Office of Research, UC Riverside
Office of Technology Commercialization

Start-Up Companies - UC Riverside

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Technology Licensed: Insect Repellant
Faculty: Dr. Anand Ray

Development of a novel class of spatial, non-insecticidal insect repellents that manipulates the primary mechanism used in host-seeking is underway at Olfactor Laboratories, Inc. (OLI), an Innovation Economy Corporation company. Blood-feeding insects such as mosquitoes, which spread malaria, dengue and filariasis, track their prey through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in breath using their olfactory neurons (sense of smell). Dr. Anandasankar Ray of the University of California, Riverside (UCR), Entomology Department, demonstrated in the internationally renowned scientific journal Nature that the CO2 receptor in mosquitos can be activated or inhibited by small molecules. This patent-pending technology was supported prior to Olfactor Laboratory's involvement by UCR, the National Institute of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and represents a revolutionary paradigm shift in the war against vector insects and the diseases they transmit.

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Technology Licensed: Replacement of Phosphate by Phosphite as a Nutrient Source for Plants
Faculty: Dr. Carol Lovatt

Biagro Western Sales, Inc. was founded in March 1993 by two agriculturists who have a rich history in California agriculture and agricultural research and development. Biagro Western is a research and technology driven company that believes good science and good business go hand-in-hand. The company has established an excellent track record of taking innovative approaches to problem solving from the laboratory to the market place. The company's current product portfolio includes Nutri-Phite®, and Nutri-Grow® phosphite plant nutrition products, which are patented and licensed by the University of California. Biagro Western has recently introduced Sulfone™, derived from technology developed and patented by Dr. Joe Gauges in England and assigned to Biagro Western Sales. Biagro Western has developed these products for global markets including both agriculture and horticulture (turf, ornamental, bedding and landscaping) uses.

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Technology Licensed: Nano-Sensors
Faculty: Dr. Nosang Myung        

Nano Engineered Applications, Inc. is focused on commercializing patent pending, air-borne chemical detection technology. With NEA's cost-effective and scalable fabrication techniques, this research advancement can be transformed into portable devices that detect minute quantities of harmful air-borne substances. NEA concentrates on addressing the critical chemical and gas-detection needs of a broad spectrum of global industries:
• The technology uses functionalized carbon nanotubes (tubular carbon molecules) that are 100,000 times finer than human hair and when functionalized are able to detect a multitude of targeted air-borne substances.
• Near term, Nano Engineered Applications, Inc. will focus on product design for low power, high-density sensors. These sensors will be able to be integrated into portable devices, such as cell phones, and detect gases in the air, in real-time.
• NEA plans to enter the global market with low-cost solutions for easily monitoring harmful chemicals and air-borne toxins.

The Idea Zoo

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Technology Licensed: Superparamagnetic Nanocrystals
Faculty: Dr. Yadong Yin

COLR™ Technology is based on a breakthrough discovery by Dr. Yadong Yin in 2007.  He devised a simple, inexpensive method to synthesize precisely agglomerated Colloidal Nanocrystal Clusters (CNC) out of iron oxide. The resulting CNC are superparamagnetic, highly stable, and highly responsive to a magnetic field and can be easily engineered/ coated for compatibility across a wide array of carrier medium. To achieve tunability, the CNC are placed in a carrier medium. The coating on the CNC creates a repulsive force, keeping the CNC dispersed in the carrier medium. When a magnetic field is applied the attractive force balances with the repulsive force of the CNC, forcing the CNC to self-align into a lattice-like structure. UV, Visible and IR wavelengths can be refracted instantaneously by adjusting the strength of the magnetic field; brilliant, iridescent colors seem to appear "out of nowhere".

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Technology Licensed: Carbon nanotube Infrared Sensor Technology
Faculty: Dr. Robert Haddon

CSI was established in 1998 with the goal of manufacturing single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), in bulk quantities. In spite of its relatively short history the company has become one of the leading nanotechnology companies due to its reputation for producing high quality chemically processed carbon nanotube materials for commercial sale. CSI is the acknowledged leader in the development of purity evaluation techniques and was the first to develop quality control and quality assurance criteria for industrial sales of carbon nanotubes.
The company is able to produce carbon nanotubes that are suitable for virtually any application by virtue of its ability to chemically process the SWNTs so as to introduce the necessary chemical functionality for compatibility with common industrial processes. The company currently has strong business relationships with leading companies interested in the development of carbon nanotube-based sensors, flexible electronics, transparent conductors, infrared and visible photo detectors.

