Health IT

3D bioprinter and “virus traps” take top startup honors at FutureMed pitch contest


As you’d expect at an event called FutureMed, disruption ruled this week’s event, and Saturday’s startup pitch contest was no exception.

Of the 27 companies that participated, the two that wowed the panel of investor judges the most were seriously outside-of-the-box ideas.

For their “startup to watch” award, the judges chose a company that made a splash in the tech world last fall when Peter Thiel’s foundation put $350,000 behind its novel idea to make more sustainable meat by 3D printing it. That company is ModernMeadow, co-founded and pitched by Andras Forgacs, who’s also one of the co-founders behind the human tissue-focused 3D bioprinting company Organovo.

It was a compelling presentation with some mind-blowing statistics and visuals depicting the resources required to produce a quarter-pound burger. ModernMeadow’s business model also includes a cultured leather product.

The overall startup winner, Vecoy Nanomedicines (Vecoy standing for virus + decoy), is focused on creating a new way to address one of the biggest unmet needs in medicine by outwitting viruses that cause infection.

The Israeli-based company is working on a therapy that uses tailor-made “virus traps” that mimic human cells and cause viruses to attack them. When they attack, the viruses get locked into the decoys and annihilate themselves before they can reach the real human cells, CEO Erez Livneh said. He noted that this new approach to fighting viruses may have the potential to lower the viral load in patients with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C and other infections.

[Disrupt image from BigStock Photos]

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