Which biopharma startups will compete at INVEST Pitch Perfect?

AI, therapeutics for autoimmune diseases, automation for biomedical research and oncology are among the areas of interest for the finalists in the biopharma track scheduled for day two of the conference.

Four biopharma startups are among the finalists in the INVEST Pitch Perfect contest, which is part of our annual INVEST conference April 19-23. This year, the conference will be hosted online due to Covid-19. The Pitch Perfect contest includes five tracks for startups: biopharma, medical devices, diagnostics, health IT and health services.

The biopharma track presentations are scheduled for Tuesday April 20 at 3:30 PM ET.

Click here to see the rest of the agenda.

The judges for the track are:

  • Ryan Kole, Partner, VCapital
  • Samuel Lee, MD, Venture Partner, CincyTech
  • Marian Nakada, PhD, Vice President, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC

The finalists are:

Presenter: Helen McCormack, CEO

Headquarters: Irvine, CA

Rapid Nexus is a regenerative medicine company whose innovative solutions deliver complete and durable wound healing.

Presenter: Katy Marhenke, Director of Business Development

Headquarters: Scottsdale, AZ

Systems Oncology is an AI powered, data-driven biopharmaceutical company. We use a proprietary artificial intelligence-based platform that drives discovery and development of cancer therapies. Systems Oncology uses its Expansive.AI™ computational platform for mining genomic evolution and multi-target discovery. Systems Oncology has successfully out-licensed multiple programs to Pharma, and we currently have 35 wholly-owned projects in oncology indications, with 4 programs ready for out-licensing in 2021. One program in particular, MyxSO, has compelling data that we are very excited about. For some background, MyxSO is a pan cancer, pre-clinic dual armed oncolytic virus IO therapy that has tremendous market potential. Dr. Dan Von Hoff, our Chief Clinical Strategist, has designed a very efficient clinical trial strategy that should lead to rapid regulatory approval. The company is looking to form a collaboration or joint venture to partner the MyxSO program and drive its development into the clinic.

Presenter: Thomas Forest Farb, CEO

Headquarters: Wakefield, MA

Thrive Bioscience is commercializing a family of instruments and software that provide previously unavailable data, imaging, analytics, and automation for cell culture, stem cell culture, and tissue culture for use in biomedical research and cell therapeutics. Thrive is selling the CellAssist and the CellAssist 50. Both collect 1,000’s of images of live cells in culture, analyzes them, and builds a centralized database. The CellAssist 50 enables researchers to automatically and remotely image 50 plates of cells, generating large amounts of data for live cell biology. Sites include Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Center for Genomic Medicine (Massachusetts General Hospital), Stanford Stem Cell Core, University of Texas Medical Branch, the Broad Institute as well as large and small pharma/biotech companies. Thrive has raised $25M to-date, has 64 patent applications (of which 14 have issued), has an experienced management team and Board with many significant exits, and has 17 employees.

Presenter: Yong Zhao, CEO

Headquarters: Paramus, NJ

Throne Biotechnologies is a therapeutics startup that has developed the leading “practical cure project” for type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. The Stem Cell Educator Therapy is a novel, in-vitro therapeutic technology that fundamentally “resets” the dysfunctional immune system underlying diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. Throne has completed 10 years of clinical studies in Spain, China, and US with over 200 patients ranging from 3 to 70 years old. 70% of type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients demonstrated clinical efficacy with many patients reducing insulin and some becoming insulin independent. Our technology has treated more than 10 autoimmune disease including alopecia, lupus, fibrosis, and scleroderma. Throne is ready to begin two FDA phase 2 clinical trials for type 1 diabetes and alopecia areata.

Presenter: Charles Fisher, Founder and CEO

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Unlearn is using novel AI approaches to create disease progression models for clinical research. By leveraging historical datasets and disease-specific machine-learning models, Unlearn generates Digital Twins, defined as statistically indistinguishable, virtual patients that are matched to actual patients in clinical trials. Incorporating Digital Twins into studies increases confidence, accelerates trial timelines, and enables patient level insights. Digital Twins can be added prospectively, enabling smaller, more efficient trials, or retrospectively, adding power to ongoing trials. Digital Twins are currently part of an ongoing pivotal Alzheimer’s Disease trial. Unlearn continues to have discussions with industry leaders and regulators, including the FDA, and is seeking partners to help drive innovation in clinical research using AI. In 2020, Unlearn was named a CB Insights Digital Health 150 Company, and the winner of the Innovation Showcase at CNS Summit.

Picture: uzenzen, Getty Images