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Technology Licensed: Hydrogasification Methods and Technologies
Faculty: Dr. Joe Norbeck and Dr. Chan Park

The Viresco Process is an innovative gasification technology based on a combination of steam hydrogasification and reforming. The process was originally developed by the Bourns College of Engineering - Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). The carbonaceous feedstock is first converted to a fuel gas, containing a significant quantity of methane. This is accomplished by means of steam hydrogasification, where the carbonaceous feed simultaneously reacts with steam and hydrogen. The fuel gas is then subjected to gas cleanup and then reformed to generate synthesis gas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen). In the third step, the synthesis gas is converted in to a synthetic fuel over a high- efficiency catalyst. Examples of such synthetic fuels are Fischer-Tropsch (FT) diesel, methanol and dimethyl ether (DME). The fuel gas can also be converted into electric power. The production of high energy density liquid fuels such as the FT diesel is the primary focus of Viresco Energy.
Viresco Process offers several advantages over conventional air or oxygen blown gasification processes in the usage of waste streams as feedstocks. Carbonaceous waste streams are localized feedstocks that are available in smaller quantities in several locations. Hence, the Viresco process is attractive since oxygen is not required. An important advantage of this process is the use of a slurry feed which enables the use of wet feedstock such as biosolids. Other thermo-chemical conversion processes using wet feeds such as biosolids spend considerable amount of energy on water removal. However, in the Viresco Process, the co-mingling of biosolids with higher energy content feedstocks such as coal or biomass can help achieve the desired feed to water ratios. Thus, this process offers several advantages and can contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and address environmental concerns.
External reviews of the technology concluded that the Viresco Process has the potential for reduced capital costs and higher conversion efficiencies than conventional partial oxidation based processes. These advantages can be translated into a higher rate of return than the competitive processes.
The Viresco Process is protected by 12 patents and patent applications.
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Faculty: Dr. James Lin
Technology Licensed: Enterprise Web-based Facilities Reservation & Management System

C3Tech, Inc. is a start-up company officially launched in 2007 by Dr. James Lin of UCR. C3Tech's software products and services allow organizations to manage their facilities by applying the most cost-effective and efficient technology with quality service. As a result, C3Tech helps its customers manage internal and/or external facilities reservation requests online through the Facilities Reservation System 2.0 (FRS 2.0).  The FRS 2.0 allows management of a customer's facilities reservation and operation status, streamlines the tedious and time consuming facilities reservation administrative processes, and eliminating a potentially high error rate.  This easy, convenient, secure online reservation tool changes the way of traditional facility reservation management. C3Tech also has a 2nd product, the Shared Resources Scheduling and Management (SRS), which was developed and released shortly after FRS 2.0 was launched. SRS is based on the core technology of FRS 2.0.

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Technology Licensed: siRNA tools for Virus Discovery
Faculty: Dr. Shou-wei Ding

UCR's Shouwei Ding and Jian Kang Zhu are experts in the study of RNA and its vital role in biology. Dr. Zhu studies how plants use RNA signals to respond to abiotic stresses such as cold, drought, and excessive UV light.  He has engineered plants that are more highly resistant to these abiotic stresses.  This invention paves the way for higher yielding crops that can thrive in marginal environments. Dr. Ding is investigating the way that organisms use RNA interference to defend themselves from virus attacks.  He's discovered proteins that viruses use to disable the host's RNA defenses.  The discovery provides new insights for new antiviral therapies in humans and crop protection technology in plants. These RNA inventions have been patented by UCR and the technologies licensed to a company called   D-Helix.  Based in San Fransciso and Italy, the company is working to translate these UCR discoveries into commercial products.

Andromeda Scientific

Technology Licensed: Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory
Faculty: Dr. Alexander Khitun

Andromeda Scientific LLC is a company specialized in the development, testing and fabrication of nanoelectronic components for application in memory, logic and sensor devices. Our mission is to bring a new product to the nanoelectronic market. There is big impetus for the development of functional and low-power consuming components based on the recent development in nanoscience.   Andromeda Scientific team possesses unique experience in the development of the logic devices, electronic components, magnetic sensors, and memory devices. Our objective is to take the advantage of using multifunctional materials for the novel multi-functional devices. Andromeda Scientific is open for collaboration with companies and non-profit organizations for the development of novel nanoelectronic devices and architectures. We endeavor to form associations for the purpose of mutual gain and profit.

Optime (Carrot) Neurotechnologies, Inc.

Technology Licensed: Video Games for Training Sensory and Perceptual Skills
Faculty: Dr. Aaron Seitz

Optime Neurotechnologies Inc. is a new company being launched at UC Riverside by Dr. Aaron Seitz and 3 partners from Los Angeles video game industry. Dr. Seitz has conceived research methods that show that scientifically optimized video games can lead to products that can improve the visual abilities of players of those games. Enhanced perceptual abilities can benefit almost all aspects of our lives e.g. improved visual-motor skills, surgical skills, reading skills, etc. Dr. Seitz's methods are grounded on research that shows that participants can gain perceptual benefits whether or not they are aware of the presentation of the trained stimuli as long as the trained stimuli is presented at the same time as a rewarding event and that coordinated auditory visual stimulation can boost learning.

