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Hydrophilix, Inc. was spun-out of the University of California, Los Angeles based on the Hydrophilix coating technology, a direct result of federal, state, and local support. The proof-of-concept began with basic research funding from the National Science Foundation Sustainable Chemistry Program and fellowships for individual scholars. The technology was further developed for commercial application, propelled with seed funding from the NSF Clean Energy for Green Industry, UCLA’s Physical Sciences Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund, and private investment.
Jack Kavanaugh, MD, MBAChairman, Acting CEO
Brian McVerry, PhDChief Technology Officer
Richard Kaner, PhDChief Scientific Advisor
Ethan RaoDirector of R&D
Na HeResearch Scientist
Robert SnukalBoard of Directors
Mahi De SilvaBoard of Directors
Verne SharmaBoard of Directors
Dr. Kavanaugh has served as CEO and Chairman at a number of technology-driven startups, creating industry-leading products and investor profits. As founder, chairman and CEO of ZetaRx, Dr. Kavanaugh successfully combined exclusive technological licensing from top institutions to place ZetaRx at the leading edge of immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer; he assembled a well-seasoned team and guided the clinical strategy. In late 2013, ZetaRx was sold, becoming the core of Juno Therapeutics, which raised approximately $270 million and announced 88% clinical trial complete remission of terminal cancer patients.
Prior to ZetaRX, he served as Chairman of Calhoun, a biotech firm that developed the world’s only light adjustable intraocular lens for cataract surgery. It’s industry-leading product has been approved in Mexico and Europe (with a CE Mark) and is in FDA late Stage III clinical trials in the U.S. Dr. Kavanaugh played a pivotal role in assisting commercialization abroad, and he continues his involvement with the company as a consultant.
In 1996, Dr. Kavanaugh founded Amerident, a health care service provider, serving as Chairman and CEO. Under his tenure, the company organically grew its employee-ranks to over 600 by 1999, when it was sold to a public company. Amerident received over 30 community service awards and a state congressional medal of honor for its work with infants.
As founder, Chairman and CEO of Team Global, Dr. Kavanaugh was responsible for taking the company public, helping guide and create value as the public share price rose from an initial investor cost of 11 cents per share to approximately $27 per share.
Dr. Kavanaugh has also served as a member of the board of PreCash, where he is still an active consultant. In 2001, his efforts helped staved off an imminent insolvency proceeding, and lead to a major turn around. Two years later, PreCash was rated by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in profits in the United States. PreCash saw approximately $3 billion in transaction volume last year.
He is also a member of the board of Materia, a company that holds more than 300 patents and is instrumental in the production of over 100 pharmaceutical products.
Brian McVerry, PhD
Dr. McVerry designed and developed the Hydrophilix coating during his Ph.D. studies at UCLA under the guidance of Professor Richard Kaner. He was awarded two fellowships from the National Science Foundation: the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award and the Clean Energy for Green Industry (CGI) award that helped him begin focusing on the technology for commercial application. The chemistry behind the Hydrophilix coating has led to multiple patents and publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as earning Dr. McVerry a finalist position in the nationwide Collegiate Inventors Competition. In 2015, the coating was selected as the “Most Innovative Technology” at the Los Angeles Port Tech EXPO.
Richard Kaner, PhD
In his research at UCLA, Professor Richard B. Kaner focuses on the design of novel materials and their synthesis by new chemical methods. Dr. Kaner has been continuously honored for his outstanding contributions to the fields of chemistry and biochemistry. He holds over 16 U.S. patents—with 20 more pending–and has published more than 275 papers in major peer-reviewed journals.
He was recently named as a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and is the recipient of numerous other awards, including Fulbright, Guggenheim, Alfred P. Sloan, and David and Lucile Packard fellowships, as well as premier awards from the American Chemical Society, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, and UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Dr. Kaner holds a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry as well as the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). A graduate of Brown University, he received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. After carrying out postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined UCLA in 1987 as an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1991, Full Professor in 1993, and Distinguished Professor in 2012.
Other awards include:
-Most Cited Author, Institute for Scientific Information (2014)
-UCLA Faculty Lecturer (2013)
-ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials (2012)
-ACS Tolman Medal (2010)
-UCLA Gold Shield Faculty Prize (2002-2004)
-Eka-Granules Lecturer University of Tasmania
-Visiting Professor University of Wollongong
-American Chemical Society Buck Whitney Research Award
-National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator
-American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
-Australian-American Fulbright Fellow
-American Chemical Society Exxon Fellowship in Solid State Chemistry
Mr. Rao joined the Kaner Group in 2014 as an undergraduate research assistant working under Dr. McVerry. Supported by the Grand Challenge Scholars Program and a UCLA Research Fellowship, he developed a method to functionalize commercial polyolefin separators used in Lithium-ion Batteries and other energy storage devices. Mr. Rao, Dr. McVerry, and Dr. Kaner were awarded a $100,000 grant from the UCLA Physical Sciences Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund for further development of the project and investigation of electrolyte mixtures with advanced safety characteristics whose use was enabled by his technology. He has also played an integral role in the development of Hydrophilix coatings designed for biomedical applications. Mr. Rao’s research has contributed to several publications and patents that have been integral to Hydrophilix’s technology portfolio.
Na joined Hydrophilix in the summer of 2018 and is an expert in engineering and water treatment. She earned her Master’s degree at UCLA in Civil and Environmental Engineering and leads projects using the Hydrophilix coating for water treatment and energy storage.
Robert Snukal, the chief executive officer of National Quality Care, Inc., will use his expertise to develop prototypes and launch initial products in a number of industries. His work with Dr. Kavanaugh dates back to 2009 when he joined ZetaRx Biosciences, Inc. as Board member. There, he was integrally involved in its sale to create Juno Therapeutics.
In 1985, Mr. Snukal founded Fountain View, Inc., (now Skilled Healthcare) where he served as CEO. Under his management, Fountain View grew to operate 50 skilled nursing facilities, three institutional pharmacies and two therapy companies. In 2001, Mr. Snukal left active management, although he remained a member of the board and major stockholder until 2005, when the company was sold.
Mr. Snukal founded ITASCA Pictures in 1993 where he served as chairman.
Mahi De Silva
Mahi de Silva is a Silicon Valley veteran with a strong track record for creating, financing, building and scaling businesses that have had a $1B+ exits. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Pre-Cash, and is a strategic advisor to Opera Software, ASA, where he helped engineer a $1.4B acquisition by a consortium of Chinese investors. From 2010 until 2016, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Opera Mediaworks Inc., the largest subsidiary of Opera Software.
D. Verne Sharma has since April 2008 been Chief Executive Officer, President and a director of Calhoun Vision Inc., a privately-held medical device company that has developed and is marketing a light adjustable intraocular lens for cataract surgery. From January 2005 to December 2007, he was a senior executive and part-owner of Southeast Fuels, Inc., a company specializing in energy products marketing. He was also the principal of DVS Consulting, a California based management consulting business started in August 2003 serving medical device companies. From 2000 to 2003, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer and served on the board of directors of CLEAR Centers of America/Calhoun Vision, Inc., a vision services and technology company. Mr. Sharma also served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Summit Technology Inc., a public company that pioneered laser devices for LASIK eye surgery, from 1996 to 2000. Mr. Sharma’s qualifications to sit on our board of directors include his previous experience as the chief operating officer of a publicly-held medical device company and his business acumen.