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STARTUPS & INNOVATIONS

LAUNCH

After three years of development, two childhood friends and basketball fans from Huntington Beach have launched a “smart” basketball hoop designed for remote training and gaming: Huupe.

Huupe’s camera, built into a basketball hoop, captures a player’s every move, while machine learning provides insights about their wingspan, trajectory and shot location. The backboard’s HD screen, protected by tempered glass, allows users to see their opponent, “sort of like FaceTime,” said Huupe Chief Executive Paul Anton, who previously founded an augmented reality (AR) basketball company.

“We made every decision that goes into the product to have high bandwidth and low latency,” he added. “We built this for the gamers, so every feature that goes into the unit has been done with the highest quality.”

Huupe, with an Irvine warehouse and connections to the Wisconsin area, will also have a tandem mobile app, slated to launch later this year.

“We’ve created this amazing piece of hardware that’s weatherproof and robust enough to last on peoples’ driveways for years down the line,” said Huupe COO Lyth Saeed, who previously served as a senior recruiter at fast-growing Irvine job upstart Jobot.

The company previously raised over $1 million of pre-seed capital from investors around the country; two of whom are NBA players, Saeed said. The company is currently raising a $5 million seed round.

Huupes are available for pre-order via the company’s website; the units are expected to sell for $3,500 apiece.

Mission Viejo-based health and wellness brand Leonhardt Ventures LLC has announced the release of BodStim, a bodysuit designed to help the body repair itself.

 

According to the company, BodStim is the only bodysuit that uses bioelectric signals to increase klotho, a regenerative, antiaging protein produced in the kidneys. The suit features electrodes placed around the kidneys and skeletal muscles, which can increase klotho levels by over 150%, according to an early study released by the company.

Leonhardt Ventures was founded in 1982 by inventor and entrepreneur Howard Leonhardt. The company reports filing over 700 patent and patent pending claims for work within cardiovascular and brain health, cosmetic and personal care, and cancer.

 

This month, Leonhardt Ventures reported starting a research program at University of California, Irvine’s University Lab Partners to examine klotho expression in stimulation technologies.

PARTNERSHIP

Anaheim’s addiction treatment solutions company BioCorRx Inc. reported Feb. 8 the Orange County Research Center (OCRC) in Tustin will be the first clinical trial site for its new biodegradable implant designed to treat alcohol and opioid use disorder: the BICX104.

The BICX104 contains naltrexone, a medication currently used to manage alcohol or opioid use disorder, often delivered orally or intravenously, according to BioCorRx President and affiliate BioCorRx Pharmaceuticals CEO Brady Granier.

The implant “fills an important void in the treatment space” because it helps the patients with mental and substance abuse disorders, who are often noncompliant, receive a “steady state” of the medication.

The trial’s principal investigator will be the OCRC’s Director of Research Dr. Joel Neutel, who has researched the pharmacotherapy of cardiovascular, endocrine and central nervous system disorders.

“We believe OCRC is the perfect research partner as they have participated in over 400 clinical trials, advancing the development of many new treatments,” Granier said.

The company expects to start the trial within months, once clinical samples are ready for release and healthy volunteers are recruited and screened.

The BICX104 is being developed under BioCorRx Pharmaceuticals, the company’s drug development subsidiary. It has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

MEDICAL DEVICES

Irvine’s Capillary Biomedical Inc., also known as CapBio, has received investigational device exemption (IDE) approval from the Food and Drug Administration to start a pivotal trial assessing its SteadiFlow technology.

Formed in 2014, device maker CapBio is developing technologies that aim to simplify diabetes management. The company’s first product, the SteadiSet infusion set, is designed to improve the “comfort, reliability and predictability” of insulin pump therapy.

“Current infusion sets are designed to be changed every two to three days, and often fail sooner,” said Dr. Roy Beck, director of the Florida-based Jaeb Center for Health Research. “To have a reliable infusion set that extends wear to a week or beyond would likely improve quality of life for patients on insulin pumps.”

The new study will include approximately 240 Type 1 diabetics on insulin pump therapy, ages 18 to 80.

“Based on the strength of previous clinical data, we’re optimistic about the results of this forthcoming trial and we’re excited to play a leadership role in what might be possible with insulin pump technology,” CapBio CEO Paul Strasma said.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Irvine angel investor network Tech Coast Angels (TCA) reported that one of its investments, Cognition Therapeutics Inc., raised $52 million in an initial public offering.

The exit was the 14th highest-ever dollar gain for TCA, and resulted in up to a 5.7x return to TCA members who invested some $1.2 million into the company, officials said.

Shares of Cognition went public at $12 each last October; at press time, the shares hovered around $4.11 with a $91 million market cap

Cognition (Nasdaq: CGTX) is a Purchase, N.Y.-based clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing drugs that help restore normal cellular damage responses in neurodegenerative and neuro-ophthalmic disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is a classic case of a startup with an excellent idea and leadership team that needed capital and connections from angels to advance its innovation,” TCA Chairman John Harbison said.

“I’ve enjoyed relationships with many of [TCA’s] members, some of whom have a personal connection to the disease,” Cognition Chief Science Officer Susan Catalano said in a statement.

Orange County venture capital firms Cove Fund and Okapi Venture Capital jumped into an oversubscribed round for San Diego-based e-commerce analytics company Daasity, which recently secured $15 million in Series A funding led by San Francisco-based VMG Catalyst.

The new funding will enable further employee growth, as well as the addition of 35 platform integrations, like data sources, warehousing options, transformation capabilities and visualization tools, company officials said.

Daasity bills itself as “data as a service.” The company, which reports 1,600 brand customers, analyzes consumer data from platforms like Shopify, Amazon, and Facebook and with it, “optimizes” their experiences.

Annual revenue has grown nearly 300% while its employee headcount has increased by 100%, officials said.

“There have never been more consumer product brands, and competition among them is at an all-time high,” Daasity CEO Dan LeBlanc said in a statement. “Brands win by having access to the right data, which leads to faster and more confident decision-making. Data demands have never been higher, and we are investing in the data infrastructure to get brands the access to the data they need.”

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