If you ask Heather Hanson about innovation in the life science and biotechnology spaces in Texas, she would tell you activity has been apace over the past couple of years despite the pandemic. Hanson is CEO of BioMedSA, a member-driven organziation that promotes healthcare and biomedical industries in San Antonio. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of the healthcare and bioscience sector, create regional economic benefit, and contribute to the health of San Antonio and beyond.
“Collaboration is embedded in the life science industry, as companies routinely connect with other organizations in San Antonio,” Hanson said. “BioMedSA serves to facilitate those collaborations as a hub for the life science industry in San Antonio.”
The nonprofit is holding its annual BioFest on March 30 starting at 8:30 am at the University of the Incarnate Word’s Sky Room. BioFest Invest connects potential investors from across the nation with Texas bioscience companies seeking investment funding, while sharing best practices, connections, and valuable advice.
The day-long event includes experienced experts speaking on topics relevant to bioscience companies. Organizations that provide support to bioscience entrepreneurs will also be on-site to provide information.
In alphabetical order, here are the companies pitching at BioFest:
- Alt-Bionics is a San Antonio-based startup launched in 2019 and is producing an affordable version of the prosthetic hand medical device.
- Bexar Biomedical was launched in San Antonio in 2019 and is a pain management company leveraging a new medical device and therapeutic.
- Eisana is a Houston-based oncology solution company providing a platform for multiple products to address cancer treatment issues.
- EmergenceMed is a San Antonio startup developing airway technologies spun out from UT Health San Antonio and UTSA.
- Goldminds EDUC is a Dallas-based digital health company developing a software app to enhance people’s post-infection recovery and provide health insurance risk and cost reduction.
- JustAir relocated to San Antonio early in the pandemic to produce its patented, portable face mask system that uses a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR).
- MR3 Health is a San Antonio startup producing a cloud-connected foot sensor for diabetic patients to monitor the health of their feet from home.
- Novothelium is headquartered in San Antonio and is developing a tissue-engineered matrix for nipple regeneration after mastectomy.
- Steradian Technologies in Houston has invented a low-cost diagnostic system that can detect the presence of a bacteria, virus, or biomarker within 30-seconds with 99% accuracy.
- T4 Movement was founded by UTSA graduate student Tony Treser, who is developing a medical device company focused on helping individuals with back pain and musculoskeletal injury.
- Vitanova Biomedical is a San Antonio-based biotech startup developing a new way to treat cancer called photodynamic therapy that causes no side effects and can kill many types of cancers.
- Vivifi Medical is a Houston company has created the first suture-less laparoscopic technology for men’s reproductive health issues.
- Vascular Perfusion Solutions, Inc. is a San Antonio startup with a medical devices designed to preserve and resuscitate vascularized organs.
- Xtraction is located in New Braunfels and is working on biotech for easier surgical specimen and organ retrieval using a minimal incision during surgery.
To attend the BioFest sessions or watch the live pitch competition that starts at noon register by March 23 at this link.
The annual event draws many investors (especially from Austin) who attend the pitch competition. Renovo Concepts benefitted from this exposure at last year’s BioFest.
“Biofest Invest 2021 was a great event for us,” said Renovo CEO Mark Standeford, “We closed with two new investors within a short time after the event.”
Many early-stage life science companies decide to join BioMedSA’s membership program after attending BioFest, Hanson said. BioMedSA membership includes access to its Bio Business Solutions cost savings program, which leverages the purchasing power of members in regional organizations like BioMedSA to negotiate cost savings contracts for supplies and services.
“Our program is geared toward the entrepreneur in the healthcare space,” Hanson said. “BioMedSA belongs to a much larger consortium that negotiates reduced prices with life science vendors and other suppliers of needed services for startups.”
One member, Stem BioSys, saved over $55,000 one year using the BioMedSA member program, while Mission Pharmacal managed to save $157,000. Especially for early-stage startups and companies scaling up operations, these cost savings are significant.
“We’ve been adding anywhere from five to 10 new members each month,” Hanson said. “From fall 2020 to fall 2021 we doubled our membership and we’re on track to triple those numbers in 2022. With so many member companies contributing helpful connections and feedback, we’re fostering a vital resource ecosystem for our life science entrepreneurs.”
The featured image is of a pipette and test tubes in a lab. Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash.