Home Resources San Diego’s Science & Tech Community on the Front Lines of COVID-19 Innovation

San Diego’s Science & Tech Community on the Front Lines of COVID-19 Innovation

by Neal Bloom

San Diego’s science and tech community is rising to the occasion to help fight the novel coronavirus. Below is a look at several ongoing efforts by local innovative companies, research institutions, and organizations that are developing test kits, vaccines, ventilators, hand sanitizers, real-time dashboards, and more.



  • UCSD Extension’s “The Career Channel” highlights Resources for Startups During COVID-19 in this video.
  • Local immunologist, Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire, gets $6.4 Million grant for COVID-19 antibody research


  • Local scientists are growing mini-lungs from a diverse set of stem cells to see how COVID-19 impacts the organ




  • UC San Diego to host COVID-19 vaccine trials as part of national effort



  • Seven University of San Diego Alumni have been honored for their COVID-19 impact in the “SD50” list. Those named to the list are recognized as “San Diego’s most influential leaders who have made a significant difference during these unprecedented times”


  • A University of San Diego alumnus started PPE Exchange, “the world’s first marketplace to leverage blockchain technology to verify regulatory compliance and track order agreements…The PPE Exchange emphasizes trust and transparency, allowing vetted vendors to connect with verified B2B organizations who need to purchase PPE at fair prices”


  • With weeks of the health crisis, Cubic Corp implemented contactless payment into its operations


  • Cubic Corp is producing facial coverings and face shields for health care professionals, first responders, transit agencies, military, and restaurant personnel. The protective gear is made using the company’s repurposed manufacturing facilities and supply-chain resources


  • Phamatech Laboratory and Diagnostics is offering a mobile COVID-19 testing service for San Diego businesses with more than 25 employees. The company’s testing program will provide on-location testing at worksites, to include antigen (by PCR) tests to determine if someone is currently infected, or serology antibody tests to see if someone was previously infected.


  • Helix, the leading population genomics company, has partnered with San Diego County to make COVID-19 testing accessible across the County to those who need it most. As part of this important public-private partnership, Helix will be providing San Diego County with up to 2,000 COVID-19 tests per day


  • Live event operations and management platform Lennd had to quickly switch gears to create a virtual NFL draft experience. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the planning process


  • San Diego County has launched a Small Business Stimulus Grant Program, whose goal is to provide a lifeline grant to many local small businesses to get them open, keep them open, and help prevent more from going out of business


  • The Small Business Finance Center (SBFC) helps businesses create and retain jobs, and encourages investment in low- to moderate-income communities. The SBFC has several programs to support small business, including a Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee, a Jump Start Loan Program and more
  • A partnership between the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA), Autodesk, and the State of California has created the “Safely Making California” Marketplace to help fill a critical gap for all sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will connect CMTA member manufacturers and other manufacturers to employers who have the need to purchase non-medical grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


  • Truvian has committed to producing high-quality COVID-19 antibody tests at a low cost so everyone who needs to be tested can do so


  • Qualcomm has launched an accelerator fund to help small businesses adapt to remote work in the wake of shelter-in-place orders all over the country


  • Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce is organizing a relief fund to assist black-owned  businesses in San Diego, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic


  • TriLink BioTechnologies (and their parent company Maravai LifeSciences) have collaborated with Imperial College London to manufacture saRNA for a unique vaccine candidate which entered clinical trials June 15.  If successful, it could vaccinate the world’s population with as little as 35 kilograms of material. Read all about it here!



  • Sony Electronics created a $100 million global relief fund to support frontline workers, children, and educators affected by the coronavirus pandemic


  • Carlsbad-based Leading Biosciences has received approval from the FDA to test its drug which aims to help COVID-19 patients breathe on their own and, as a result, recover sooner


  • Research at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology finds that those who have recovered from COVID-19 are now immune to the disease, a positive sign for further immunity studies and development.


  • Veyo announced the creation of a specialized fleet of drivers who will transport COVID-19 infected patients to and from doctors appointments and hospital visits.


  • Thermo Fisher Scientific’s next-generation sequencing technology is being used to rapidly identify which strain of the virus is present in patients


  • As part of the #GivingTuesday celebration, genomics company Illumina donated $1 million to support essential workers and underprivileged kids


  • General Atomics is working on developing technology to detect respiratory diseases


  • HP has been putting their 3-D printers to good use by making mask adjustors in response to the COVID-19 crisis


  • Donate to this fundraiser for a San Diego robotics team using their skills to create 3-D printed face shields which they’ve been donating to local hospitals.



  • San Diego State alum Joel D’Elon offers free health app during coronavirus quarantine to help boost positivity and productivity at home


  • San Diego’s Brain Corp has managed to raise $36 million to continue manufacturing these sanitizing, floor-scrubbing robots. They’ve also launched a Robot Relief program in which they donate these robots to small businesses.


  • Here is a list of all drugs and vaccines that are being developed by pharmaceutical and biotech companies in response to the coronavirus


  • Billionaire Joseph Tsai has just given San Diego $1.6 million in medical supplies to combat the spread of COVID-19


  • Graphine manufacturer Grolltex joins the fight against the novel coronavirus



  • CEO of Paneau, Nader Khalil designed an easy way for small businesses to share gift cards with customers online


  • ActiveMotif announces that they have successfully separated antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients in China to be used for research and commercial applications



  • Ford has expanded its plan to produce critical medical equipment and supplies and partnered with Thermo Fisher Scientific to increase production for COVID-19 testing kits


  • Carlsbad Desalination Plant has been switching out crews that self-quarantine on site for three weeks to continue producing clean drinking water for county residents




  • Volv, a virtual coaching platform, is helping wellness trainers continue their work during the novel coronavirus pandemic.






