Startups, Devices & Diagnostics

From medical imaging to dental robotics, MedCity’s Best of INVEST Pitch Perfect contest 2017

The MedCity INVEST conference in Chicago this week held its annual startup contest for health IT and life sciences entrepreneurs. Here are the five companies that emerged as the Best of INVEST Pitch Perfect.

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The expression “May you live in interesting times” can sound as much like a curse as a blessing, it seems. On the one hand, the turn of events in Washington over the past few months give cause for concern, especially with the uncertainty around the future of the Affordable Care Act. And yet the breadth of healthcare innovation on display at MedCity INVEST’s Pitch Perfect Contest in Chicago this week provides reason to be optimistic about the future of healthcare.

The event was held in collaboration with the Mid-America Healthcare Investors Network. The 46 companies selected from the initial round of applicants competed in four sectors: biopharma, medical devices, diagnostics and health IT. Fifteen judges assessed the competitors.

To accommodate numerous entries in the health IT track, the group was split between one segment with companies that had raised more than $2 million, which was sponsored by OSF Healthcare, and those that had raised less than $2 million, a contest segment sponsored by Cedars-Sinai Accelerator powered by Techstars.

Here were the five healthcare startups that emerged as the Best of INVEST Pitch Perfect:

Biopharma

NuvOx Pharma Led by Evan Unger, the business uses nanotechnology for products designed to deliver oxygen via IV injection to treat life-threatening conditions. So far the company has completed a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial in brain cancer and has active clinical programs in stroke and sickle cell diseases.

Medical Devices

Neocis developed a robotic guidance system, Yomi, for the dental implant market with an eye to making it easier to place implants and add more precision to the procedure. Alon Mozes, the cofounder and CEO, has worked with image-guided applications with startup companies for the past 15 years as well as medical device companies. The Yomi secured FDA clearance in March this year.

Diagnostics

Sandstone Diagnostics developed a sperm count device to help men assess and track their sperm count with the goal of improving fertility. The FDA-cleared Trak Male Fertility Testing System is an over-the-counter test designed to challenge the notion that the reproductive health market should focus solely on women. Greg Sommer is the Chief Scientific Officer and cofounder.

Health IT under $2 million

Quantitative Radiology Solutions developed a clinical decision support tool Automatic Anatomy Recognition for radiation treatment planning with the help of medical imaging. Their product is designed to cut down on the time it takes to analyze and identify anatomical objects and diseased tissue on medical images from CT, MRI and PET/CT scans from a few hours to 15 minutes. The business is led by CEO Joe Camaratta.

Health IT over $2 million

Cricket Health has sought to build a niche in the treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease by providing an education program focused on patients at high risk for progressing to end-stage renal disease. The support program is designed to make patients aware of their options and make it easier for these patients to make informed decisions about their care in a timely way. Arvind Rajan is the CEO and cofounder.

Photo: Nohemi Moran, MedCity News