A Bryan-based healthcare research and development company earned the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation’s Launch Prize as part of the 2020 Texas A&M New Ventures Competition.
Bezoar Laboratories was awarded the $10,000 prize as part of the sixth edition of the TNVC, which was held virtually for the first time due to the pandemic.
Founded in 2017, Bezoar invented and is commercializing a patent-pending cattle probiotic. When paired with nitrate, Bezoar says its product decreases methane emissions from the animals by 50 percent, increases beef and dairy product, decreases pathogens by 300 percent, prevents nitrate poisoning, and saves the producer money.
“I’m thrilled to win the BVEDC Launch Prize,” said Dr. Elizabeth Latham, Bezoar’s founder. “I moved here seven years ago for graduate school and fell in love with this community. My husband and I have set up three businesses and produced two little girls here. I’m incredibly proud to call the Brazos Valley my home, and I truly enjoy being part of a tight-knit business community and watching it change and grow with time. Being recognized by the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation and the TNVC means so much to me.”
The Launch Prize is given to a TNVC competitor maintaining its headquarters and core operations in Brazos County. The non-dilutive money supports the strategic economic development objectives of the community and is intended to contribute to the venture’s accelerated market entry.
A record six companies calling the Brazos Valley home were among the 16 semifinalists in this year’s TNVC. Bezoar was one of a record three local companies that made up the group of six finalists, finishing fourth overall in the competition. Bondwell Technologies out of College Station came in fifth, and College Station-based Intelligent Nanofiber finished sixth. All finalists earned a cash prize from TNVC to support their continued progress.
“It has been a banner year for Brazos Valley companies in the TNVC,” said BVEDC President/CEO Matt Prochaska. “As a founding partner of the competition, the BVEDC is proud to see the event become the biggest of its kind in Texas. For companies in ‘The Hub of the Texas Triangle’ to achieve what they have is a testament to their entrepreneurial drive and ingenuity, as well as the support of the entire community. Congratulations to Bezoar on receiving the Launch Prize this year, and to all the local companies on their strong showings.”
In addition to the BVEDC’s Launch Prize, Bezoar was awarded the Axle Box Services Prize. College Station-based Endpoint Security was another special prize winner courtesy of Innovators Legal.
Hosted from the BVEDC executive office suite with social distancing between organizers, the 2020 TNVC began Wednesday, May 13. Representatives from each of the 16 semifinalists presented to judges from across the state using an online platform. The finalists were announced that night. On Thursday, May 14, those six companies presented to judges and a live audience, then answered questions about their work. An elevator pitch competition was also part of the event for semifinalists not advancing to the finals and event alternate companies. Following a one-minute presentation about each company and its work, audience members voted on each effort.
The event is put on by the commercialization team at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the Texas A&M University System, headquartered in College Station. TNVC brings together various statewide entrepreneurial support organizations and promotes the commercialization of new and emerging technology, recognizing Texas-based companies with high-growth potential. Awarded seed funding serves to help the companies execute ideas and advance product development.
For the 2020 TNVC, nearly $400,000 in prize money was awarded, bringing the total prizes in the event’s six-year history to just shy of $2 million. Coming into this year’s competition, semifinalists in the first five years have raised more than $190 million, with 85 percent still in business. Of the first five years’ finalists, 97 percent are either still in business or successfully exited.
Allotrope Medical out of Houston finished with the top prize in the 2020 competition, earning a $50,000 prize. VeraDermics Incorporated based in San Antonio won first place in the elevator pitch.
(Write-ups from the TNVC website)
Bondwell Technologies is a launch stage research and development company targeting the most critical and expensive step in antibody drug manufacturing. Our high-efficiency, low-cost solution could change the frontier of cancer drug manufacturing and therefore, greatly increase access to these life-changing drugs.
Endpoint Security Inc is securing wireless communication. The company is developing a product that authenticates fixed wireless devices in industrial, commercial and home environments. It uses the devices’ natural RF signal as a fingerprint, uniquely identifying and authenticating each device.
Energy Bionics produces a line of devices that were designed with fit, form, and functionality in mind. Energy Bionics harvests solar energy to enable and power mobile and IoT devices, allowing for device charging through a wristwatch.
Intelligent Nanofiber is the producer of a high adsorption material that can be adopted and used in insulation, waste cleaning, desert greening, air filtration, oil recovery, and sound absorption applications. Commercial benefits include medical supplies, pet supplies, and industrial applications.
Solenic Medical Inc. is a medical device company developing an innovative non-invasive way to treat infections on metallic implants in the body. Solenic will leverage the unique properties of alternating magnetic fields generated to eradicate biofilm on the surface of medical implants including prosthetic joints and trauma related implants.