Seven Arizona bioscience startup firms were competitively selected to participate in the 2017 Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program, which was established to foster entrepreneurship and help early-stage bioscience companies develop into successful and sustainable businesses in Arizona.
The firms—based in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Tucson—will receive $30,000 each in funding support and program services administered through a nonprofit partner.
Since 2014, the Flinn Foundation has allocated $645,000 in grants to Arizona nonprofits to provide funding and services to 22 early-stage bioscience firms.
“Launching a new company always presents risks and challenges, but the hurdles are especially great in the life sciences, where regulation and competition are so complex,” said Jack B. Jewett, President and CEO of the Flinn Foundation. “These seven firms, which epitomize the ingenuity of Arizona’s startup community, will receive services and funding at a vital moment in their development.”
The 2017 winning companies are:
- Biosensing Instrument: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
To qualify for the program, the selected firms must be 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; or bioscience-related distribution—the industry categories recognized together as the biosciences in Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap.
A review committee appointed by the Flinn Foundation reviews all written applications, interviews the finalists, and makes its recommendations to the foundation.
In addition to receiving funding and services through a nonprofit partner, company leaders participate for one year as members of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, a group of the state’s science, health care, business, academia, and policy leaders responsible for overseeing Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap.
The application for the 2018 Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program will be available later this year.