Tucked behind a single door in the Genome and Biomedical Sciences Facility at UC Davis lies one of the most powerful new engines for getting technology startups off the ground. The TEAM Design, Prototyping, and Fabrication Facilities were launched in January, 2014 to help commercialize technologies developed by UC Davis researchers. TEAM is part of national and UC Davis-wide trend aimed at reenergizing advanced manufacturing and improving United States’ competitiveness in the global economy. As an example, TEAM has enabled two recent startups co-founded by researchers from the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Assistance included administrative support, consulting on steps required to form a business entity, prototyping, and securing funding.
TEAM has also been instrumental in providing facilities and support for new companies to develop prototypes and obtain proof of concept data required to successfully compete for federal funding.
“In just one year, the synergistic partnership with campus built into the TEAM model led to two startups by biomedical engineering professors receiving NSF funding to continue to refine their technologies,” says Dr. Kyriacos Athanasiou, TEAM Director.
Several other startups are in earlier stages of organization. Without the current campus’ infrastructure and amazing campus support for effectively translating research inventions out towards commercialization, these two small companies would not have gotten off the ground. TEAM’s assistance and advice on company formation, proposal submission, Institutional Review Board (IRB) review, and prototyping has not only led to the formation of multiple startups but also to funding.
Key partners across campus work together seamlessly so that TEAM endeavors succeed. Talented faculty and efficient, knowledgeable administrators in the Biomedical Engineering Department, which runs TEAM, work go out of their way to meet deadlines, adhere to requirements, and discover the most effective ways to get jobs done. The TEAM Design, Prototyping, and Fabrication Facilities offer all the tools required to create functional prototypes from almost any idea, from design software to the latest in 3D printing technologies. TEAM is unique in offering molecular prototyping capabilities so that researchers can fabricate molecules and novel microorganisms.
There has been an administrative shift at UC Davis toward building an environment that supports faculty in developing early technology so that they can attract industry’s interest and become a reality for patient health. The UC Office of the President provides Proof of Concept (POC) funding for new technologies that could offer good opportunities for commercialization.
“Whether it is creating prototypes from molecules to machines or taking businesses from startups to manufacturing, TEAM is excited to be part of the amazing ecosystem we have at UCD and the Sacramento region,” says Team Assistant Director, Dr. Jerry C. Hu.