Sensorygen & Urban Tribe announce licensing agreement for natural insect repellent
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Sensorygen, a life science startup that is using computational biology and artificial intelligence to replace synthetic chemicals typically found in consumer products with natural compounds, yesterday announced they had just entered into a licensing agreement with Urban Tribe, a brand established to enhance the quality of life and health of billions of consumers worldwide. Sensorygen officials simultaneously announced they had just closed $1.5 million in equity funding.
The investment will be used to complete the final phase of testing for the company’s “market-disrupting, natural insect repellent” and toward obtaining approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to company officials; who added that the agreement with Urban Tribe will bring Sensorygen’s next-generation insect repellent – developed for human, household, and home garden applications – directly to consumers.
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“This funding will provide Sensorygen with the ability to complete our pursuit of EPA regulatory approval for our patented, all-natural insect repellent as well as help us to make significant progress in the agriculture repellent, sweet enhancer, and flavor/fragrance market segments,” Sensorygen CEO, Thomas Stone said of the recently announced funding.
Of the agreement with Urban Tribe – whose mission is to enhance the quality of life and health of billions of mosquito-concerned consumers around the world by replacing currently used repellents that utilize harsh chemicals with a completely natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly compound – Stone added, “This licensing agreement creates a clear path for Sensorygen’s patented all-natural insect repellent to be brought to the consumer market.”
Sensorygen’s natural, broad-spectrum insect repellent will provide a natural defense against mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, flies, and chiggers, and has qualities that position it to be a superior replacement for synthetic chemicals on the basis of toxicity, efficacy, and cosmetic properties.
In independent laboratory tests, this non-toxic natural repellent has proven to be a superior and safer alternative to traditional repellents, such as DEET, and exceeds the protection time of DEET by nearly double. Additionally, it does not damage synthetic fabrics or plastics and is pleasant to smell.
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Through machine learning, Sensorygen has created a substantial IP portfolio of natural compounds for many human and insect applications. This artificial intelligence-driven technology, which allows for highly-effective screening of compounds to find superior replacements for harmful and harsh chemicals in everyday products – from repellents to flavors and fragrances to cosmetics, and more – is based on seminal work from Sensorygen founder, Dr. Anandasankar Ray’s laboratory at the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside), and is exclusively licensed from UC Riverside.
The funding round was led by Vertical Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm founded in 2015 by VVP Founder and Managing Director Dave Schwab, a 20-year veteran in early-stage technology investing, who also manages the UC Riverside affiliated Highlander Venture Fund.
“Sensorygen has built an impressive and patented compound library around natural insect repellency and insecticide, nutraceutical, and human taste and scent coupled with an AI-driven, computational neurobiology technology platform that continues to produce deeply interesting results,” said Schwab. “We are proud to have led the round and support their growth. And we look forward to collaborating with their management team to introduce and market consumer demanded natural molecules, compounds, and formulations.”
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About the recent announcements, Urban Tribe CEO Phil Schwab said, “With Urban Tribe’s worldwide exclusive license in hand of Sensorygen’s breakthrough, recently discovered and patented natural insect repellent compound we are preparing nothing short of a retail sensation – an EPA-registered, natural mosquito repellent that actually works better than the current, decades-old, ubiquitous store shelf options.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Sensorygen has granted Urban Tribe an exclusive worldwide license to commercialize the insect repellent. In return, Sensorygen will receive equity in Urban Tribe, milestone payments, and royalty payments on Urban Tribe sales.
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Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.