Catalyst Program

The Catalyst program accelerates translation of research into products with clinical impact through funding, mentorship, and identification of resources. Catalyst aims to foster academic and industry collaborations as well as enhance education in early translational research and entrepreneurship.

Catalyst Awards

An intramural funding mechanism focused on development of therapeutics, diagnostics, devices and digital health products.


Exploring innovative collaboration models to promote successful translation of research into clinically valuable products.

Industry Partners: MedImmune, Quest Diagnostics, Sun Pharma, Genentech, ShangPharma

UC Partners:
UCSF Innovation, Technology, Alliances
UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation
UC Center for Accelerated Innovation

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Technology Support

UC Center for Accelerated Innovation
A multi-campus funding mechanism for technology development in disease areas of interest to NHLBI and NIDA.

5 Keys to Success

LaunchPad Watch videos on how to make your project a success


2017 Spring Report Out
News and Events

Read about the interesting projects supported by the Catalyst program and stay on top of events related to early translational research. Also, read the latest Catalyst eNewsletter. Explore more!

  • Catalyst is helping est. the University of California Drug Discovery Consortium, an effort across the UC system’s 5 medical campuses—UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCSF, UCLA & UC San Diego—to figure out ways to work together to speed the development of potentially life-saving therapies. Tralau-Stewart is principal investigator on a  $2.2 million, 3-year grant from UC’s Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives focusing on early translation of academic discovery research into therapies.
  • UCSF has doubled down on its commitment to help move innovations from the bench to the bedside by hiring Barry Selick, a former UCSF postdoc who had a long, distinguished career in biotech, to head its new office of business development, innovation & partnerships.

Success Stories

  • Vanda Pharmaceuticals’ announced in March that it would pay $1M, and up to $46M in potential development, regulatory & sales milestones as well as royalties on net sales if commercialized. The company licensed technology to develop & commercialize a portfolio of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) activators & inhibitors developed in the lab of UCSF’s Alan Verkman, MD, PhD, & nurtured by Catalyst.
  • Scott Baraban, PhD, professor of neurological surgery, won a Catalyst award for his work showing the efficacy of testing certain drugs in zebrafish, & this year demonstrated the strategy’s success in a clinical trial. In it, children with Dravet syndrome, a rare & devastating genetic form of epilepsy that can cause hundreds of seizures per day, responded to the same medication that tested well in zebrafish. Baraban has been working with postdoc Aliesha Griffin, PhD, a former Catalyst intern.
  • Rebecca Sudore, MD, another Catalyst awardee, won a $650K grant from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation for a project entitled, “Integration of easy-to-read, culturally-appropriate, evidenced-based advance directives for all US states into the PREPARE website.”