Four Wilmington companies are the finalists of the inaugural NC BIONEER Venture Challenge aimed at enhancing life sciences and biotechnology business ventures in the region, according to an announcement Thursday.
Accugenomics, Electronic Lab Logs, IndiOmics and Isosceles Pharmaceuticals were selected to participate in a two-month process of “intense mentoring,” stated a news release.
The competition, launched by N.C. Biotechnology Center Southeastern office and the University of North Carolina Wilmington Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is a biotech-focused entrepreneurial initiative for Southeastern North Carolina that launched earlier this year
“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,” Randall Johnson, executive director of NCBiotech’s Southeastern Office, said 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.”
While all the finalists are from Wilmington, there were strong applications from other parts of the region, including Pembroke, Carolina Beach and Surf City, Johnson said in an email.
The finalists are:
- Accugenomics: a company that provides a spike-in control mixture solution to reduce false positives and false negatives for lab tests, according to the news release. The company was founded in 2011 and is headed by its president, Nick Lazaridis.
- Electronic Lab Logs: a tekMountain-headquartered software company that uses a cloud-based platform for lab maintenance. The platform notifies users of maintenance schedule and status. Users can review and sign-off electronic checks and generate custom reports. Daniel Summers is the company’s CEO and founding partner.
- IndiOmics: a biotech startup that has developed a personalized environmental health assessment kits to test chemical levels and markers of inflammation and immune health in people. The company was founded by Melissa Strong, lead biologist and data scientist.
- Isosceles Pharmaceuticals: a venture that provides delivery of synthetic CBD as an IV and through the skin for pain relief. It is a safer, non-addictive and effective alternative to opioid treatment, according to the release. The company’s president is Brett Lanier.
After going through the two-month mentoring process, finalists will pitch their ventures to a panel of judges, including investors, entrepreneurs and innovators, on May 19.
The startup that wins the top award at the pitch event will receive a $20,000 grant and a year of co-working tenancy at UNCW’s CIE.
The second award is a $10,000 grant, and third and fourth places receive a $5,000 grant. Additionally, all finalists will receive expert assistance from NCBiotech.
"The CIE is excited to have this opportunity to provide additional support to entrepreneurs in this important sector,” said Diane Durance, director of the CIE. “The emerging biotechnology ventures participating in this challenge will make great contributions to our regional economy as they grow.”