Last week was 3 consecutive days of pitches, 3 different settings, 3 different audiences. I heard a lot of great ideas in a wide variety of styles. Some were more sales-focused, some more data-focused. Some founders were nervous, others strode out with confidence. The diversity was astounding: Ideas included fish food, virtual reality treatment for stroke, cancer treatments, medical devices and research libraries. There was also a wide diversity in founders giving the pitches, women, men, a mix of ethnicities, races, backgrounds, and countries of origin.
Uniting them all together was the excitement and passion with which they spoke about their ideas, their progress and their future.
Here’s a taste of what I heard:
Filtricine: Finishing up its residency at IndieBio, Filtricine premises its cancer treatment on the hypothesis that cancer cells can be differentially killed by their need for an exogenous supply of specific nutrients that healthy cells make for themselves. The treatment consists of a defined diet plus a dialysis treatment to remove the nutrients from the bloodstream.
Oralta came to the stage at IndieBio demo day and announced that it has already sold its first batch of product. Oralta uses a proprietary mix of microbes to address oral health issues. Its first product is directed at bad breath, using the hypothesis that the good microbes will displace, suppress or provoke the immune system to get rid of the bad microbes at the root of the bad breath problem.
Stamm brought forward a new microbioreactor for growing cells and making proteins. The novel design provides for significantly increased yields. The data presented included 70-100 fold increases for recombinant proteins made in bacteria and mammalian cells. Intriguingly, the bioreactor is so small, one of the founders pulled it out of his pants pocket to show the audience.
AimRNA pitched an RNA production platform to presenters. The company is a resident of the UC Davis Venture Catalyst program. The RNA platform uses a specialized RNA structure to provide stability during the production and employs bacteria as the production engine to churn out large amounts of therapeutic RNAs.
Cognivive is using virtual reality (VR) and game format presentation to provide therapy for neuro-related indications. The first iteration is aimed at stroke recovery. The VR simulation is directed to provide improvement to cognitive functions in a format that patients find fun and engaging. Cognivive is part of the UC Davis Venture Catalyst program.
Buto also comes out of UC Davis. Buto is using a known drug as a starting point for development of new compounds. The primary target is Shc, a protein involved in the insulin pathway, with implications for diabetes and NASH treatments.
ViVita is addressing problems in organ replacement, in particular the immune reaction and often organ rejection that follows. The technology is aimed at making animal-derived tissues immune-compatible with humans. The first target and proof of concept experiments are for heart replacement.
Serenity Bioworks is a company focused on modulating the immune system’s response to gene therapy so that delivery of viral vectors does not provoke an unwanted inflammatory reaction. This would allow re-dosing of therapies. Serenity just finished up at IndieBio and is now participating in a CLSI FAST program in partnership with Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA).
iBionics is the developing the Diamond EyeTM, a device to provide artificial sight to individuals with degenerative eye diseases. The company is based in Canada and is currently part of the CLSI FAST-CTA program.