2022 Update Report

Walida Ali, Ellen Horste and Travis Linderman

December 30, 2022

Academic Venture Exchange (AVX) is proud to launch the AVX Venture Spotlight – a newsletter that highlights promising startups spinning out of our 40 partner universities. Our purpose is to showcase investable, early-stage ventures to the stakeholders that can support their commercialization journey.

As we move forward with this new effort, we would first like to offer some words of appreciation for Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu, PhD. Hamdi served at the helm of AVX during four years of explosive growth. In that time, he established solid partnerships with university tech transfer offices that resulted in thousands of high-impact connections. Hamdi matched 90 startups to leadership teams that enabled over $470 million of follow-on investment. We thank Hamdi for working tirelessly to support the commercialization of university research.

Guided by Travis Linderman and Tim Honaker, a thorough audit is underway to ensure the AVX platform provides the most accurate snapshot of meaningful venture opportunities. To further the impact of this work, we have scaled our team to enhance our outreach to seasoned entrepreneurs with a desire to lead IP-backed startups. If you are an entrepreneur looking for your next deep tech opportunity, please connect with us.

AVX spotlight - showcasing several investable, early-stage, deep tech ventures.

Corepower Magnetics

CorePower Magnetics is on a mission to power the world, from advancing electric transport and modernizing the national power grid. Their patented magnetic core technology addresses three critical roadblocks to a battery-powered world: thermal management, power density, and efficiency. But this company goes beyond new alloys made in a lab- they have demonstrated a fully scalable in-line manufacturing process that allows the tech to be fully commercialized and adapted by the industry at scale.

CorePower Magnetics spun out of a Carnegie Mellon lab in 2020, following over a decade of academic research and development, and by September of 2022 they have already raised $2.5M in pre-seed funding. The team is led by Sam Kernion as CEO, Paul Ohodnicki Jr., as CTO, Leah Ohodnicki as COO, and Kevin Byerly as lead engineer. We are proud to present this power-dense group and will continue to highlight their progress in accelerating the field of renewable energy.

Toragen Inc

San Diego based drug therapeutics company Toragen is repurposing an old antimicrobial drug for a new trick- fighting HPV associated head and neck cancer. Research coming out of the UCSD laboratory demonstrates that their lead candidate, previously approved by the FDA for a non-cancer indication, is a potent and targeted suppressor of HPV+ tumor cell growth. Toragen now has the distinct advantage of working with a de-risked compound in a dismal disease indication, hopefully speeding the process to approval and expanding treatment options for these patients.

After securing an impressive seed raise of $5.4M, Toragen prepares for a phase I clinical trial of its lead compound in patients with HPV-associated malignancies. Beyond the company’s clinical candidate is a discovery pipeline of developmental compounds targeting oncogenic viruses. Toragen is off to an outstanding start, we look forward to tracking the progress of the drugs- both old and new.

Impact Proteomics

The patented technology developed by Impact Proteomics aims to transform the field of proteomics into a powerhouse of diagnostics and drug discovery on the level of genomics and transcriptomics. The proprietary sample preparation kit, which guarantees fast production of high quality, reproducible proteomic samples, is already generating sales through their eCommerce site and the customer base is growing. Beyond transforming medical research, Impact Proteomics is using their technology platform to develop autoimmune disorder diagnostic tools to benefit over 13 million patients suffering without diagnoses. Proteins are at the heart of therapeutic, biomarker, and drug discovery research, yet the proteome remains tremendously understudied. Impact Proteomics fills in the gap left by genomics and transcriptomics in personalized diagnostics, a $40 billion market and growing.  

Impact Proteomics is the brainchild of Dr. Jonathan S. Minden, Professor of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. Over 20 years of research in the field of proteomics endowed him with the knowledge and skill to the major pain points in this field. Co-founder Dr. Amber Wilson and Dr. Stephanie Biedka join him in driving Impact Proteomics forward.

The team has successfully secured non-diluting grants and seed investment and is seeking an experienced C-suite to drive business development and growth.

CDR3 Therapeutics

The proprietary, patented CDR3 approach to immunotherapy employs in vivo production of engineered T cells by encoding the TCR/CAR into patient-derived HSCs. The body continuously develops new engineered T cells leading to the long-term engraftment required to fight solid tumors. The natural thymic education of the engineered cells removes harmful, self-reactive T cells reducing the risk of dangerous adverse effects such as cytokine release syndrome. The promise of the CDR3 platform is safer and more effective immunotherapy for virus-associated solid tumors.

CDR3 is based on the research of three prominent immunologists at UCLA: Scott G. Kitchen (PhD), Otto O. Yang (MD), and Jerome A. Zack (PhD). The team is led by seasoned life science CEO Matthew C. Lorence (PhD, MBA).

CDR3 is aided in their launch by the prestigious Creative Destruction Lab. They are seeking seed investment for laboratory space and staff, and C-suite leadership to effectively manage biopharma partnerships and clinical trial execution.