Office of Research UC Davis and HM.Clause Partner to Open Life Science Innovation Center - Office of Research

UC Davis and HM.Clause Partner to Open Life Science Innovation Center

The University of California, Davis, and HM.CLAUSE have partnered to launch a business incubator that will help advance regional innovation in the life sciences. To celebrate this unique collaboration, a launch event will be held from 4-6pm, Thursday, May 7, at the new Innovation Center in South Davis.

This joint venture builds on a long-standing partnership between the university and HM.CLAUSE,
a global leader in the production and sale of vegetable seeds, to provide the facilities and support needed in order to turn viable ideas in all areas of life-science, from ag-tech to human therapeutics, into successful technology businesses. The shared goal of UC Davis and HM.CLAUSE is to create an environment that breeds innovation, fosters creativity and inspires synergy.

“We have successfully collaborated with UC Davis for many years as it pertains to plant breeding, but we recognize that actively facilitating innovation outside of our space will provide us with a diversity of ideas, business models, and operating environments that will broaden and enhance our own ways of thinking,” said Mark Stowers, vice president of Global Research & Development at HM.CLAUSE.

The UC Davis-HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center is a 3,100 square-foot, off campus facility that is administered and owned by HM.CLAUSE. It is equipped with biochemistry, molecular biology and chemistry lab space, and also offers 1,800 ft² of contiguous greenhouse space. The facility is available to entrepreneurs looking to form new companies based on technology developed at the university. Lab space is leased by HM.CLAUSE at an affordable rate, with lease durations ranging from 6 months up to 2 years.

Already Filling a Need

The center has already attracted several start-ups that would have otherwise found it very difficult to get off the ground due to their highly technical nature. Each is in a different phase of development and together they represent a broad range of market segments.

  • DtoR, Inc. – Offers a proven, platform technology to customize transcription control sequences and optimize gene expression for a variety of biotechnology applications.
  • Bio Mobile, Inc. – Is developing a rapid, easy to use, field based testing system for fish species to combat mislabeling of sushi and seafood.
  • Inserogen – Uses tobacco plants as a manufacturing platform for rapid, scalable, and cost-effective production of therapeutics targeted at treating rare (orphan) diseases.

Paul Feldstein, founder of DtoR, Inc. and an assistant project scientist at UC Davis, has experienced how quickly an idea can lead to the genesis of a company. He came up with an idea in October for fast and powerful analysis of transcription, or copying DNA into RNA, and established his company by the end of the same year. “I never entertained the idea of starting my own company, but I have to say that it is terribly exciting,” says Feldstein. “This might be the most significant thing that I have ever done in my life,” he added.

Supported by UC Davis Venture Catalyst

UC Davis is known worldwide for its leadership in research. Each year this research generates new technologies and inventions that are translated into commercial applications, often becoming the foundation of start-up companies. In order to facilitate this process, the university’s Office of Research established Venture Catalyst to provide researchers with the resources and support needed to successfully form and grow new ventures.

The UC Davis-HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center is the first off-campus member of the university’s distributed research incubation and venture engine (dubbed the DRIVE network). The DRIVE Network is intended to provide UC Davis startups with access to affordable, mixed office/lab business incubation spaces in close proximity to the UC Davis campus (in both Davis and Sacramento). Each company accepted into the DRIVE program has full access to the support resources offered by Venture Catalyst, including a suite of services provided through START, a special program designed specifically to help cultivate robust technology startups.

“Effective collaboration is the hallmark of successful entrepreneurship and in building this unique resource for campus entrepreneurs, we have benefited immensely from the commitment of our partner HM.CLAUSE in supporting a vibrant innovation environment in our region,” said Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor of Technology Management & Corporate Relations at UC Davis.

Venture Catalyst collaborates closely with the university’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship as well as with departmentally focused drivers of translational research including the Engineering Translational Technology Center (ETTC) within the College of Engineering.

Venture Catalyst, led by Associate Vice Chancellor Pathak, was established in June 2013, and is part of the Technology Management and Corporate Relations division of the Office of Research. Led by Vice Chancellor for Research Harris Lewin, the Office of Research is a catalyst for advancing the research mission at UC Davis.

Launch Event details

When: Thursday, May 7, 4 pm – 6 pm
Where: UC Davis – HM.CLAUSE Innovation Center, 28605 County Road 104, Davis, CA

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.


HM.CLAUSE is a global vegetable seed company dedicated to meeting local needs through global diversity, and is committed to innovation inspired by worldwide partnerships in the scientific, industrial, and commercial fields. An innovative company whose core business is plant breeding, HM.CLAUSE specializes in the development, production, and sales of vegetable seeds worldwide. In 2008, Harris Moran Seed Company (USA) and Clause (France) were grouped together under the HM.CLAUSE Business Unit of Limagrain. HM.CLAUSE generated €257 million in annual sales in 2013 and employs more than 2,200 people full-time located in over 30 countries around the world. Its investments in research and breeding represent 15% of annual sales. The organization coordinates breeding for 25 species and has more than 350 people actively engaged in research and development activities. HM.CLAUSE is a Business Unit of Limagrain, an international agricultural co-operative group, specializing in field seeds, vegetable seeds and cereal products. Founded and managed by French farmers, Limagrain is the 4th largest seed company in the world, and the only leading seed company that is not also a chemical company.

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AJ Cheline
Director of Marketing and Communications
UC Davis Office of Research
(530) 219-8739
Sierra Scott
Media Specialist, AMPA Region
(530) 747-3741