LOWELL — A medical-device startup that aims to improve the health of pregnant women is the top winner in an annual pitch contest presented by the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) — a joint initiative of the Lowell and Worcester campuses of the UMass Lowell system.
In its ninth year, the M2D2 $200K Challenge showcases the inventions of early-stage medical device, diagnostic and biotech companies that are poised to revolutionize health care, according to a UMass press release.
Entrepreneurs competing in the contest present their innovations before expert judges, venture capitalists, clinicians, researchers, government and industry leaders and the public, vying for a share of $200,000 in sponsored services and seed money to advance their inventions.
This year’s grand prize winner is Cx Therapeutics, a Boston-based company pioneering a medical device designed to improve the health of pregnant women and prevent premature births. The startup will received $50,000 in seed funding to advance the invention from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the event’s top sponsor and founding sponsor of M2D2, the release states.
“The $200K Challenge continues to draw the best and brightest innovations,” said Jennifer Griffin, the Massachusetts Life Science Center vice president of industry strategy and investments. “The center is proud to support Cx Therapeutics as it aligns strategically with a broader, shared goal of providing capital and resources to accelerate women’s health and innovations.”
More than 250 entrepreneurs from around the world entered the competition, vying for a chance to present their innovations in the contest’s finals. The event, held virtually, was hosted by Mintz in Boston, on Oct. 1.
Nine other finalists were awarded a share of $200,000 in seed funding or in-kind support, including use of research facilities, access to engineering and product development assistance, and legal, regulatory, clinical and business services from the competition’s sponsors.
Industry Partner Award recipients will receive a share of the $200,000 in seed funding from the medical device and pharmaceutical companies that sponsored their prize. The winners are:
- Prolifagen, for a medication that regenerates heart muscle, sponsored by Amgen
- Navigation Sciences, for a GPS-guided device that will help locate and remove tumors, sponsored by Asahi Intecc USA Inc.
- AiM Medical Robotics, for a novel platform to assist in brain surgery, sponsored by Boston Scientific
- RBI Medical, for a nerve-stimulating device that improves pelvic health conditions, sponsored by Hologic
- CranioSense, for a device that measures pressure inside the brain after traumatic injury, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson
- ExonanoRNA, for RNA nanotechnology to treat cancer, sponsored by Sarepta
The contest’s Service Provider Award winners will receive in-kind support from the companies that sponsored their prize. The recipients are:
- Oriel Research Therapeutics, which is developing a platform for the early detection of diseases, will receive strategy assistance from Argenta Advisors.
- Navigation Sciences and AiM Medical Robotics will receive guidance with product development from MPR Associates.
- Navigation Sciences and RBI Medical, along with Hyalex Orthopaedics, a company that has developed synthetic cartilage and implants, and Savran Technologies, which has invented a way to capture rare cells from blood, will receive legal assistance from Mintz.
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis