PCIV Spotlight 2023

The PCI Ventures 2023 Annual Report

About PCI Ventures

We provide a wide-ranging suite of products and services to support the development of early stage companies based on technologies and business ideas created at Penn as they make their way towards commercial success.

PCI Ventures actively seeks entrepreneurs to lead our portfolio companies and investors to provide funding for new ventures in development.

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Our Mission

PCI Ventures, a division of the Penn Center for Innovation, helps maximize the potential of Penn’s pioneering research to benefit the University, the investigative team, and society through the creation and stimulus of entrepreneurial endeavors at Penn.

PCIV Resources

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  • Corporate governance support
  • Commercialization grant assistance
  • Marketing material development
  • Company registration
  • Education programs
  • Entrepreneur coaching
  • Executive-level recruitment
  • Fundraising support
  • IP strategy development
  • Legal agreement templates
  • Mentors-in-Residence
  • Preferred vendor relations
  • Strategic partner outreach
  • Weekly office hours
  • Workshops

By the Numbers

2023 PCIV Statistics

Please use your mouse scroller to scroll through all of the statistics.


Active Companies


New companies


Company executives hired


Company exits


Raised by 11 portfolio companies


In portfolio company-sponsored research funding to Penn 


Companies generating revenue 

Overall PCIV Statistics


Years of operations


Companies have received funding


Cumulative funds raised


In portfolio company-sponsored research funding to Penn 


Unique sources of company funding


Company exits


FDA 510(k) clearances by portfolio companies


Portfolio Highlights

Cogwear, is a brain technology company that improves human health, peace and performance through its comfortable, wearable technology for better brain insights. The company delivers clinical-grade cognitive feedback in real-time, on-the-go through a lightweight headband. With a vision of taking EEG out of the lab and into the real world, Cogwear was co-founded by Michael Platt, PhD, Director of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative and James S. Riepe University Professor with multiple appointments at the University of Pennsylvania, and Arjun Ramakrishnan, PhD, a former research associate in the Platt Lab in the Department of Neuroscience at Penn Medicine. In 2023, Cogwear unveiled two new brands to support the company’s growth: Cogwear Health and Cogwear Life. Cogwear Health products aim to provide clinical-grade data in medical applications such as Alzheimer’s disease detection, behavioral health, and brain injury monitoring. Using the same core technology, Cogwear Life products have applications in athletics and human performance, neuromarketing, and academic research.  

Earlier this spring, Cogwear demonstrated how its technology generates brain insights at PACT’s The Future of Wearable Technology: Trends and Innovations event. CEO David Yonce wore the device during his presentation. The company also showcased the technology on the move during Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run. Other recent developments include Cogwear’s strategic partnership with Glassview, the world’s largest independent video advertising distribution and performance platform, to advance GlassView Origin, a powerful neuromarketing tool based on Cogwear’s technology. Cogwear has also partnered with Rezon, a UK-based brain protection company, to develop the first-ever, smart athletic headband for detecting and monitoring brain activity and injury during sports. “At Cogwear, we believe in the boundless potential of our technology in various markets and industries. From healthcare to athletics, we are exploring new frontiers, partnering with industry leaders to expand our reach, and finding novel ways to help people reach their full potential. Ultimately our mission is to harness the power of brain insights to improve health, peace, and performance,” said CEO David Yonce. 


Exyn Technologies, a pioneer in multi-platform robotic autonomy for complex, GPS-denied environments, was founded by Vijay Kumar, PhD, Dean of the Penn Engineering. 2023 was a year of growth for Exyn, starting with the February announcement of a partnership with Easy Aerial to launch their new flagship airframe, the ExynAeroTM EA6, an ExynAI-specific aerial robot optimized for use across industry verticals. The company successfully closed its Series B round in September, strengthening Exyn’s strategic partnerships with investors C.R. Kennedy & Company and Aero X Ventures. In November, Exyn appointed Brandon Torres Declet as CEO to drive its next phase of growth. He was previously CEO of commercial drone solutions provider AgEagle Aerial Systems Inc. and will focus on expanding the company’s geospatial product offerings to customers worldwide. 

Dundee Precious Metals and Exyn celebrated 5 years of partnership with a technology demonstration and education event at the STEM center of St. Paisiy Hilendarski Secondary School, in the town of Zlatitsa, Bulgaria. NSS Canada also implemented Exyn’s autonomous drones at Jaguar Mining to improve mining safety and efficiency in Brazil. “It’s a great time to join Exyn Technologies,” said CEO Brandon Declet. “The company is well-established and has earned a solid reputation as a market leader in robotics and autonomy. I’m excited to build on this foundation and help drive increased value for our customers.” 


