WILMINGTON – Isosceles Pharmaceuticals has won the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge top award and will receive a $20,000 investment and a 12-month tenancy at the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE).

The award will help the venture’s development of a synthetic cannabidiol-derived opioid substitute for acute pain relief.

NC BIONEER announced four award winners on Tuesday for this biotechnology-based, innovation-focused entrepreneurial initiative for Southeastern North Carolina. The competition was launched and led by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office. Lead partners are the University of North Carolina Wilmington and its CIE.

Finalists participated in a two-month process of intense mentoring and other assistance, culminating in Monday’s entrepreneurial pitch judging session. The entrepreneurs pitched their ventures to a panel of expert judges, including investors, entrepreneurial support organizations, life sciences company leaders, and technology innovators.

In addition to the mentoring assistance and monetary awards totaling $40,000, each venture also benefited from focused pitch coaching, NCBiotech’s Life Science Intelligence team’s expert assistance, and many other benefits.

All the winners are based in Wilmington. But companies from Pembroke, Carolina Beach and Surf City also submitted applications.

“The venture applications for this inaugural challenge were exceptional and showed a broad range of biotech-related commercialization activities and opportunities in Southeastern North Carolina,” said Randall Johnson, executive director of NCBiotech’s Southeastern Office.

“This initiative showcases and strengthens the region’s impressive community of innovators and entrepreneurs and helps young companies progress toward attracting investment to boost commercialization of biotech innovations and create high-paying jobs across our region.”

Venture applications for this inaugural challenge represented a broad range of biotech-related innovations and applications, with connections to agriculture, bioenergy, health/medical, advanced materials, industrial biotech, waste-to-energy, technology, and marine biotech.

Diane Durance, director of the UNCW CIE, said in a statement, “The CIE is excited to have this opportunity to provide additional support to entrepreneurs in this important sector. We are pleased to help them with the expertise and resources we have on campus. The emerging biotechnology ventures participating in this challenge will make great contributions to our regional economy as they grow.”

The winning companies

Isosceles Pharmaceuticals delivers synthetic cannabidiol as an IV and transdermal formulation for acute pain relief at lower doses by avoiding first-pass metabolism in the liver.

A $10,000 investment will support the effort by the second-award winner AccuGenomics to market kits for sequencing gene expression tests that accurately diagnose, monitor, and guide cancer treatments. It addresses the lack of standardized sequencing methods in the field of molecular diagnostics resulting in false positives and false negatives.

Third and fourth Award winners Electronic Lab Logs and IndiOmics will each receive $5,000 to bolster their commercialization efforts.

Electronic Lab Logs is a tekMountain-headquartered software company that uses a cloud-based platform for lab maintenance. It notifies users of maintenance schedule and status. Users can review and sign off electronic checks and generate custom reports. It is an alternative to paper logs tracking preventive maintenance on lab equipment, improving compliance and reducing a time-consuming review process to speed up audits.

IndiOmics has developed personalized environmental health assessment kits to test chemical levels and markers of inflammation and immune health in users.

Partners supporting the award included the New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Innovation Center, the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and NC IDEA.

(C) N,C, Biotech Center