CIE Announces NC BIONEER Venture Challenge Award Winners

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office recently announced the winners of the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge. The life-sciences-based, innovation-focused venture challenge for Southeastern North Carolina was established to raise the profile, increase the volume, and enhance the success of regional life science innovation, commercialization, entrepreneurs and companies.

The top prize winner, Isosceles Pharmaceuticals, will receive a $20,000 investment and a 12-month tenancy at the CIE to benefit the venture’s development of a synthetic cannabidiol-derived opioid substitute.

"The CIE is excited to have this opportunity to provide additional support to entrepreneurs in this important sector,” said Diane Durance, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “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.”

Other winners include AccuGenomics, which received a $10,000 investment to support their effort to market kits for sequencing gene expression tests that accurately diagnose, monitor and guide cancer treatments; and Electronic Lab Logs and IndiOmics, each of which will receive $5,000 to bolster their commercialization efforts.

“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 NC Biotech’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.”

Finalists participated in a two-month process of intense mentoring and other assistance, culminating in an entrepreneurial pitch session. In addition to the mentoring assistance and monetary awards, each venture also benefited from focused pitch coaching, NC Biotechnology Center Life Science Intelligence Team expert assistance, and many other benefits.

Venture applications for this 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. Advancing research and fostering collaborative partnerships are primary objectives of the university’s Strategic Plan.