The New Orleans BioInnovation Center Announces Four Finalists in $25,000 Startup Pitch Competition

Selected Louisiana technology startups compete in finals on Nov. 18

NEW ORLEANS--()--The New Orleans BioInnovation Center has announced four finalists in the 3rd Annual BioChallenge—Louisiana’s only pitch competition for emerging life sciences startups. The startups were elected based on the strength of their executive summaries in the first round of competition and will make their live pitch in front of investors on Nov. 18 in hopes of securing a $25,000 cash prize.

“These four finalists are excellent representatives of the numerous early-stage technology companies being created in Louisiana because of our excellent research universities, public and private support, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” said Rhonda Melancon, executive director of LouisianaBio, the state’s not-for-profit trade association representing its broad biotechnology industry. “In a state that is strong in life sciences, agriculture, energy, engineering and IT, there are endless possibilities for creating new technologies and new companies in Louisiana. We congratulate these companies for advancing in the BioChallenge competition.”

The Finalists:

1. AxoSim Technologies: AxoSim is a contract research organization dedicated to improving preclinical pharmaceutical development. Using advanced “nerve-on-a-chip” technology, AxoSim facilitates the prediction of neurological safety and efficacy early in the drug development pipeline. By providing an alternative to animal testing, pharmaceutical companies will have access to high content data faster and earlier than currently possible.

2. Crescentium: Crescentium’s initial product, the GemView LM, is designed to provide critical care physicians with a safe, inexpensive method of performing surgical procedures like tracheostomies while eliminating complications inherent in current procedures. The GemView LM gives physicians the advantage of continuous visualization of the larynx, trachea or lungs without obstructing or removing the patient’s airway.

3. ORA Estuaries: ORA Estuaries grows oyster reefs into living coastal protection infrastructure. The company has developed OysterBreak, which takes advantage of the oyster’s inherent nature of clustering to form a coastal protection structure. The oysters not only form a natural breakwater that helps prevent shoreline erosion, but also help filter the water and grow faster than the sea level rise due to climate change.

4. Taxor Diagnostics: Taxor is developing a diagnostic test to help doctors and patients personalize breast cancer treatment decisions by predicting whether a certain chemotherapy will be successful for a patient’s specific type of cancer. By making this prediction, patients can be spared from ineffective chemotherapy regimens and their side effects and also save valuable treatment time.

Free and open to the public, the BioChallenge pitch competition takes place during Innovation Louisiana 2014, a life sciences entrepreneurship conference held Nov. 17 and 18 at the BioInnovation Center in New Orleans. Innovation Louisiana features regional and national experts discussing industry and investment trends in bioscience startup development. The conference addresses various issues that high-growth startups face, from finding venture capital and grant funding, to navigating regulatory pathways during product development. The pitch event immediately follows the closing keynote of the conference.

Innovation Louisiana takes place each November during Global Entrepreneurship Week, an annual celebration of innovators and startups that drive economic growth worldwide. Major event sponsors include JPMorgan Chase, Jones Walker, and IBERIABANK. The conference concludes on Nov. 19 with a Golf Scramble and Reception at TPC Louisiana, and is hosted by the New Orleans BioFund which offers flexible financing options to emerging companies.


The New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC) is a not-for-profit technology business incubator focused on supporting life sciences entrepreneurs in Southeast Louisiana. The 66,000-square-foot Center offers wet-labs, offices, and conference facilities to emerging companies, as well as educational programming and direct assistance to support entrepreneurs as they develop new technologies and work to bring them to market. These include diagnostic tools, drugs, medical devices, health information platforms, and clean technologies that hold great promise for addressing a wide range of medical and environmental problems.


LouisianaBio is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to building a statewide community for the promotion, development, and expansion of the bioscience industry throughout Louisiana. It is the state affiliate of BIO, the world’s largest biotechnology industry trade organization. LouisianaBio represents companies, academic institutions, research centers, and other related organizations involved in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products and processes. LouisianaBio fosters statewide collaboration and interaction among bioscience researchers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, elected officials and institutions across the state, and with the public at large. For more information call 504-598-5239.


Rhonda Melancon, 504-598-5239

Release Summary

The New Orleans BioInnovation Center has announced the four finalists in the 3rd Annual BioChallenge — Louisiana’s only pitch competition for emerging life sciences startups.


Rhonda Melancon, 504-598-5239