Flobio is a precision diagnostics company focused on rapidly measuring blood function and guiding clinical intervention to reduce preventable complications caused by bleeding abnormalities. Led by CEO, Jerri Ann Thatcher, and founded by Scott Diamond, PhD, Arthur E. Humphrey Professor of Bioengineering at Penn Engineering, FloBio’s diagnostic platform simulates the biological microenvironment of blood clot formation as it occurs in the body. The company’s innovative approach enables highly sensitive assays that identify clotting deficiencies and pharmacological effects in patients. In September, the FDA granted Breakthrough Device Designation to FloBio for its first product, a test to rapidly detect the presence of widely used blood thinners called Direct Oral Anticoagulants (DOACs). 

Currently, no DOAC-specific tests are commercially available. FloBio’s test will provide actionable information to clinicians who need guidance on how to safely manage bleeding risk for emergency and critical care patients on DOACs. The company demonstrated the functionalities of a clinically deployable system in 2023 and is poised to start a clinical pilot in emergency departments in 2024.  FloBio aims to complete a commercially viable product this coming year. “Every year hundreds of thousands of Americans taking DOACs experience emergencies,” said CEO Jerri Ann Thatcher. “Our team looks forward to working with the FDA to accelerate the development, assessment, and commercialization of our technology, which so clearly fills a void in the market.”


Hydropore, is a cleantech company co-founded by Eric Detsi, PhD, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn Engineering, and CEO, Mike Argosh. The company is developing a novel approach to hydrogen production: “hydrogen batteries”, which are capable of converting any water source, including seawater, into clean hydrogen fuel. The proprietary technology being developed by Hydropore offers a more sustainable alternative to traditional, often carbon-intensive methods. Hydropore garnered recognition from key players in the energy sector in 2023 – the company was chosen to join the 2023 Energy Innovation Lab sponsored by Philadelphia Gas Works, the National Science Foundations National I-Corps program, and Newlab, a hub for cleantech innovation.    

Hydropore also joined the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2), a collaborative initiative aiming to establish a regional network of hydrogen producers, consumers, and infrastructure to accelerate the deployment and adoption of clean hydrogen. Environmental sustainability is fundamental to Hydropore’s mission, and the company is enthusiastic about contributing to a greener future through its focus on readily available clean fuel. In the new year, Hydropore will open an R&D facility to produce the prototype of its novel two-step electrolyzer, the first hydrogen production system with embedded energy storage. Hydropore is looking to expand its team in early 2024 to advance this promising technology. 


Mechano-Therapeutics is an innovative biotech company developing a first-in-kind system for enhanced delivery of therapeutics to treat musculoskeletal related conditions such as pain, inflammation, and infection. The company was co-founded by George Dodge, PhD, formerly an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Penn Medicine, Robert Mauck, PhD, Mary Black Ralston Professor for Education and Research in Orthopaedic Surgery at Penn Medicine, Bhavana Mohanraj, PhD, formerly at Penn Medicine, and Daeyeon Lee, PhD, Russel Pearce and Elizabeth Crimian Heuer Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Penn Engineering. George Dodge now leads the company as CEO and is joined by COO Nick DePhillipo, PhD, MBA. The company’s microcapsule technology leverages the natural mechanical forces of the joint and other musculoskeletal tissues to activate drug release in a targeted and controlled manner. In 2023, Mechano-Therapeutics announced a pre-seed round investment from a California-based private equity group.  

“The company has been on a fast trajectory to success with a total of $1.2M in non-dilutive and investor funding in 2023. We were excited to be awarded an STTR grant from the National Science Foundation for a large animal proof-of-concept study for controlling inflammation with our microcapsules,” said CEO George Dodge. “We welcome 2024 by opening our $5M seed round to complete pre-clinical R&D and position Mechano-Therapeutics for an initial human clinical trial with its first product. 


ŌNŌCOR, a company specializing in surgical devices, was co-founded by Matthew J. Gillespie, MD, Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Interventional Cardiology, at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Robert C. Gorman, MD, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at Penn Medicine, and Joseph H. Gorman III, MD, retired Professor of Surgery at Penn Medicine. The company is developing surgical retrieval and remediation technologies for the modern-day catheterization lab. In July, the company announced the signing of an exclusive distribution agreement with B. Braun Interventional Systems (BIS). Under the agreement, BIS will initiate the US commercialization activities for ŌNŌCOR’s ŌNŌ Retrieval Device.

