Three local companies have been announced as Southeastern finalists of the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge.
The startups, MacroFormulation, OpiAID and Renaissance Fiber, will participate in a two-month process of mentoring and other assistance leading to a pitch judging event in May, according to a Thursday press release.
“The venture applications for this second challenge were exceptional and showed a broad range of biotech-related commercialization activities and opportunities in Southeastern North Carolina,” Randall Johnson, executive director of the N.C. Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office, said in the release.
The challenge’s goal is to raise the profile, increase the volume and enhance the success of regional life science innovation, commercialization, entrepreneurs and companies.
The finalists comprise life science/biotech ventures in the region.
MacroFormulation, led by president Ying Wang, is using proprietary formulation technologies to enable mRNA pharmaceuticals to be shipped and stored at room temperature or in a refrigerator. This technology solves the issue of mRNAs, as seen with COVID-19 vaccines, undergoing fast degradation and requiring special handling during transportation and storage.
, founded by CEO David Reeser, provides clinicians with patient data, including biometrics and behavioral insights, that can lead to intervention preventing relapse or potential overdose. The company aims to address the opioid epidemic and help medication-assisted treatment centers provide successful remedies.
, led by founder and chief technical officer Michael Long, uses a rendering process technology to use hemp for textile manufacturing. This provides a sustainable product from hemp that is grown in the U.S. and uses less water and foreign chemical than cotton. This solves the need for a consistent supply of sustainable materials, according to the company.
The pitch contest in May will expose these entrepreneurs to investors, entrepreneurs and innovators, the release stated. Benefits for the finalists include monetary awards totaling $40,000, mentoring assistance, a 12-month co-working tenancy at the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the top winner, assistance from NC Biotech center and more.
In addition, the winner from the Southeast region will meet other regional winners in the state in June for a state-level round of pitch judging, venture showcase and other awards. This is new for the challenge, which launched its first round in the region in 2020, and recently announced it is expanding statewide
“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,” Johnson said. “We’re excited to roll out this challenge across North Carolina.”