Santa Cruz Tech Beat


Startup Sandbox Graduates First Class of Innovators


September 30, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA

Graduating Startups Poised to Deliver Innovation Breakthroughs with Global Impact

Startup Sandbox, a bioscience entrepreneurial incubator, today announced that six members have successfully transitioned from the incubator to commercial operations as strong, viable startup companies. With innnovation spanning next-generation DNA sequencing, drug discovery, and cancer screening to bioceramics, biofoam, and smart gardening, Startup Sandbox graduates are poised to deliver breakthroughs with global impact.

“These six companies validate our mission and approach to crystalizing breakthrough ideas into commercial success,” said Lou Pambianco, CEO of Startup Sandbox. “They are leading a new generation of entrepreneurs whose research efforts not only create exciting new businesses, they directly benefit the bioscience research ecosystem, the University of California Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz community.”

The six companies in Startup Sandbox’s first “graduating class” Include:

  • Aeroasis—Aeroasis is at the forefront of Controlled Environment Agriculture using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and hydroponic smart gardening techniques. The company is revolutionizing the way people grow food and medicine to deliver the highest-quality harvests for the least amount of effort and experience.
  • Claret Bioscience—This company is innovating Next Generation [DNA] Sequencing methods to capture and retain native ends of DNA fragments. ClaretBio’s technique enhances biological discovery by capturing more data from sub-nucleosome-sized fragments.
  • Cruz Foam—Cruz Foam has developed marine biofoam technology as a sustainable, biodegradable foam replacement for current polystyrene and polyurethane structural foams. The company’s innovation will help reduce plastics pollution.
  • Dimensional Bioceramics—The company’s precision bone-graft substitutes are used to fill gaps in bone structure due to injury or illness until the substitute is resorbed and replaced with real bone during healing processes.
  • Prime GenomicsFounded by experts in genomics and molecular diagnostics, Prime Genomics is developing a breakthrough approach for cancer screening.
  • Unnatural Products Inc.—This company’s platform accelerates drug discovery by harnessing insights from nature to intelligently design and rapidly optimize macrocyclic compounds that will guide the next generation of therapeutics.

The Startup Sandbox model offers a proven formula for developing, launching, and commercializing new biotech companies affiliated with University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) and companies beyond the university. Entrepreneurs can license existing IP from the University of California, Santa Cruz bioscience Areas of Excellence or bring their own product ideas to Startup Sandbox. The Sandbox provides space and equipment at affordable rates, as well as mentoring and support from the Founders Circle—seasoned executives who have built successful technology and biotechnology companies.

Startup Sandbox also works with the UCSC Office of Industry Alliances & Technology Commercialization (IATC). IATC builds a vibrant, entrepreneurial culture to accelerate adoption of UCSC inventions and cultivate sustainable strategic partnerships.


About Startup Sandbox
Startup Sandbox is the biotech incubator that helps entrepreneurs crystalize and innovate their breakthrough ideas into commercially successful businesses. Founded in 2017 and affiliated with the world renowned bioscience efforts at University of California Santa Cruz, Startup Sandbox provides a dynamic, entrepreneurial environment where early-stage startups gain access to laboratory, office, resources, training and networking opportunities that propel them down a fast track to success. For more information, visit


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