By Mordechai Applebaum
JLM-BioCity’s Biomed Startup Pitch Evening took place on December 20th, 2016 at the Azrieli College of Engineering. Five medical device start-up companies were selected to pitch – CareNav, NiMD, NovaLaca, RapiDx and RenalSense – in front of a distinguish panel that was composed of Dr. Asher Holtzer (CEO, Dalix Therapeutics Inc.), Dr. Oded Wachsman (CEO, Gaico Investments) and Dr. Ze’ev Weinfeld (CEO, MedX Xelerator).
In each event of The Pitch Evening Series, promising bio-companies are selected to pair up with an experienced mentor, who provides counsels on how to improve their presentation, content and delivery. Their tutelage culminates in the Pitch Evening where they present their pitch in front of leading bio investors and companies.
Most patients are bewildered by current medical treatments because they lack heath literacy. This can lead to miscommunication, misunderstanding, non-compliance, and inefficiencies across the healthcare system. CareNav is a digital health platform that aims to solve this health literacy problem through virtual consultations with patient navigators, before and after medical treatments. CareNav provides a scalable platform that connects patients to an independent network of nurses for one-on-one consultations to cover all the layers of care around doctor/patient relationship. By gaining the relevant knowledge the patient is empowered to make a truly informed decision regarding the treatment to be chosen. “As far as we can go in healthcare with innovation, connectivity, diagnostics, and treatment, we can only go as far as our patient compliance,” says Raissa Hacohen, CEO of CareNav.
After a personal tragedy struck – losing a dear friend to breast cancer – Dr. Anan Copty determined to create a novel, painless and non-invasive procedure that could remove breast cancer tumors and replace the traditional methods of treatment – namely surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. NiMD succeeded in developing such a treatment within a wand-link apparatus, based on microwave and nano-particles to selectively target and ablate cancer cells. NiMD is finishing their preclinical animal trials and will soon commence clinical trials, when funding is raised. The NiMD team is confident that they developed a simple procedure for breast cancer removal in the course of a visit to the doctor, with no surgery and no ensuing aesthetic and psychological effects.
NovaLaka is developing a novel delivery system to battle vaginal atrophy and dryness. Delivery is though a biodegradable non-toxic strip that releases moisture for hours, without the adverse effects common to drug or hormonal treatment. Application is simple and intimate and does not interfere with any daily or intimate activity. This, along with it relative extended moistening period, surpasses cream and gel-based applications.
RapiDx developed a patented lancet in a novel device that can collect and analyze blood for various conditions in a controlled and concealed fashion. This minimizes pain and reduces error caused by anxiety from the lancet, producing a device that is suitable for home testing with no need for a professional health provider. Currently, RapiDx is focusing on HIV and cardiac markers for home testing, but this platform harbors the potential to be implemented in other tests as well.
Acute renal failure is a great concern in ICUs, as well as other hospital departments. Current testing is either subjective, and usually not maintained in the required frequency, or too late an indicator for effective intervention. RenalSense developed a device that detects urine flow in real time with high sensitivity. Such a device not only can warn about renal failure at its onset, but also can monitor the efficacy of the intervening treatment as it is provided, allowing better and quicker adjustment of doses or substituting to alternative treatments as required.
The results were excellent, well-polished pitches, notwithstanding astute and constructive comments from the panelists, which will undoubtedly serve other attendees in their molding of their presentation. “I was truly impressed with the startups that pitched in the event, by their preparation and enthusiasm,” commented Dr. Ze’ev Weinfeld, CEO of MedX Xelerator..
“The JLM-BioCity Pitch event succeeded in introducing many start-up companies to many investors, in addition to the panel. It also was a source of inspiration to the many bio entrepreneurs that participated in the event”, summarized Joe van Zwaren, president of JLM-BioCity.
The next JLM-BioCity Pitch Event is scheduled for April 2017 and will present Pharma start-up companies.