  • Here are the San Diego scientists leading the charge for combatting coronavirus


  • Drug developer Arcturus Therapeutics is ready to kick off its first-ever human trials this year by testing a vaccine designed to target the novel coronavirus.


  • Robo 3D has been 3D printing and donating printable face shields to front line healthcare workers in need. Here is the GoFundMe to donate to their cause.


  • have been stepping up to help by 3D printing and donating 3D printable face shields to doctors, hospitals, and other front line healthcare workers in need.
  • GoX Labs tests Samsung watch app to detect asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers and provide for free to anyone!


  • Leica Biosystems receives FDA’s Enforcement Discretion for use of its Aperio ImageScope DX viewing software for remote diagnosis during COVID-19 emergency.


  • This COVID-19  VR town hall by SD-based Nanome gives a pretty cool deep dive on the virus’ protein/molecular structure. 


  • San Diego-based Seqster is one of several companies that have released COVID-19 screening tools or symptom checkers to help track the spread of the virus.


  • UC San Diego Health has launched a donation program, asking local research institutions, companies, organizations and individuals to help alleviate widespread shortages of key materials.



  • UCSD researchers are combining the power of a wearable device and big data analytics to track spread and early signs of COVID-19, including among healthcare workers.


  • UCSD researchers have developed a low cost design for ventilators and are seeking equipment and manufacturing help.



  • A team of researchers at UCSD has developed a simple ventilator that can be produced quickly and cheaply if needed.






  • Cue Health gets $13 million contract to develop Coronavirus test


  •  CureMetrix is offering a no-cost implementation of its AI-based mammography solutions for radiologists to help them prepare for the surge in mammograms that will come as they go back to work.


  • Kazuhm is offering its enterprise-grade distributed compute software free to any organization directly engaged in the fight against coronavirus.


  • Sony Electronics has made an immediate donation to Direct Relief, which will provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and essential medical supplies to healthcare workers responding to COVID-19.


  • Repurpose.ai is harnessing the predictive prowess of its AI Drug Discovery Platform to repurpose FDA approved drugs that may serve as a potential therapeutics to prevent individuals from being infected and/or treat individuals infected with the novel coronavirus.


  • San Diego-based Orucase is one of several cycling manufactures across the US that have switched to making personal protective equipment to help first-responders and medical staff deal with COVID-19.


  • Inovio Pharmaceuticalslab in Sorrento Valley is hoping to fight the coronavirus pandemic with its experimental DNA-based vaccine


  • Arcturus Therapeutics was awarded $10 million to develop a vaccine for Singapore. If successful, the company would also seek approval to market the vaccine elsewhere.


  • Carlsbad-based Argonaut Manufacturing Services  will provide services for pre-clinical to Phase III drug product manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics, including those for sponsors working toward a COVID-19 vaccine or therapeutic under accelerated timelines.  




  • Researchers at four University of California Health medical centers — including UC San Diego Health — have begun recruiting participants for a clinical trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of treating adult COVID-19 patients with an antiviral drug that has shown some success against other viruses.


  • Through an approach called drug repositioning, Sanford Burnham Prebys researchers are currently testing known drugs that may inhibit the virus. The world-renowned research institute has also established a task force to monitor the public health crisis, establish guidelines, and provide the community with useful information.


  • ResMed is working with governments, health authorities, hospitals, physicians, and patients worldwide to assess their needs, and to deliver the ventilation therapy that is essential to treat the respiratory complications of COVID-19.


  • Researchers used technology developed by Thermo Fisher to conclude that vaccines developed to treat coronavirus could be long-lasting.


  • UC San Diego engineers and doctors team up to retrofit and build ventilators with 3D printing.


  • UCSD has joined five private firms to greatly increase COVID-19 testing.



  • UCSD has published a list of COVID-19 research opportunities here. 


  • Scripps Research scientists recently co-authored a paper that shows the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin.


  • Solana Beach-based Scientist.com has set up a dashboard to track the progress of COVID-19 clinical trials in real time.


  • Big data startup Seqster has launched a COVID-19 Compass based on CDC Guidelines for Healthcare Enterprises.


  • Carlsbad-based Expedition Communications provides critical information systems for first responders, public safety centers  and critical business entities during COVID-19 crisis. 


  • Medical device startup Biolinq is donating its unused protective gear, including N95 masks and gowns, to local healthcare centers and is encouraging other local biomedical companies to do the same. 



  • Cloudbeds is working to connect its customers and industry partners to government and healthcare agencies to address the shortage of healthcare beds.


  • The SD team at Floor Manager are making their product available to keep essential facilities clean


  • Oceanside-based FYI CBD has created all natural hand sanitizer, available online and at local specialty grocery stores. 


  • Classy.org has created a fundraising campaign to address the increased needs of low-income immigrant neighbors during the COVID-19 health crisis. An online donation page has also been set up for coronavirus aid efforts by Classy partners.


Attention San Diego science and tech companies: Companies developing COVID-19 related diagnostics, etc…, are encouraged to fill out this brief form by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Is your company, organization or institute working on novel research, technology or products to help combat COVID-19? We’d love to know!  Email us at techos@freshbrewedtech.com.

Editor’s Note: This blog post will be updated regularly with the latest San Diego COVID-19 innovations. You can also follow us on Twitter for real-time SD tech news.

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