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18 January 2018

Virginia’s seed fund stocks trio

The university’s seed fund disclosed investments in three companies – Type TearSolutions and Mission Secure – as it announced the appointment of Carleen Bowers as associate.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

UVA Licensing & Ventures, the commercialisation arm of University of Virginia (UVA), disclosed its first three investments yesterday made from its $10m seed fund.

University of Virginia launched the UVA LVG Seed Fund for UVA-linked companies in 2016 with $5m each from its healthcare research facility UVA Health System and other unspecified sources.

The businesses, which each received undisclosed sums, were named as diabetes management technology developer TypeZero, dry eye disease therapy producer TearSolutions and cybersecurity platform developer Mission Secure.

TypeZero was the fund’s first investment, securing capital in July 2016. The company is developing software-based management tools for type 1 and 2 diabetes patients, with products includes a smartphone app for users to monitor and control diabetes treatment devices.

TypeZero previously raised $415,000 in debt and securities in 2015 from investors including Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology.

TearSolutions, which obtained the money in January 2017, hopes to release a treatment for dry eye syndrome that works by restoring Lacritin, a protein considered vital to retaining ocular moisture.

The spinout most recently raised $8.5m in a series B round co-led by the Virginia Tech Carilion Innovation Fund, backed by Virgina Polytechnic Institute and State University, and pharmaceutical firm Pharmstandard International in December 2017.

Mission Secure, which received the cash in September 2017, has developed a cybersecurity system called MSi Platform 3.0 that screens in-bound network transfers before they reach client devices. Its customers can also receive expert guidance on network security.

The Seed Fund also announced it has hired Carleen Bowers as an associate. Bowers, who joined from novel materials manufacturer NanoSonic where she had been a principal scientist since 2015, will be responsible for identifying new ventures and investment opportunities.

Bob Creeden, managing director of the seed fund and new ventures at UVA Licensing & Ventures, said: “The fund has made significant progress in its first year closing three deals with UVA startups that have emerged from varying schools and departments across grounds.”

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