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March 09, 2020 | Tom Ballard

EDP Biotech wins NOLA’s “I Deserve It Challenge,” headed to Big Easy and Tempe

EDP Biotech Inc. is the winner of the “I Deserve It Challenge” hosted by Tulane University and Ujamaa Economic Development and will be in the “Big Easy” later this month for the “2020 New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge” later this month.

Organized by the New Orleans Business Alliance and two of the region’s largest healthcare organizations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System, the event is designed to uncover new partners to address critical behavioral health needs for their customers.

“I was initially contacted by a representative at the Alliance who had done some background research on EDP Biotech and our early detection technology,” said Eric Mayer, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. “After learning more about this ‘Health Innovators Challenge’ opportunity and the problem some of their city residents face trying to access healthcare, we determined there was a great fit.”

The event is March 23, ironically during “Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month,” and Mayer is optimistic that the interactions will have a major impact on the company.

“I think we will make a big splash in New Orleans just as we did at SEBIO (Southeast BIO) Investor & Partnering Forum, LSTCON (Life Science Tennessee’s annual meeting), and Innov865 (‘Start-up Day Knoxville’) last year,” Mayer said. “The resulting dialogue we will open with insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield will be instrumental in our future growth and reimbursement strategy here in the United States.”

He added that the New Orleans event also represents a significant opportunity to focus energy on the U.S. market.

“In recent years, EDP Biotech has focused almost exclusively on markets and geographies outside of the U.S.,” Mayer said, adding those were health systems in the European Union that perform nation-wide organized colorectal cancer screenings. “This new step in our journey will allow us to further engage with health system experts and payors/insurers, initially to understand unmet healthcare needs specific to the New Orleans population, and then expand out from there.”

Mayer also underscored a point that is a recurring challenge for many technology start-ups, particularly those in the life science sector.

“New Orleans also offers competitive financial incentives for tech companies like ours who may be looking to expand and grow their business in the future, for instance opening a second laboratory site for EDP Biotech while we keep our headquarters here in Knoxville,” he added.

At the end of the month Mayer and EDP Biotech’s lead scientist (Jason Liggett) head to Tempe to present results of their recent study at the Steering Committee meeting of the Early Detection Research Network, an initiative of the National Cancer Institute that brings together dozens of institutions to help accelerate the translation of biomarker information into clinical applications

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