BERKELEY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Berkeley SkyDeck, the global hub for entrepreneurship and a leading accelerator, today announced that it has welcomed the first three companies for its new SkyDeck LSEC Bio Track: AsparaGlue, Editpep, and MZR Neurotech. The inaugural track, created in partnership with the UC Berkeley Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center (LSEC) through LSEC’s new Venture Grant Program, will assist the UC Berkeley faculty-led teams to launch their own biotech and life sciences startup companies. The startups will receive investment from the SkyDeck Fund, access to Berkeley SkyDeck’s programming and network, and other critical resources.
Selected from a large and strong pool of applicants, each of the three newly formed companies will receive a minimum of $200,000: $100,000 as an academic translational grant from Berkeley LSEC and a $100,000 investment from the SkyDeck Fund, with an option to invest an additional $100,000. These startups will participate in Berkeley SkyDeck’s latest cohort, Batch 16, giving them access to a wide network of UC Berkeley alumni and over 600 dedicated advisors, 60 live entrepreneurship classes, investor introductions and a large, well-attended demo day. Team members of each company are auditing BioEng 153/253, Biotechnology Entrepreneurship, to continue honing their knowledge of launching and managing a new company. Finally, the startups will participate in programs offered by the Haas School of Business and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences at UC Berkeley.
The LSEC Venture Grant awardees participating in the inaugural SkyDeck LSEC Bio Track are as follows:
AsparaGlue, founded by Professor and Chair of Bioengineering Phillip Messersmith and his postdoc Subhajit Pal. AsparaGlue has developed a superglue-like medical adhesive that can be uniquely used for both external wound closure as well as internal tissue adhesion and sealing.
Editpep, founded by Innovative Genomics Institute Professor Ross Wilson and Berkeley Haas MBA candidate Malu Kannuswamy. Editpep has developed a class of peptides capable of conveying CRISPR enzymes into clinically-relevant and previously untransfectable cell types.
MZR Neurotech, founded by Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Professor Rikky Muller, her postdoc Ryan Kaveh, and PhD candidates Saavan Patel and Arya Reais-Parsi. MZR has developed an in-ear EEG sensor for sleep monitoring and more.
“Berkeley LSEC and Berkeley SkyDeck share the same goals: to amplify and accelerate the growth of companies with world-changing potential. As expected, we had many prominent Berkeley faculty-led teams apply with cutting-edge IP and had to make some difficult decisions. We are excited to see how each of our first three alumni go on to succeed,” said Darren Cooke, Executive Director of Berkeley LSEC and the chair of the Bio Track at Berkeley SkyDeck.
Alumni of Berkeley SkyDeck, which include Deepscribe, MindsDB, Chemix, and Xendit, have enjoyed great success in their respective industries, collectively raising more than $1.7 billion in funding, with nearly 20 exits through acquisition or public offering. The program has also launched Berkeley SkyDeck Europe to expand its global footprint, with its first cohort presenting at a Demo Day this past fall.
“In just four years, we have built a successful accelerator and extensive network of resources to help each and every of our companies reach their full potential. The SkyDeck LSEC Bio Track is an exciting new integration with LSEC and the UC Berkeley ecosystem, and we anticipate great things from AsparaGlue, Editpep, and MZR Neurotech,” said Chon Tang, Founding Partner, Berkeley SkyDeck Fund. “I look forward to introducing each of these companies to investors from Silicon Valley and beyond.”
Berkeley SkyDeck recently closed applications for Batch 16, with the cohort term expected to start in early May 2023. Now in its fourth year and investing from its $60 million Fund II, SkyDeck Fund has invested in 180 companies, representing a wide range of businesses and industries from 30 countries around the world. A new generation venture fund, SkyDeck Fund shares half of its profits with UC Berkeley, thereby continuing the university’s mission of delivering excellence in education.
“UC Berkeley has built a reputation for being a top entrepreneurship school globally, and both Berkeley SkyDeck and LSEC have already significantly contributed to that reputation. Each of the three companies selected represent the kind of innovation we see from our faculty, and we welcome them to UC Berkeley’s extensive roster of startups and entrepreneurs,” said Richard Lyons, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Innovation & Entrepreneurship Officer, UC Berkeley.
About Berkeley SkyDeck
Berkeley SkyDeck is a leading accelerator and the global hub for entrepreneurship. As UC Berkeley’s largest and most prominent accelerator, SkyDeck combines hands-on mentorship with the vast resources of its research university. SkyDeck is the only accelerator of its kind that offers the value of a dedicated investment fund alongside the resources and network of a top university. To date, SkyDeck startups have raised more than $1.7 billion in aggregate. Participating startups have access to SkyDeck’s 500 advisors, 70 industry partners, and a network of more than 510,000 UC Berkeley alumni. For more information, see skydeck.berkeley.edu.