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Winners Of Inaugural NC BIONEER Venture Challenge Announced

By Johanna Cano, posted May 19, 2020
Isosceles Pharmaceuticals was named the first-place winner of the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge which aims to enhance life sciences and biotechnology business ventures in the region. (Screenshot of Isosceles Pharmaceutical's website)
A Wilmington company developing non-opioid solutions for pain relief is the first-place winner of the inaugural NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Isosceles Pharmaceuticals Inc. took the top award of the challenge that aims to enhance life sciences and biotechnology business ventures in the region.

Isosceles Pharmaceuticals is a company that is developing the delivery of synthetic CBD through an IV and a skin patch for pain relief. It solves the problem for the need of a safer, non-addictive and effective alternative to opioid treatment, according to the release.

The company will receive a $20,000 investment and a one-year tenancy at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which will help the venture’s development of the opioid substitute.

“The venture applications for this inaugural challenge were exceptional and showed a broad range of biotech-related commercialization activities and opportunities in Southeastern North Carolina,” said Randall Johnson, executive director of the N.C. Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office, in the release.

“This initiative showcases and strengthens the region's impressive community of innovators and entrepreneurs and helps young companies progress toward attracting investment to boost commercialization of biotech innovations and create high-paying jobs across our region.”

Other winners, all Wilmington-based, include AccuGenomics, the second award winner, which will receive a $10,000 investment to market kits for sequencing gene expression tests that accurately diagnose, monitor and guide cancer treatments, according to the release.

Third and fourth award winners are Electronic Lab Logs and IndiOmics; both will receive $5,000 to help boost their commercialization efforts.

Electronic Lab Logs, which was announced last week as a recipient of the NC IDEA SEED Grant, uses a software platform for biotech lab management, and IndiOmics has developed a testing kit for environmental health assessments.

The four finalists went through a two-month process of mentoring and other assistance that ended with the entrepreneurial pitch judging session held Monday. Entrepreneurs pitched their ventures to a panel of judges that included investors, entrepreneurial support organizations, biotech company leaders and technology innovators.

The competition was launched earlier this year by N.C. Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office and UNCW's CIE, in a partnership that seeks to raise the profile, increase the volume and enhance the success of regional life science innovation, commercialization, entrepreneurs and companies, according to the release.

Isosceles Pharmaceuticals is led by president and founding member Brett Lanier, who is a medicinal chemist with over a decade of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, according to the company’s website.

"The CIE is excited to have this opportunity to provide additional support to entrepreneurs in this important sector. We are pleased to help them with the expertise and resources we have on campus,” said Diane Durance, director at the UNCW CIE, in the release. “The emerging biotechnology ventures participating in this challenge will make great contributions to our regional economy as they grow."
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