“The ŌNŌ pushes the boundaries of how we can serve the needs of congenital and structural heart interventional cardiologists and the patients they treat. Our shared dedication to innovation in safety technologies and expanding the capabilities of transcatheter interventional procedures position the collaboration between our companies for long-term success.” said Peter Flosdorf, Director, Upstream Marketing and Portfolio Strategy, at BIS who led the establishment of a partnership between the two companies. 


Vasowatch, a maternal health company, was cofounded by Stefanie Modri, MSN, RNC-MNN, C-OB, Clinical Adjunct Professor at Penn Nursing, James Weimer, PhD, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, and Christine Rohan, CEO. The company is committed to transforming obstetrics care with a wearable, connected health product that can predict postpartum hemorrhage risk 2 to 6 hours in advance of birth, and with 10X greater accuracy than survey-based risk assessments. Postpartum hemorrhage is a leading cause of maternal death and complications, and early intervention can save a mother’s life. Vasowatch has achieved notable success throughout the year – the company received a Raynier Seed Fund Grant and was selected for mHUB’s 2023 MedTech Accelerator Cohort, as well as the 2023 Ascend Medtech Accelerator powered by VentureWell and Leap. 

In the second half of 2023, CEO Christine Rohan presented at the NIH Innovative Approaches to Improve Maternal Health Workshop, pitched at Life Sciences Future PA, and was selected for University City Science Center’s Capital Readiness Program. Vasowatch also grew its leadership team, adding executive Paula Burris, MBA, as a Board Advisor, serial entrepreneur Det Ansinn as CTO, and clinical expert Harish Sehdev, MD, Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn Medicine, as Medical Advisor. The company closed out 2023 with a pre-submission meeting with FDA, receiving valuable feedback on its product development plan. Vasowatch looks forward to presenting at the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine Pregnancy Summit in February 2024 and continuing to advance its innovative solution for maternal health. 


Vetigenics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody therapies for pets. Co-founded by Nicola Mason, BVetMed, PhD, DACVIM, MRCVS, Professor of Medicine & Pathobiology in the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine, Don Siegel, PhD, MD, Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at Penn Medicine, and Adriann Sax, President and CEO, the company leverages their state-of-the-art phage display platform to rapidly produce entirely canine antibodies or CANIBODIESTM for therapeutic purposes. In November, Vetigenics announced that the first client-owned canine patient with oral melanoma received the first dose of the company’s anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody (VGS-001) in a clinical trial.  

The company recently opened a second clinical trial to determine the effects of Vetigenics‘ second fully canine checkpoint inhibitor, anti-canine PD1 (VGS-002), in dogs with bladder cancer. In December, the development, pharmacokinetics, and preclinical efficacy of the anti-canine PD1 monoclonal antibody was published in the peer reviewed journal mAbs. “By maintaining our dedication to the mission and collaborating closely with the veterinary cancer community and National Cancer Institute, we’ve reached two key milestones in bringing these novel therapies into the canine cancer clinic,” said CEO Adriann Sax, “We are excited about the company’s outlook for 2024, fueled by emerging clinical data, expanded partnerships and new novel products for dogs and cats. Vetigenics is poised to capitalize on these opportunities and foster sustainable growth guided by our commitment to enable pets to live their best lives.” 


Ventru is a neurosurgical device company founded by neurosurgical residents Rachel Blue, MD, and Michael Spadola, MD, at Penn Medicine, and CEO, Bryan Humbarger. Focused on neurosurgical innovations that improve safety and accessibility for better patient outcomes, the company’s first product, DIVE – Device for Intraventricular Entry, assists surgeons with the safe placement of drains to alleviate intracranial pressure for patients suffering from hydrocephalus. In 2023, Ventru presented to the life sciences ecosystem at the inaugural Philadelphia BioLabs Investor Day and at Life Sciences Future PA. The DIVE technology was also one of the Elite 8 chosen for Penn Health-Techs Accelerator program, which focuses on accelerating the life cycle of innovative health technologies created by Penn founders. 

Growing the team, Ventru added two distinguished neurosurgeons as Medical Advisors – Dr. M. Sean Grady – previously the Charles Harrison Frazier Professor & Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Penn Medicine and past Chairman of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, and Dr. Michael Schulder – Vice Chair of Neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, past president of the World society for Sterotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, and director-at-large of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. To close out the year, the results of the first prospective clinical study on the safety and efficacy of DIVE-assisted ventricular access was published in The Journal of Neurosurgery, “The Device for Intraventricular Entry: a novel solution to a perpetual problem”. Building on feedback from Key Opinion Leaders in neurosurgery, the company is now in the final stages of product development and plans to engage with the FDA in 2024. 


