ELabNYC Pitch Day 2015

Thursday 3 April, Microsoft’s NY Technology Center, Times Square NYC

click to enlargeThe third annual Pitch Day for the now 20 startup/early-stage life science, biotech and healthcare technology companies in the ELabNYC (Entrepreneurship Lab Bio and Health Tech NYC) is a culmination of their year-long program participation in this NY Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)-supported program. The entrepreneurs in the ELabNYC program primarily come from from the doctoral and post-doc programs from New York’s many universities, from CUNY to Columbia, from many parts of the world, and most have experience within the city’s multitude of major health research institutions from The Bronx to Brooklyn. New York is also a center of funding for life science and health tech ventures; it’s #2 with NIH awards totaling $1.4 billion. For the past few years, NYEDC has also supported these companies with finding access to capital, specialized space (e.g. wet labs such as the million square feet at Alexandria Center alone, plus Harlem Biospace and SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn) and partnerships with major companies such as Celgene, Eli Lilly, Pfizer and GE Ventures.

This Editor will concentrate on health tech companies–eight, up from five last year [TTA 17 Apr 14]. Each company pitched for five minutes on its concept, its current state of advancement (including pilots/customers), its team and a funding timeline. It was a very different mix from last year’s class, which focused on compliance, diagnosis, dementia and concussion. These companies focused on niches which are either not being served well or to substantially reduce costs. Nearly half the entrepreneurs were women, a substantially greater number than one usually sees in the biotech/health tech area. Short impressions on our eight, with links to their Executive Summaries on the 2014-15 ‘class page’:

  1. MySmileBuddy is a tablet-based education tool for pediatric oral health and managing risks for early childhood tooth decay, licensed from Columbia University. 1 in 5 children are at high risk for severe dental disease. Counseling by health workers with families using the tablet, especially on diet and hygiene, has been shown to improve outcomes at a lower cost. Main customers are Medicaid, managed care organizations, pediatric dentists, payers and ACOs. Tested since 2008 with Federal funding over $5 million, they are now seeking private rounds to launch this year and extend the methodology to diseases like asthma. Summary.
  2. GeneticaLens’ Well Child Lens uses video used to screen and observe for autism and other early childhood developmental disorders which are difficult to diagnose. Current testing is inefficient, paper-based and requires followup–and 50 percent of pediatricians don’t screen toddlers for autism. Well Child Lens uses a validated screener (iM-CHAT) that enables doctors and parents to clarify and streamline ALL aspects of autism screening and surveillance in toddlers. The company intends to expand to include other behavioral disorders birth to five. Summary.
  3. Addicaid supports those recovering from substance abuse within a personalized app and social network community as a supplement and an alternative to traditional methods of recovery. The US has experienced a 175 percent increase in overdose between pills, opoids and other painkillers. The smartphone app has over 6,000 users and a 33 percent retention rate. The professional version targets the $35 billion addiction treatment industry by constructing a platform with monitoring, digital intake, aftercare support and data analytics. They also anticipate that employers and payers will use the platform for management. Summary
  4. Scalable Genomics is developing a plug-and-play bioinformatics kit for genomic analysis which would be scalable, portable and configurable. Using open source software, they intend to make genomic sequencing a commodity and become the ‘Seamless’ (multi-restaurant food delivery) of bioinformatics. Summary.
  5. In a high-energy pitch, Hyperfine‘s CEO explained her company’s precision medicine–data to build more complete models for disease treatment and understand causal relationships better for breakthroughs in disease treatment and drug discovery. Their Cornerstone patent-pending software deals with the two major roadblocks in analytics: complex causation (through multilayer analysis) and understanding the underlying forces (through the connections within a network, for instance). She is seeking about $3 million of funding at this stage and is targeting the top 15 hospitals. Summary.
  6. InfraSonic Monitoring has developed non-invasive wireless wearables for cardiac monitoring for a dual market of elite athletes and for healthcare. It targets cardiac insufficiency. In healthcare, aside from heart failure, CI can be a result of cardiotoxicity caused by treatments for cancer, diabetes and osteoarthritis. The CoreTrac wearable relies on chest wall
    motion to detect stroke volume (SV), heart rate and cardiac output. They are seeking $3.4 million in funding for the athletic market, and $22 million for the longer term use in healthcare. Summary.
  7. S.A.L.T.the Sodium Analyte Level Test–is the most interesting startup for telehealth use. Testing strips and a smartphone app measure salt intake, much like test strips are used in blood glucose self-monitoring and clinician reporting. A huge gap in the market, at-home, DIY measurement is not currently available. Testing strips cost about $1.60 for weekly testing. The company is targeting chronic kidney disease which affects 20 million patients in the US at a cost of $40 billion, and after that hypertension. What is even more remarkable is that it was developed on FFF funding of $10,000 and is seeking only $100,000 in an angel round to support a FDA 510(k) Pre De Novo filing. Summary.
  8. PainQX transforms a staple–the self-administered five or ten-face pain measurement scale–with EEG measurement. Changes in brain waves are processed through algorithms in the software to quantify pain over time. This can give a quantitative, accurate pain assessment, especially for those who cannot articulate their pain level (dementia, stroke or children) that leads to more accurate and appropriate treatment. The system would be sold either on a pay-per-use or subscription to clinics, hospitals and pain management centers. They are seeking short term funding of $500-750,000 and longer term up to $6 million in a Series A. Summary.

The other life science companies presenting were ARL Designs, Brooklyn Biosciences, NY Protein Biologics, Optologix, NomoCan, Sveikatal, Zakan Therapeutics, MedHexim, PHD Biosciences, Avalia Immunotherapies, Yiviva and Innovative Neurons.

Of last year’s companies relating to health tech, this Editor was happy to hear of Brainwire’s partnership with the Alzheimer’s Foundation to determine the progression of dementia, Oculogica (concussion diagnosis) with New York University and the Department of Defense, and CareSpeak‘s multiple new partnerships.

For more information, see the ‘class page’ above (which is by CEO/presenter) and also on Twitter, #ELabNYC2015

Many thanks to Eric Vieira of CUNY and ELabNYC, and Colette Thompson for their assistance!

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