Med tech innovations program launches at UC Davis Health System

Event speakers © UC Regents
Researchers and community leaders gathered to celebrate the launch of a new commercializion clinic at UC Davis Health System. Pictured left to right are Dennis Matthews, Claire Pomeroy, Doris Matsui, Warren Smith, Gabriela Lee and Michael Groza.

Posted July 14, 2010

From developing health-care applications for smartphones and stem cell-based “bandages” to creating other medical devices and biological products for treating injury and disease, UC Davis Health System’s Medical Technology Commercialization Clinic promises to be the launch pad for local innovation and economic growth in Sacramento.

The health system hosted a kickoff event for the clinic on July 8 on the Sacramento campus of UC Davis. The event was part of the university’s Partnerships for Innovation project, a National Science Foundation-sponsored initiative to encourage collaborations among scientists, educators, community and business leaders, and students in order to develop new medical technologies that advance health care and stimulate the local economy.

The overall goal is to identify medical needs and assess the technical feasibility, market potential and commercialization strategies of emerging technologies. Among the local research projects with commercial potential is a biological “bandage” — a wound-dressing made from stem cells that could improve the healing of burns and non-healing ulcers. Scientists at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures are working to develop the cellular scaffolding — or framework — that can support the growth of stem cells for biological repair.

Claire Pomeroy © UC Regents“This program will be a catalyst for bringing research discoveries from our region to the market to improve health care and foster regional economic growth.”
— Claire Pomeroy

“This program will be a catalyst for bringing research discoveries from our region to the market to improve health care and foster regional economic growth," said Claire Pomeroy, principal investigator on the project and CEO of the health system, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis. "We want participants to gain the expertise needed to translate innovative technologies into useful, marketable products that will advance health for all.”

The commercialization clinic event established a new forum for science and engineering faculty and students from UC Davis, Nashville-based Fisk University, Sacramento State and the Los Rios Community College District to interact with medical researchers, graduate business students and experienced entrepreneurs. The diverse group will have the opportunity to share new discoveries and learn the fundamentals of technology transfer.

Center for Biophotonics Science & Technology

Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology © UC RegentsThe Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology advances research, development and applications of new optical/photonic tools and technology in medicine and the life sciences.

CBST's unique location and environment enables engineers to collaborate with basic scientists and physicians at UC Davis Health System to bring new biotechnologies from bench to bedside.

Projects supported by CBST include super-resolution optical microscopies, advanced imaging and manipulation of living cells and biological systems, engineered fluorescent proteins, label-free cell analysis by Raman scattering spectroscopy, molecular sensors and assays and in vivo diagnostics using advanced endoscopy. Click here to learn more.

Partners in the project, led by the UC Davis Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology, include the Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance and its MedStart Initiative, Pride Industries, T2 Venture Capital, Wavepoint Ventures, the cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento, and the law firm of Fenwick and West.

Clinic participants will work together over the next two years to identify unmet medical needs, conduct technology and market assessments, gain design and prototyping experience, and develop plans for commercialization. They will be matched with expert mentors who have strong histories in technology commercialization. This fall, participants will compete for three awards worth up to $15,000 each for the best commercialization plans.

“This clinic is an incredible opportunity for students and scientists to gain entrepreneurial expertise and apply it to real commercialization projects,” said Gabriela Lee, director of partnerships and new program development at the UC Davis Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology and manager of the commercialization project. “For instance, we have a researcher who’s developing a device that could provide physicians with a non-invasive way to detect potential cancer cells in the esophagus. It’s got great potential, but requires help from someone with business experience to have market value and, ultimately, real health-care benefits.”

In addition to Lee and Pomeroy, speakers at the event included Sacramento Congresswoman Doris Matsui; Michael Groza, research scientist in physics at Fisk University; Arna Ionescu from the Proteus Biomedical company; Cristina Davis, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Davis; and Josephine Yuen, program director with the National Science Foundation.

Co-investigators of the Partnerships for Innovation project include Dennis Matthews, director of the UC Davis Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology; Arnold Burger, professor of physics at Fisk University; and Warren Smith, professor of electrical and electronic engineering at Sacramento State.