Artificial intelligence to assist Alzheimer’s disease caregivers, rapid virus screeners, a headband to monitor for concussions, and new technologies for surgeries and drug discovery are some of the innovations of the bioscience startups that are participants in the 2021 Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program.
Seven Arizona-based bioscience startups will each receive $30,000 in funding support through a nonprofit partner, a personalized learning plan to help advance the company, and connections with the state’s bioscience leaders in business, research, and policy.
The Flinn Foundation has competitively selected 47 bioscience firms in Arizona since 2014 to participate and provided nearly $1.4 million in support for the program.
“We are thrilled to welcome these seven Arizona startups into our program, which we believe will accelerate their path to success in the biosciences and lead to innovations that will improve the lives of Arizonans and people around the world,” said Tammy McLeod, Flinn Foundation president and CEO.
The 2021 program winners, including five bioscience startups from the Phoenix area and two from Tucson, are:
Botanisol Analytics of Phoenix is developing rapid, digital virus screeners for COVID-19 and other pathogens. The portable device can be operated anywhere by minimally trained, non-medical personnel and provides results about chemical and biological threats in less than 10 minutes. A laser is used to detect molecular signatures and allows for real-time analysis in the field.
LabPair is a web application that matches scientists with incomplete, complementary work, thereby improving their collective chances of publishing and receiving funding. The Tucson-based company will be especially impactful for biomedical research, as it will help eliminate redundancy, increase the pace of research, and result in more impactful studies.
Movement Interactive is a developer of wearable technology to address undiagnosed concussions and unreported falls. The Phoenix-based company is the maker of the Hiji® band, a comfortable and versatile headband with a Bluetooth sensor that connects to a mobile app to provide real-time data directly to parents and coaches about possible concussion-strength impacts.
Paxauris is a Phoenix-based company that has created soft, silicone earplugs that inflate in the ear to provide a comfortable seal that blocks unwanted noise. The earplug is fabricated from durable materials and is designed to be reusable for more than 100 insertions. The earplug can also serve as a biometric platform for many physiological measurements.
Phoenix-based Satori Orthopaedics is developing a next-generation intramedullary nail that expedites healing from tibia and femur fractures and decreases the potential for complications requiring additional surgery. This is the first intramedullary nail which allows surgeon-modulated controlled axial motion.
Scintillation Nanotechnologies develops, manufactures, and sells multiplexed nanoscale radioisotope detectors for use in drug discovery in academic, biotech, and pharmaceutical research laboratories. The unique chemical and physical properties of the Tucson-based company’s products give researchers unprecedented insight into drug uptake, binding, and distribution while saving time and reducing costly hazardous waste.
TapRoot Interventions & Solutions has created an AI-powered digital assistant, Ella, to provide a personalized behavioral approach in caring for cognitively impaired individuals, beginning with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The Phoenix-based company’s TapRoot smartphone-based system provides behavioral interventions for patients, helping caregivers improve their efficiency and performance.
The program benefits include a $30,000 grant awarded to and administered by the nonprofit Arizona Bioindustry Association, a trade association that promotes the growth of the state’s bioscience sector, as well as a tailored, yearlong learning plan provided by an industry expert. The firms also receive a one-year membership to Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, joining new leaders Eve Ross and Heather Carter and more than 125 science, health-care, business, academic, and policy leaders who guide Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, the state’s long-term strategic plan.
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.
To learn more about the Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program and the nearly 50 selected Arizona firms, visit flinn.org/entrepreneur.
The Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. In addition to advancing the biosciences in Arizona, the foundation supports the Flinn Scholars Program, a merit-based college scholarship program; arts and culture; and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership.