Business & Real Estate

UC Davis says it helped launch 13 startups

UC Davis, which has vowed to foster entrepreneurship in the greater Sacramento community, said Wednesday it helped get 13 startup companies launched in the past fiscal year.

That was one short of the campus record, achieved the year before.

Each of the 13 new companies is commercializing technologies developed at UC Davis, the university said, with a heavy emphasis on medicine and life-sciences technology. Turning more campus inventions into commercial businesses has been one of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s major goals since she took over in 2009 at the University of California, Davis.

“UC Davis was very supportive,” said Trisha Pfluger, a UCD graduate and chief executive of Juno BioMedical Inc., one of the 13 new companies. The five-employee startup, based in Davis, is attempting to commercialize a device invented by her professor that uses electrical currents to help repair brain tissue damaged by stroke and other injuries.

Pfluger said the university helped her connect with a law firm that incorporated the business. UC Davis also bankrolled the costs of getting the professor’s patent approved. All told, UC Davis probably saved the company $20,000 or more in startup costs.

Getting tech companies launched in the greater Sacramento area remains a challenge. Many UC Davis inventions wind up becoming the foundations of companies in the Bay Area or other regions that are richer in startup capital and other assets. Of the 13 companies started in the past year with UC Davis know-how, one is based in Cambridge, Mass.

Pfluger, though, said she considers her Davis headquarters a plus. The company has been able to attract more attention in Davis than it would in the Bay Area.

“We’re still in Davis and planning on staying in Davis,” she said.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler