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Entrepreneur Spotlight showcased local companies

More than 100 area business leaders and biotech investors gathered July 12 for the fifth annual Entrepreneur Spotlight at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC) in Doylestown.

The Spotlight is a “Shark Tank”-style event showcasing companies based at the center to potential investors.

The program began with three early-stage biotech entrepreneurs pitching their company to the investors that can help make their ideas a reality. Following their pitch, the presenters fielded questions from a panel of investors and experts in business development, as well as from the audience.

Each of the three young companies is headquartered at PABC, a life sciences incubator that currently houses over 40 companies, with plans for major expansion in the coming year.

The panel of experts included Fred Jones, partner, BioAdvance; Mehul Shah, senior director, business assessment, Pfizer; Elizabeth Sigety, Esq., partner, Fox Rothschild, and managing director, co-founder, Delaware Crossing Investor Group; and Vladimir Walko, CEO and fund manager, Hatch Biofund Management.

The biotech companies showcased during the event were:

JAI Aesthetics, which is developing and commercializing a line of professional and consumer face masks under the brand name Collagen Veil®;

NeuEsse Inc., whose product OmegaSkinTM is a plant-based (soybean) protein skin substitute electrospun into an extra-cellular matrix in sheets/rolls or directly onto patients with a “no-touch” hand-held spin blower; and

Qrumpharma, Inc., a pharmaceutical firm focused on the development of therapeutics for the treatment of severe chronic and recurrent infections, such as Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) pulmonary infections.

The evening concluded with an awards ceremony. Michael Daley, PhD, was named Entrepreneur of the Year for his leadership of OrthogenRx, a medical device company focused on the development and commercialization of treatments for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.

The company began at the PABC and has now moved nearby to a location in Doylestown, maintaining its local roots. Founded in 2012, Daley’s company has grown to 30 employees and has brought two products to market.

TriVisc became the second product of OrthogenRx’s to be approved by the FDA as a class III medical device for the treatment of osteoarthritic knee pain.

It was commercially launched in the first quarter 2019 and was officially recognized during the event as part of PABC’s Product Wall of Fame, which recognizes medical devices and drugs that were developed at the center.

This year’s Spotlight event was made possible by the support of Signature Events Presenting Sponsor Citibank, and Platinum Sponsor Univest.

PABC is launching a major expansion effort slated to break ground in the fall. The expansion will add an additional 40,000 square feet of space, and is expected to create 100 new jobs.

The expansion will include the creation of the Hatch BioAccelerator, a program for a limited number of select concept-stage companies, providing office and laboratory space, mentoring, consultation, and advisory services, in addition to access to the supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem of the center.

PABC also recently announced a partnership with Discovery Labs, which will bring PABC’s successful model to second location in King of Prussia, with IQ Connect, the Discovery Labs incubator. PABC will manage the new 100,000-square-foot business incubator and laboratory, anticipated to open in the fall.

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