Launch of UC Davis – HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center Proves Optimistic for New Business Development in the Greater Sacramento Region

HM.CLAUSE and UC Davis recently partnered to establish the valley’s first business incubator with wet lab facilities for startups in the life sciences sector. HM.CLAUSE, who strongly believes that collaboration is a major driver of innovation, volunteered over 3,000 square feet of space on their research campus to house the incubator. The aim is to facilitate the development of University of California, Davis-derived technology into entrepreneurial successes. The facility, which is equipped with chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology lab space, offers twelve bench units for rent at very affordable rates. There is also 1,800 square feet of greenhouse space available for rent by ag-tech related ventures.

The launch party for the incubator, formally known as the UC Davis – HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center, was held on May 7th, 2015. Turnout at the event indicated a huge level of support in the community for this type of facility. Among the more than 150 people in attendance were local political leaders, economic development professionals, and venture capital investment firms, all of whom share a common desire to see businesses in the region advance and thrive.

At the event, guests toured the facility and visited with some of the tenants to learn what the space means to them. The entrepreneurs explained that having access to an affordable and functional workspace was a key factor in deciding to test their ideas further. Paul Feldstein, founder of DtoR whose technology platform helps customize transcription control sequences and optimize gene expression, said he never entertained the idea of starting his own company, but with access to the specialized equipment he needs, he is doing just that.

Making opening remarks at the event, Dushyant Pathak, Associate Vice Chancellor of Technology Management & Corporate Relations for UC Davis, explained that the center is one part of the university’s broader research translation program called Venture Catalyst, which provides tenants with access to structured support services, networking connections, and important startup resources to ensure a “healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Building on that sentiment, Mark Stowers, Global Head of Research and Development at HM.CLAUSE, talked about the role of cross-functional, interdisciplinary collaboration in helping to bring about the next agricultural revolution. “The faculty and research at UC Davis are ranked top in the world, and we are proud to partner with them to help support entrepreneurial advancement in the life sciences,” said Stowers.

Also addressing the crowd was City of Davis Mayor Pro Tempore, Robb Davis, who stressed the importance of attracting and retaining new businesses. “We know that the outcomes of the innovations realized here will resound to the benefit of our local community here in Davis, Yolo County, and beyond. Candidly, we want the innovations that begin here – and the people involved in those innovations – to stay here,” said Davis, who added that the City wants do its part to help nurture the growth of the innovations and companies that come out of the incubator.

DSC_6870_1 (Small)In agreement with that sentiment was Barry Broome, the newly appointed CEO of the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council, who added, “A space like this is critical for driving economic development in our region, but it also sets an example for what will hopefully be more public-private partnerships to follow.”

Also at the event was Amber Harris, program manager of AgStart for SARTA. SARTA is a nonprofit organization that nurtures and develops technology startups in the hopes of making the Sacramento region a nationally recognized center for technological innovation. “We are excited for the launch of this center because it promises to support the growth of technology-driven start-ups within Yolo County,” she said.

The showing at the launch event proved encouraging for new business development in the region, especially in given that economic momentum is building as venture capital firms are investing more and more in Sacramento valley businesses.

For more information about the UC Davis – HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center, please contact venturecatalyst@ucdavis.edu or visit the website.