The Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program offers early-stage Arizona bioscience firms an opportunity to receive $30,000 in non-dilutive funding and a robust package of benefits.
The program provides a personalized, yearlong plan specific to the needs of participating firms, helping them to navigate the challenges facing young companies and empowering them to become investor-ready.
The six firms selected for the 2020 Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program are creating innovative solutions to improve regenerative medicine, spinal surgery, sleep health, medical payments, the food supply, and even ear cleaning. Learn more about the firms below.
The competitive program provides $30,000 in funding support for up to six early-stage bioscience firms each year, administered through a nonprofit partner. Opportunities are also offered to engage with the state’s bioscience, academic, and policy leaders.
To be eligible for the program, an entity must be a bioscience firm engaged in the commercialization of bioscience research and biotechnology and/or the sale of products in the areas of:
- Medical devices and equipment;
- Drugs, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics;
- Agricultural feedstock and chemicals;
- Research, testing and medical labs;
- Bioscience-related distribution.
In 2002, the Flinn Foundation commissioned the creation of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, the long-term strategic plan to advance Arizona’s bioscience sector. One of the four main strategies of the original Roadmap was to create a critical mass of bioscience firms in Arizona. In 2014, the Roadmap was updated, with the first of five new goals being to “Form a hub of bioscience entrepreneurs and new enterprises across Arizona.”
To help address this need, the Flinn Foundation launched the Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program to foster entrepreneurship and help bioscience founders develop their early-stage companies into successful and sustainable businesses in Arizona.
Since 2014, the Flinn Foundation has selected 40 Arizona bioscience firms (see below) to participate in the program through a competitive process and has provided nearly $1.2 million in funding support.
Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program Participants
Additive Implants of Phoenix has created an FDA-approved, 3D-printed titanium alloy SureMAX Cervical Spacer System for use in back and neck surgery. The cervical spacer offers a roughened porous surface with several unique features on the superior, inferior, and lateral aspects of the implant, designed to effectively engage bone on the vertebral endplates. These features combine to provide an ideal environment for fusion while also helping to resist rotational forces throughout the healing process.
GenetiRate aims to improve the food supply through natural-selection technology that measures metabolic rates to identify animals that are genetically superior for growth, including fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. Tucson-based GenetiRate uses its proprietary diagnostic assay and sorter to test various aquatic eggs, embryos, hatchlings, and tissues to select aquatic species with greater growth potential and feed efficiency.
Humabiologics provides a stable supply of high–quality, human-derived biomaterials for tissue engineering, research, and regenerative medicine. The Phoenix-based company, dedicated to bridging the gap between researchers and the gift of donated human tissues, partners with academic and industry institutions to develop biomaterials to address debilitating diseases and improve the quality of life for patients.
Resonea is the developer of DROWZLE, an FDA-approved proprietary software and analytical algorithm system for sleep-health guidance deployed on consumer smartphones, including medical-grade screening, detecting, monitoring, and measuring outcomes of obstructive sleep apnea. Scottsdale-based Resonea has also developed the DROWZLE Sleep Health Program and the online Sleep Well/Live Well sleep-improvement program.
RexPay provides an innovative solution to the medical–billing industry through an app where patients can understand, manage, and pay their medical bills and check insurance coverage all in one place. By making it easier for patients to pay, Phoenix-based RexPay helps health–care providers by reducing delayed and defaulted payments, improving patient satisfaction, and reducing operating costs.
SafKan, a Tucson-based company, has developed the first automated ear–cleaning device for clinical use, the OtoSet, for the more than 600 million people worldwide with excess or impacted earwax. The OtoSet’s pulsed irrigation and continuous suction automatically breaks down and removes excess earwax in 35 seconds.
AdviNow Medical integrates artificial intelligence and augmented reality into a medical encounter with a patient, revolutionizing patient-provider interaction. The clinical visit is completely automated as the AI interacts with patients to collect symptoms, take vitals, and deliver a complete patient workup with a breakdown of predicted illnesses and treatment options. The technology is currently in use at select Safeway stores.
CATS Tonometer has developed the FDA-approved Correcting Applanation Tonometer Surface prism, which studies show significantly improves intraocular-eye-pressure measurement data—a key metric in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and other conditions. The CATS solution is implemented by simply changing out the existing prism and does not require any changes in clinician measurement technique.
