May 6, 2019
Temple Daily Telegram | Janice Gibbs
The Temple Health and Bioscience District annual symposium for entrepreneurs had about 90 people in attendance who heard from leaders in the fields of the medical marketplace, funding, branding and more.
There were panel discussions as well as individual speakers.
The final exercise was the pitch competition, where individuals were given about five minutes each to present a synopsis of a new product they want to bring to the market to an expert panel of judges, made up of seasoned entrepreneurs, medical device and diagnostics marketing experts, product life cycle management, pricing management and corporate development.
First place in the pitch competition is awarded $10,000, second place is $5,000 in services from a Temple company and third place is $2,500 in business services from a Temple company.
The first-place winner in the pitch competition was Nabaco.
Carlos Corona spoke of Nabaco’s effort to decrease spoilage in food products.
In the United States, $30 billion in revenue is lost each year to spoilage in the wholesale food market, Corona said.
Nabaco’s Nature Wrap is an edible protective liquid coating that triples the shelf life of produce at room temperature.
Nature Wrap is transparent with no taste or odor and it retards the formation of mold in every item tested, Corona said.
“It can be easily implemented by growers,” he said. “It’s safe for human consumption and is certified for use on organic produce.”
The biochemical technology keeps the moisture of the item inside and oxygen and mold out, Corona said.
Nabaco expects to break even by the end of its second year and see revenue of more than $60 million by the fifth year, he said.
Trials should begin with cherry growers in Oregon in June, Corona said.
Jeff Levine, a former tenant of the Temple Health and Bioscience District and winner of last year’s pitch competition, opened up this year’s event.
Levine, founder and CEO of Advanced Scanners, said the culture among the Bioscience District staff and board of directors is that they really believe in helping out those with innovative ideas at the beginning of the process.
The $10,000 Levine won at the last pitch competition funded a prototype of his scanner that can be used by neurosurgeons during surgery.
A person Levine met through Tami Annable, executive director of the Bioscience District, funded a cadaver study that provided data.
“Data takes you from the idea stage to heading toward the implementation stage,” he said.
Ten individuals gave pitches that ranged from a device to protect a patient’s teeth when being intubated prior to surgery, improving embryo selection for livestock and testing bio contaminants using DNA.
Pat Kothe, president and CEO of EM Device Lab, gave a presentation on the company’s Quickloop abscess treatment device. EM Device placed second in the pitch competition.
“We anticipate sales this year,” Kothe said.
About 1.6 million abscesses are treated in the U.S. per year, he said.
The treatment for abscesses hasn’t changed in thousands of years, so the goal is to get the pus out, Kothe said. Most of the time, the abscess is opened with a scalpel and then drained. The wound is then packed with gauze.
“There is 10 percent failure rate in this 1,000-year-old procedure and the pain associated with the packing and unpacking is significant,” he said.
A new technique is emerging, the loop drainage technique, which uses two smaller incisions and a loop of plastic material that forms a channel inside the abscess and is the means of draining the wound.
“Though the process is not new, no product has been developed to act as a conduit for getting the pus out,” Kothe said. EM Device has come up with a single use product that uses a loop technique.
“If you can place a suture, you can use this system,” he said. “It irrigates the wound from the inside out.”
Stan Marrett pitched MR3 Health Inc., a company that provides a service and preventative technology to patients and insurance companies in regard to dealing with diabetic foot issues. MR3 placed third in the competition.
There are 30 million diabetics in the United States, 10 million have neuropathy and 1.5 million of those individuals will develop an ulcer. More than 100,000 will require amputation, Marrett said.
“That’s about a $58 billon problem,” he said.
Treating foot ulcers happens after an ulcer develops.
MR3 developed a device that takes the temperature of the foot in six locations, which detects inflammation under the skin.
The patient takes the temperature of their feet, which is then sent to a cloud database where it is analyzed. If the patient isn’t using the device, an alert is sent.
“We’re ready to go to market,” Marrett said.
“This year’s symposium, ‘Growing to Success: Startup and Beyond,’ was a great success,” Annable said. “Our attendees came from all over Central Texas and they were able to network with 19 speakers and other guests.”
Not only were the speaker topics relevant but they engaged the audience. Questions were asked and answered on various topics from funding to the pros and cons of international business.
The keynote speakers, Brandon Price, “So You Think You Want to be an Entrepreneur,” and Jim Sargent, “Building the Right Team-Should You Pivot,” gave thought-provoking talks, Annable said.