Other Fundraising Highlights

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Vellum Biosciences – Awarded a $299K NIH STTR Phase I Grant


Vellum Biosciences – Mark Sellmyer, MD, PhD, Founder and Assistant Professor of Radiology at Penn Medicine, recipient of the Accelerating from Lab to Market Pre-Seed Grant at Penn

Ostiio – Awarded a $1.5M NIH SBIR Phase II Grant 


Ostiio – Awarded a $1M NSF SBIR Phase II Grant 

AltruMed – Awarded a $319K NIH STTR Phase I Grant  


SightPath VR – Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, Founder and F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology at Penn Medicine, recipient of a Penn Health-Tech Seed Grant 


Liquid BioDx – Awarded a $399K NIH SBIR Phase I Grant 


Right Air – Secured financing 


2023 Exits

Carisma Therapeutics, co-founded by CSO Michael Klichinksy, PharmD, PhD and Saar Gill, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Penn Medicine, is developing engineered monocytes and macrophages for the treatment of cancer, and had several notable accomplishments in 2023. In March, Carisma merged with Sesen Bio, Inc. and completed a $30M financing from a syndicate of investors, raising approximately $140M. Carisma is now publicly listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol “CARM”. “This merger represents a very exciting opportunity for stockholders of each company, and we believe it gets us one step closer to our goal of revolutionizing the field of immunotherapy,” said Steven Kelly, President and CEO of Carisma. “It will provide us with the financial strength to not only continue to develop our lead candidate CT-0508, but also accelerate the growth of our platform and pipeline within and outside of oncology and continue to develop additional strong strategic partnerships.” 

In June, Carisma announced the dosing of the first patient in its Phase I clinical trial to test the safety and tolerability of the company’s lead product candidate (CT-0508) in combination with Merck’s anti-PD1 therapy KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab). CT-0508 is a human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) targeted chimeric antigen receptor macrophage (CAR-M). The landmark multi-center clinical trial is the first time that genetically engineered macrophages are being studied in humans. The company presented its latest data from the trial at the 8th Annual CAR-TCR Summit demonstrating that CT-0508 was successfully manufactured for patients and well-tolerated after infusion. 

Carisma announced in November FDA clearance of its IND application for CT-0525, an ex vivo gene-modified autologous chimeric antigen receptor-monocyte (CAR-Monocyte) cellular therapy intended to treat solid tumors that overexpress HER2, and anticipates treating the first patient in the Phase 1 study in the first half of 2024. To round out the year, following the presentation of pre-clinical proof of concept data at SITC 2023, Carisma announced the nomination of its first in vivo CAR-M lead candidate under its collaboration with Moderna. This strategic collaboration brings together Carisma’s CAR-M platform with Moderna’s mRNA and lipid nanoparticle technologies to generate and develop off-the-shelf CAR-M therapies for oncology. 


Serpex Medical leverages the power of steerable instruments to enable greater precision and access to improve the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Serpex Medical is led by President and CEO, Sasha Schrode, and is the acquirer of a prior PCIV-sponsored medical device company co-founded by Mark Yim, PhD, Asa Whitney Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the GRASP Laboratory at Penn Engineering. In November, KKR, a leading global investment firm, and Hologic, Inc., a global leader in women’s health and medical technology innovator, established a new platform, Maverix Medical, to develop and acquire innovative technologies and commercial operations within the lung cancer disease category. Serpex is now part of Maverix Medical.  “With the support of our new partners, we are poised to accelerate our mission, expand our reach and deliver even greater value for lung cancer patients. Together, we will redefine what is possible and shape the future of lung cancer care,” said CEO Sasha Schrode. 


New PCIV Supported Companies

Agni Semiconductor

Agni Semiconductor (Deep Jariwala, PhD, Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering at Penn Engineering, Troy Olsson, PhD, Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering at Penn Engineering, and Eric Stach, PhD, Robert D. Bent Professor of Engineering in Materials Science and Engineering at Penn Engineering) is developing memory systems for extreme environments and low-power computing.


Cyclemer (Daniel Mindiola, PhD, Brush Family Professor of Chemistry at Penn Arts & Sciences, and John Russell, PhD student at Penn Chemistry) is developing cyclic conjugated polymers for industrial applications. 

Luminosity Wearables 

Luminosity Wearables (Amanda Watson, PhD, Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Virginia and formerly a Postdoctoral Researcher at the PRECISE Center at Penn, and Anush Niranjan, PhD student at Drexel University) is enabling non-invasive glucose monitoring using off-the-shelf wearable devices.  

OmicPath AI

OmicPath AI (Mingyao Li, PhD, Professor of Biostatistics at Penn Medicine and Daiwei Zhang, PhD, Research Associate in Biostatistics at Penn Medicine) is developing an end-to-end workflow that integrates Spatial Transcriptomics (ST) data and high-resolution histology images to predict spatial gene expression and characterize tissue architecture with single-cell resolution. 

SightPath VR

SightPath VR (Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology at Penn Medicine) is developing a virtual reality navigation test to assess functional vision for the diagnosis of blinding disorders and evaluation of disease interventions.   

Spyridon Biotech

Spyridon Biotech (John Nicholas Betley, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology at Penn Arts & Sciences, and Christoph Thaiss, PhD, Assistant Professor of Microbioloy at Penn Medicine) is developing first-in-class modulators that enhance exercise motivation by stimulating the transmission of gut-derived signals to the brain.


SyzOnc (Tzipora Sarah Karin Eizinger, PhD, Ann B. Young Assistant Professor in Cancer Research at Penn Medicine, Anne Carpenter, PhD, Senior Director of the Imaging Platform at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Ashley Fuller, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher at Penn Medicine) is developing cancer therapies that target untapped biological pathways and the tumor microenvironment, beginning with the Hippo pathway in soft-tissue sarcomas.   

Tarna Therapeutics

Tarna Therapeutics (Katalin Susztak, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Genetics at Penn Medicine) is developing precision therapeutics for patients suffering from kidney disease. 


David Yonce, MBA

David Yonce is the CEO of Cogwear, a brain technology company that improves human health, peace, and performance through its comfortable, wearable technology for better brain insights. In 2019, David was seeking a role that demanded his diverse skill set and was drawn to shaping the commercial future of the pioneering technology underlying Cogwear’s platform.  

Developed by Cogwear’s founding neuroscientists, Michael Platt and Arjun Ramakrishnan, the company’s proprietary dry EEG sensors, embedded within a wearable headband, provide users with access to clinical-grade cognitive and emotional data in real-time. “The brain is so complex, so powerful, and so ripe for new applications and therapies,” shared David. “Creating innovative technology and developing it to a point of breakthrough performance never grows old!” 

As CEO, David navigates challenges inherent to start-ups, which include addressing unmet needs, understanding product-market fit, and developing a commercial strategy that matches the operational capabilities of the company.  

Under his nimble leadership, Cogwear is pursuing a B2B strategy by offering a technology platform that has potential uses across a range of industries. The company has earned early revenue through its partnership with GlassView, the world’s largest independent video advertising distribution and performance platform. The companies are working together to scale a new neuromarketing solution in use by major brands. Cogwear also has a commercial partnership with Rezon, a UK-based company that makes and markets brain protection equipment for athletes. In addition to generating revenue, these initial partnerships will help Cogwear accelerate success in other markets, especially healthcare where Cogwear’s technology could have the greatest societal impact. For example, Cogwear could play a critical role in the diagnosis and treatment of hundreds of millions of patients grappling with brain disorders, such as mental health, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injuries.  

The team will soon complete the first version of their brain health mobile app. By the end of 2024, the company will also roll out version 2.0 of their wearable: a machine-washable brain-sensing headband that incorporates upgrades to the latest wireless communication standards.  

David was keen to point out that the journey has been rewarding. “I’m most proud of our team and what we pulled together in the last year,” he said. “Hardware, algorithms, and software all came together to launch our first commercial activities with overwhelming success.” 

Read more about Cogwear’s accomplishments in 2023 in their Highlight. 

Michael Platt, PhD

When Dr. Michael Platt was recruited to Penn in 2015, with appointments in the Perelman School of Medicine, School of Arts and Sciences, and Wharton, his goal was to get neuroscience out of the lab and clinic and into the hands of people.  

Founding Cogwear created an avenue to empower people with precision brain insights at home, at work, at the doctor, or out on the playing field. Dr. Platt said he envisioned “Cogwear reaching anyone and everyone who cares about their brain health, and the cognitive and emotional health of their loved ones, as well as anyone and everyone who cares about maximizing their mental performance.” 

This vision has become a reality through Cogwear’s partnerships with GlassView and Rezon, which have demonstrated the power of the platform. “Our joint venture, GlassView Origin, has delivered unparalleled lift in digital media optimization for multiple companies, validating and endorsing my mantra — if you want to know the truth, ask the brain directly,” shared Dr. Platt. 

Despite the challenging economic environment, which is affecting the entire start-up community, Cogwear remains resilient and continues to advance its platform. For Dr. Platt, one of the most rewarding aspects of working on his start-up is that moment when potential customers and investors resonate with Cogwear’s offering: “I love the dynamic pace and creative tempo. It’s like high-intensity interval training for my own brain,” he said. 

Read more about how Cogwear is making brain insights accessible to all in their Highlight. 



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