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Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023
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STARTUPS & INNOVATIONS

LAUNCH

Seoul Robotics USA Inc., an Irvine software company developing technology for self-driving cars and robots, has introduced its Wrong-Way Detection (WWD), a “life-saving” system that identifies and alerts instances of wrong-way driving.

Over 2,000 deaths from wrong-way driving crashes on highways occurred between 2015 and 2018, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Seoul Robotics touts WWD as a “highly-accurate” and “cost-effective” system, with installation taking less than a day. The technology combines remote sensor technology, known as LiDAR sensors, with the company’s perception software, SENSR.

One LiDAR sensor can cover a range of 40 to 200 meters to detect wrong-way movement at 3 mph, according to company officials.

Seoul Robotics’ 3D data is more accurate than traditional 2D camera data, company officials said, yielding “significantly fewer” false positives than thermal and AI color camera systems. A recent WWD test analyzing 100,000 vehicles produced only one false alarm, making the technology 99.99% effective, according to company officials. By comparison, alternative 3D detection systems are reportedly up to 70% accurate.

WDD is currently being deployed on U.S. freeways and highways in California, Florida, Tennessee and overseas in Europe and Asia, company officials said.

“Smart city technology has the power to save lives, and Seoul Robotics is dedicated to developing the industry’s most advanced smart solutions to improve road safety,” VP, Products and Solutions Jerone Floor said in a statement. “Accurate, actionable insights delivered in real time can make all the difference in high-risk situations.”

The parent company of Seoul Robotics USA, South Korea-based Seoul Robotics, has raised over $40 million in funding since its founding in 2017, including a $25 million round announced late last week.

SpyGlass Pharma Inc., an Aliso Viejo eye-focused drug developer, will introduce a drug delivery platform designed to treat chronic eye conditions at the Eyecelerator innovation meeting ahead of this year’s American Academy of Ophthalmology conference.

The drug delivery platform will “enable all cataract surgeons to provide multiyear therapy to treat a chronic ophthalmic condition while patients undergo a common eye procedure,” SpyGlass CEO Patrick Mooney said in a statement. “We have already begun developing a pipeline of potential drug products using this novel platform, and we are excited to share some initial program data with the ophthalmic community.

Mooney previously held leadership roles at Novartis Ophthalmics and Alcon.
SpyGlass, founded in 2019, last January closed a $27.5 million Series B round led by venture firms New Enterprise Associates and Vensana Capital. Two years prior, New Enterprise led a Series A for SpyGlass; financial details of the round were undisclosed.

Mammogen Inc., a woman-led Newport Beach diagnostics company focused on women’s health, has launched an online retail store to act as a “bridge between science and community,” and to raise awareness for its biotech work designed to treat breast cancer.

The e-commerce site, Mammogen Marketplace, include hoodies, T-shirts and vests, among other apparel. Outwear ranges from around $55 to $150 a piece.

“The marketplace is an important step towards proving that community can fuel market adoption and that market adoption can, in turn, fuel community,” Mammogen Chairman Marty Keiser said in a statement. Keiser is also the CEO of IV Bioholdings LLC, a Newport Beach biotech company that owns and operates Mammogen. Liz Cormier-May serves as CCO of IV Bioholdings.

The company teamed up with Boston-based golf-wear e-commerce company Tee Commerce Online Pro Shops to create the online store.

Mammogen, founded in 2020, is developing technology that measures changes in RNA expression patterns to provide a “highly accurate” diagnostic tool for breast cancer across all stages of the disease, company officials said. The tech is currently in the clinical-stage and patent-pending.

Mammogen has raised over $2 million in funding to date.

NEW HIRES

Diality Inc., an Irvine medtech company developing a mobile hemodialysis platform, has appointed Pamela Wapnick as CFO.

The hiring comes in preparation for the company’s commercial launch of its technology next year.

Wapnick counts over 30 years of experience in finance, primarily in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, company officials said. She previously served as VP, finance for R&D and treasurer at Amgen Inc. (Nasdaq: AMGN), a Thousand Oaks biotech company valued at $123 billion, where she raised over $6 billion in financing and oversaw spending for Amgen’s $3 billion R&D budget.

Wapnick previously held CFO roles at San Francisco biotech company True North Therapeutics and $20-million-valued Redwood City pharmaceutical company Graybug Vision Inc. (Nasdaq: GRAY). At True North, she raised $45 million in Series D financing and led an IPO preparation before the company was acquired by Waltham, Mass.-based biotech firm Bioverative Inc. At Graybug, Wapnick raised $55 million in Series C funding.

Most recently, she grew the team at Thousand Oaks biotech company Capsida Biotherapeutics Inc. from a startup to over 100 employees.

Diality, founded in 2015, is developing a portable hemodialysis device intended to be as effective as in-center treatment, company officials said. The device will be small enough to move around from hospitals, clinics, transitional care units, traditional homes and nursing care facilities.

The company has raised over $54 million to date. Its latest funding round was a $24 million Series B2 in March.

PARTNERSHIPS

Syntr Health Technologies Inc., an Irvine micro-fat processing startup based at University Lab Partners at UCI Research Park, is teaming up with Venice-based HappyBond to provide treatments for dogs with knee and joint osteoarthritis.

The companies will combine technologies, Syntr’s canine fat processing SynterFugeK9 System and HappyBond’s collagen supplement, to create a treatment for dogs with limited mobility through fat replenishment and collagen-induced cartilage regeneration.

“Veterinarians and dog owners will have an enhanced therapy to combat one of the most common joint diseases experienced by dogs in the US,” Syntr CEO Ahmed Zobi said in a statement.

Syntr, founded in 2016, has raised $2.2 million in funding to date. Its seed round was led by venture capital firm Propel(x). Zobi received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, specializing in micro and nanotechnology, from UCI.

Trnsact, an Irvine fintech previously known as DCR Technologies, has inked an agreement with Allentown, Penn.-based credit reporting firm Creditsafe USA Inc.

The deal enables Trnsact, whose products are geared for commercial equipment dealers, to integrate Creditsafe’s credit risk data and scoring system into its credit application and finance management platform, company officials said. The collaboration will mitigate the risks posed by using inaccurate credit data.

“By integrating our platform with Creditsafe, we are able to power secure, compliant and expedited financing decisions, while deploying the best applicant data available for the decisioning process,” Trnsact COO Vijay Patil said in a statement.

Trnsact, founded in 2018, provides embedded financial services for commercial equipment dealers. Its products “address inconsistencies, and a lack of security and transparency for equipment dealers by providing an easy-to-use turnkey solution that delivers more sales, new revenue channels, increased efficiencies and better customer experiences,” the company said in a statement.

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