CE-CERT Alfredo Martinez-Morales, eliminates the need for battery backup for solar systems and reduces the overall installed cost for solar. 

“Targeting pancreatic cancer metastases with first-in-class EphA2 agonistic agents” is a therapeutic molecule that helps prevent fatal pancreatic cancer metastases using a first-in-class EphA2 agonist called Targefrins. Targefrin can either suppress metastasis as a single therapeutic molecule or can have a chemically attached warhead which can enter and kill various types of cancer. Targefrin, developed by UCR professor of Biomedical Sciences Maurizio Pellecchia, has commercial applications in medicine and therapeutics and academic research fields.

“Targeted delivery of pesticides enabled by nanotechnology” significantly reduces the use of agricultural-based chemicals by 10x or more through the use of nanotechnology-based delivery agents. The technology, developed by UCR assistant professor of Botany and Plant Sciences Juan Pablo Giraldo, provides a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution for farmers.

“Device to treat acute edema in spinal cord injury” is an osmotic transport device (OTD) designed to remove excess fluid and swelling at the injury site for patients enduring traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. The surgically mounted device developed by UCR professor of Bioengineering Victor Rodgers, is designed to facilitate enhanced neuroprotective treatment and prevent secondary injuries that could lead to reductions in motor, sensory and autonomic functions in those affected.

 “A novel medical device for rapid and routine lung diagnosis and monitoring” is a handheld rapid Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) device designed for use by general practitioners (GP) during routine physical examinations to diagnose early-stage lung disorders. The device, developed by UCR assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering Mona Eskandari, accurately measures the flow pressure of breath in and out of the lungs enabling physicians to diagnose early and better predict a patient’s risk of serious disease.

The Office of Technology Partnerships facilitates the development and commercialization​ of ideas emanating from UCR and the community​ for the benefit of society. In the past six years the office has invested $1.86 million in Proof-of-Concept funds for 54 projects to help advance commercialization of faculty technologies. OTP is looking for donors and supporters of this fund.  If you, or anyone you know would like to financially support the commercialization of a UCR technology you can donate here. For more information on OTP’s POC program, contact Brian Suh at brian.suh@ucr.edu