Desert Valley Tech is the creator of the HemaPorter, a cold-chain custody and storage solution for blood products, organs, pharmaceuticals and vaccines that provides medical personnel greater access to critical tools in war zones, remote locations, and disaster areas. The rechargeable, dockable container provides real-time monitoring and can be transported by drones.
Emagine Solutions Technology is a mobile health-care company and developer of VistaScan, a software platform that transforms a mobile phone or tablet into a powerful, high-quality ultrasound device. The company’s mission is to provide affordable, quality ultrasound to clinicians in low-resource settings to improve health outcomes around the world.
NANOPEC offers scalable solutions to businesses by helping to make pharmaceuticals safer. The company manufactures MetaPurex nano-filtration solutions for high-precision purification of pharmaceuticals, avoiding both harm to patients and product recalls. MetaPurex pores are nano-size, highly ordered, free of defects, and able to filter out all bacteria, including mycoplasma and most common viruses.
Ordinatrix’s mission is to be the leader in translational proteomics and offer researchers a disruptive tool for the analysis of protein function. The company’s ActiveArrays can place a human protein microarray on a small slide for the research and development of new drugs, biomarkers, and other precision-medicine tools.
Avery Therapeutics is a Tucson-based startup company dedicated to advancing tissue-engineered therapeutics to treat diseases and injuries to human muscle. Avery’s lead product, MyCardia, a tissue-engineered heart graft developed to treat heart failure, is in the pre-clinical development phase. MyCardia is positioned to be the world’s first off-the-shelf product for treating heart failure.
Scottsdale-based Gemneo Bioscience has created a new immune-cell profiling technology that identifies each patient’s unique tumor signature and also identifies rogue cells that current technologies have not been able to detect. The technology will give physicians a more precise tool for effectively treating cancer and a host of other diseases.
GT Medical Technologies, a Mesa-based medical-device company, has developed an innovative approach to the treatment of brain tumors by combining a conformable collagen matrix with brachytherapy (radiation) seeds. The company’s first product, GammaTile, is protected by 10 issued U.S. patents and is available for investigative uses.
NanoCheq, formerly Vapometry Biolabs, of Phoenix analyzes the gases released by biological specimens to create accurate, cost-effective diagnostics for hospitals and consumers. The company’s flagship product is a diagnostic for sepsis, which affects over 1 million Americans every year, that diagnoses the disease within four hours—a four-to-tenfold improvement over the current standard of care.
Phoenix-based TheraSpecs manufactures and sells precision-tinted eyewear that helps people with more than 50 conditions, including migraines, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders, and traumatic brain injuries. The lenses directly address light-triggering symptoms from fluorescent lighting, computer and device screens, or sunlight for those with conditions triggered or worsened by light.
The Scottsdale-based company’s flagship product, TouchPoints, is a neuroscience wearable that alleviates stress in as little as 30 seconds. A successful PTSD therapy component isolated into the patent-pending BLAST technology can reduce general stress, improve sleep and focus, enhance performance, reduce cravings, and help users manage anger by safely and non-invasively interfering with nervous-system reactivity.
Biosensing Instrument is a Tempe-based company that designs high-sensitivity instruments to analyze molecular interactions based on Surface Plasmon Resonance, a technique used across the life sciences and nanotechnology applications.
BMSEED, or BioMedical Sustainable Elastic Electronic Devices, is a Phoenix-based company that develops commercial products based on stretchable gold films. The company focuses on products for biomedical applications that require soft and stretchable electronic interfaces with cells, tissue, or skin.
Iron Horse Diagnostics, a Scottsdale-based company, is developing the first diagnostic test to rapidly determine if a patient has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The firm is also developing markers of disease progression to be used during clinical trials and a test to detect and monitor brain injury and concussion.
Phoenix Interface Technologies
Phoenix Interface Technologies of Tempe has developed a solar-powered device that serves as a platform to attract and eliminate destructive disease-causing and crop-damaging insects. The device uses five sensory outputs to attract specific insects while sparing beneficial ones.
Poba Medical is a Flagstaff-based medical device company that provides engineering expertise in balloon design and development, device assembly, pilot manufacturing, and the production of catheter devices and intricate balloon assemblies.
Reglagene, a Tucson-based startup, uses a unique technology known as DNA quadruplex science to regulate genes as part of the drug-discovery process.
SMART Brain Aging is a Phoenix-based health-care technology company delivering research-supported programs, in person and virtually, that reduce cognitive decline in aging brains.
AniCell Biotech is a Chandler-based company that extends the active life of animals using a revolutionary treatment that can alleviate debilitating injuries through accelerated regeneration of tissue and bone. The treatment uses amnion growth factors and cellular components collected non-invasively during birth at zero risk to the animals.
bioSyntagma’s Light Stream FloCell is capable of extracting a single cell or bulk cells from a targeted area, facilitating the evolution of health care towards personalized medicine. The process developed by the Scottsdale-based company, formerly known as Omica Science, increases the overall quantity and quality of cellular material collected.
Breezing has created the world’s first mobile metabolism tracker that measures an individual’s metabolism through breathing. The Tempe-based company tracks one’s metabolism over time and integrates with weight, activity, and dieting goals to provide customized feedback on reaching weight goals.
EpiFinder’s proprietary app software enables neurologists to improve the consistency of seizure classification and the accuracy of epilepsy diagnosis. By providing quicker and more accurate diagnoses for a specific epilepsy syndrome, the Scottsdale-based EpiFinder reduces health-care costs for hospitals, enables doctors to provide personalized medicine, and helps to improve the quality of life of patients.
Neolight uses phototherapy beds to cure jaundice in pre-term and full-term babies quickly and without side effects. The Scottsdale-based company developed a small and portable incubator with LEDs that provides quick treatment time, reduces the amount of parts needed, uses a small amount of power, and enables newborns to remain close to their mothers.
Symple Surgical’s DirectAblate Renal Denervation System is designed to help hundreds of millions of patients worldwide living with chronic hypertension, or high blood pressure, through a minimally invasive vascular procedure. The system developed by the Flagstaff-based company delivers microwave thermal energy directly to the precise location of overactive sympathetic nerves while minimizing thermal exposure to non-targeted tissue.
EndoVantage is building a virtual patient treatment planning center in which medical procedures are planned before treatment and medical devices are tested before patient exposure, in both cases dramatically improving patient care and reducing cost. The EndoVantage Interventional Suite (EVIS) utilizes real patient data to plan patient-specific endovascular treatments and review the outcomes before surgery using advanced mathematics, computer modeling, and mechanical and fluid dynamics.
NextPotential recycles CO2 emissions directly into natural gas. NextPotential can produce natural gas for less than half the market price in the United States using the patented photocatalyst that is activated directly by light, with no additional thermal or photovoltaic energy input. The product is a modular, turnkey unit that can be easily integrated with existing infrastructure to generate a low-cost, zero-carbon biofuel that can be re-used onsite.
Photon Medical Communications has a secure communications software system that enables hospital emergency room physicians to share vital patient information with on-call specialists in “real-time” utilizing unique, patent-pending “push-notification” technology. Photon provides a HIPAA-compliant way for hospitals to relay images and lab results using mobile devices. Physicians can respond with directions using text or the voice transcription tool.
Pollen-Tech is developing a high-tech method to pollinate crops and reduce food growers’ dependence on standard bee pollination, which has become particularly important in light of the collapse of bee colonies around the world. The firm’s mission is to revolutionize agriculture by significantly improving food security in the United States and in countries around the world.
SiO2 Nanotech has created an anti-fogging technology that solves the problem of lens fogging for high-precision medical instrumentation. The company’s product controls droplet formation, and thus fogging, by physically changing the way the surface responds to condensation and ensuring the surface remains transparent. The technology has also established demand within the sports, automotive, construction, and consumer-goods industries.
Verve Medical is creating a medical device that uses radio frequency energy to stop certain nerves from causing high blood pressure. The technology is based on a non-surgical, non-invasive, low-risk, natural-orifice approach to Renal Denervation. The treatment is safe, bloodless and can be performed in an outpatient clinic or potentially an urologist’s office.
Arbsource designs, builds and sells electricity-producing, wastewater treatment equipment to breweries, dairies, potato chip companies, and similar customers, solving the problem of using old, inefficient, and expensive on-site treatment systems and incurring high raw wastewater discharge fees from municipalities.
MSDx is a diagnostics firm that provides novel biomarker tools for studying disease processes, including a blood test panel to monitor disease activity and therapeutic response to those individuals affected by Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. These biomarkers may provide meaningful information that can aid in monitoring disease progression and response to drug therapy, predict an impending relapse, and facilitate drug development.
Pinnacle Transplant Technologies is a multi-service tissue bank that processes donated cadaveric tissues for transplant into live human recipients. The company has also developed and is commercializing a demineralized bone matrix (DBM) putty that is used with bone extending and grafting.