Eight companies, including two from Knoxville whose progress has been chronicled in past articles on teknovation.biz, will comprise the second cohort of Chattanooga’s “HealthTech Accelerator.”
The two Knoxville-based participants are Qardian Labs, the artificial intelligence-based start-up focused on helping healthcare professionals better identify risk of cardiac issues and guide treatment for patients, and EDP Biotech Corporation that designs and develops blood tests for the early detection of disease to optimize for best patient outcome.
Launched last year, the “HealthTech Accelerator” is offered by CO.LAB, the Southeast Tennessee start-up organization, in partnership with Erlanger, the nation’s 10th-largest public healthcare system, and Unum, a Fortune 500 insurance company. Unlike the 2019 edition, however, this year’s programming will be delivered in a virtual format in response to the COVID-19 crisis and to ensure safety for all program participants.
The 10-week accelerator begins Monday, June 22, and Unum and Erlanger team members will again serve as mentors, offering their industry expertise, insight and connections.
“The healthcare landscape has changed greatly during the COVID-19 crisis, and that is why we see this year’s accelerator as a critical opportunity to accelerate innovation in this industry,” said Marcus Shaw, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CO.LAB.
Besides Qardian Labs and EDP Biotech, the other participants are:
- Medicare Pathfinder, Inc., an Atlanta-based data analytics platform that uses machine learning to help health providers to optimize their Medicare operations;
- Vascugenix from Little Rock, AR, a medical device company focused on developing innovative products to improve interventional vascular procedures;
- Articulate Labs, based in Dallas, another medical device company whose first product is called the KneeStim, a light and form-fitting device that uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) to conveniently strengthen and re-educate quadriceps muscles in sync with regular activity, turning each step into a muscle-building repetition;
- Midas Health Corporation from Portland, OR, that is a software platform generating branded video job descriptions to help customers drive candidate reach, engagement, and conversion;
- Xcellent Life, a Lexington, TN-based start-up that developed a cloud-based platform using gamification and data analysis to promote health and wellness in a personalized and proactive way; and
- MindCotine, Inc. from San Jose, CA that has a health and wellness product that trains smokers to quit by combining virtual reality, psychological therapy, and a craving support center via a mobile app and VR kit.
Qardian Labs was founded by Sofia Tomov, now a junior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her inspiration for the venture was her grandmother who collapsed from an undetected heart problem at Tomov’s 10th birthday party.
EDP Biotech was founded by Tom Boyd, a serial Knoxville Entrepreneur. Eric Mayer serves as CEO of the company that has been focused on bringing to market its ColoPlex™ product to detect colorectal cancer. It recently launched a COVID-19 antibody testing service and upcoming product in response to the coronavirus.
Ironically, both companies were winners in the recent Launch Tennessee-Nashville Entrepreneur Center “Pitch for Good: Pandemic Edition” event. EDP Biotech captured first place in the “Idea in Motion” category, while Qardian Labs won the crowd favorite prize.
In the case of Tomov, she said that she “applied to the CO.LAB accelerator because I was extremely drawn to the mentorship opportunities that would help me grow my business and achieve key milestones. Qardian’s next milestones involve completing more pilot tests, continuing to demonstrate clinical viability, and gaining more feedback on how to integrate seamlessly with existing workflow. I am honored and excited to be part of the CO.LAB cohort.”
Mayer voiced similar thoughts, particularly about ways to further advanced the company.
“EDP Biotech is honored to be selected for the CO.LAB virtual healthcare tech accelerator alongside other stellar companies across the country,” he said. “Like many small businesses trying to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, we sought new opportunities to strengthen our company rather than simply ‘survive’ the difficult times. Our focus has always been colorectal cancer blood testing, and we applied for the CO.LAB accelerator to present ColoPlex™ to potential strategic partners, learn from great healthcare minds and colleagues, improve our go-to-market strategy, and navigate reimbursement landscape. In addition, we will soon put our blood testing expertise and personnel to good use helping Tennesseans as the economy re-opens. This accelerator program will allow us to better position ourselves and communicate our competitive advantages for COVID-19 antibody testing in our recently-certified CLIA lab.”