Releases & Media Relations

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper published on October 24, 2008 an article dealing with UNC and its start-up companies entitled ‘School for Start-ups: Biotech spinoffs help fund programs at Santa Rosa campus’.


News and Publications

Research school to locate in Santa Rosa


North Bay Business Journal – Monday, January 21, 2008

SANTA ROSA – The University of Northern California, a small research university and technology incubator devoted to biomedical devices, is expanding into a new Santa Rosa location in anticipation of enrollment growth.

The university has signed a lease for about 35,000 square feet, in a vacant 47,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by what is now Medtronic CardioVascular. The new space, located at 2330 Circadian Way in the Santa Rosa Corporate Center in southwest Santa Rosa, is about triple the size of UNC’s former location in Petaluma.

“It’s likely we’ll expand into the whole thing as time goes on,” said Dr. John Stalcup, provost for the university and director of its Science & Technology Innovation Center.

UNC’s move to Santa Rosa came after the university backed away from a building in Rohnert Park. The Santa Rosa location was attractive because of its previous use by a medical device company, according to Michael White of Orion Partners LTD, which brokered the lease.

“There was already a clean room in place there, which was really what drew them to it,” Mr. White said.

UNC currently has 12 students, and expects that number will reach 25 to 30 during the next year and a half, according to Dr. Stalcup.

In addition to academic research, UNC has formed several medical-tech startups, which will use the new building for research and product development. The startups are central to the university’s business model, according to Dr. Stalcup, because they provide research opportunities for students and bring in funding that helps support scholarships and fellowships.

“Our purpose is to either license the technology to another biomedical device company, or actually create a company and take it as far as we can, and then look for an a acquisition by another device company,” Dr. Stalcup said.

Farthest along among the startups is Osseon Therapeutics, which has developed an advanced bone cement and delivery system that can be used in vertebroplasty, which is used to treat compression fractures caused by osteoporosis, cancer, and other conditions.

Osseon has already raised $800,000 and expects to close a $4 million Series A round this spring, according to Dr. Stalcup.

Another company, Tisugen Therapeutics, developed a device for treating osteoarthritis of the knee. The device electrically stimulates the knee, which can relieve pain and could possibly help regenerate tissue, according to Dr. Stalcup. The company has raised $250,000, and will start clinical trials for the device this year in Santa Rosa and Portland, OR.

A third startup, using the working name “Sapphire,” is developing a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins.

According to Dr. Stalcup, UNC has a list of 34 students who are interested in the university, but funding limits the number it can accept.

“We only bring on students when we can provide complete tuition and expense reimbursement,” Dr. Stalcup said. One of the reasons for spinning off the companies and licensing the products is
to build up our endowment so we can bring on more students.”

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