Most video game products in the market do not strategically pair stimuli that would be beneficial for participants to learn with the reinforcement received in the game nor coordinate multisensory elements.  Optime Neurotechnologies Inc. will apply Dr. Seitz's ground breaking research to develop video games for a variety of markets that include civilian, military, medical and educational.

Bear State Materials

Technology Licensed: Nanocrystalline Rare Earth Oxides for Magneto-optic Applications
Faculty: Dr. Javier Garay    

Bear State Materials LLC is a Riverside start-up company created in 2010 by Dr. Javier Garay at the UC Riverside Department of Mechanical Engineering to commercialize high quality opto-magnetic materials. Materials that possess both excellent magnetic proprieties and visible light transparency are extremely rare because useable magnetic properties often require free electrons which in turn are very efficient light absorbers. Successful production of high quality magneto-optical materials has been limited by short comings in processing technology.  Dr.  Garay has developed a novel technique known as Current Activated Pressure Assisted Densification (CAPAD) for fabrication of these materials. By applying both current and pressure, Dr. Garay has designed a system that imparts optical transparency to previously opaque polycrystalline materials. Bear State Materials has received first orders to manufacture magneto-optical faraday components (see top image) for application in new generation sensors, wave guides, spaceflight control, satellite survey and other functional communication devices

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Technology Licensed: Molecular Memory Devices
Faculty: Dr. David Bocian and Dr. Werner Kuhr

UCR professors Werner Kuhr and David Bocian, with collaborators at North
Carolina State University invented novel molecular memory materials that can be used in semiconductors to pack large amounts of information into smaller space than is possible using conventional silicon.  To date, UCR has filed 19 US patents (12 issued) and 13 international patents on the technology.  In 2002, Dr. Kuhr left UCR when he and others founded a startup company called ZettaCore to develop the technology, and Dr. Kuhr maintains his affiliation with UCR and serves as Adjunct Professor of Chemistry.  ZettaCore continues to be the exclusive licensee to UCR's molecular memory patents.  
ZettaCore, based in Denver, CO, is developing molecular materials and processes to enable generation of ultra dense stand alone DRAM memory as well as embedded memory in 45nm and smaller geometries.  The technology can lead to major reductions in manufacturing cost, significant advances in density and performance, and devices requiring much less power than current technology.  Products are in development and are expected to be on the market within two years.

OH-Energy LLC

Technology Licensed: Fuel Cell Technologies
Faculty: Dr. Yushan Yan

OH Energy is a VC-backed start-up company created in 2010 to specifically commercialize innovative fuel cell catalysts invented by Prof. Yushan Yan at the Department of Chemical Engineering at UC Riverside. The core patented inventions is for a new class of fuel cell catalysts based on Platinum Nanotubes (PtNT) and phosphine-based hydroxide exchange membranes. Prof. Yan has applied for 10 US and international patents based on these two technologies.  The PtNt catalyst is expected to reduce the cost of fuel cells by 2/3 and increase their durability by 10x.  This innovation will put fuel cell equipped automobiles and even aircraft economically on par with those of internal combustion engines - but with pure water as the only "exhaust." Laptops and cell phones will be powered for months on a single fuel cartridge. The hydroxide exchange membranes will find other applications in water purification, plastics, resins etc.

Attaisina LLC

Technology Licensed: Unnatural Amino Acid Fret Pair
Faculty: Dr. Jiayu Liao

Attaisina is a start-up company focused on the commercialization of Prof. Jiayu Liao's novel fluorescent amino acids which are capable of undergoing FRET.  The technology here is useful for generating information on protein interactions which will lead to the development of diagnostic, prognostics, therapies and the like.

Spraldi Technologies

Technology Licensed: Tools for Mass Spec analysis
Faculty: Dr. Jason Cheng

Spraldi LLC is exploring commercialization opportunities for a prorprietary nanoscale calcinated silicate film for highly efficient matrix free laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (LDI-MS).

Radoptics, LLC

Technology Licensed: Viral Ghost Diagnostic and therapeutic Methods
Faculty: Dr. Bahman Anvari

Radoptics, incorporated in 2011, is developing the proprietary Viral Ghost technology invented by Prof. Bahman Anvari.   The viral ghosts are agents for encapsulating therapeutic and diagnostic materials for delivery locations of interest within a target cell, tissue or body for imaging and/or treatment.