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October 24, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Five start-ups selected for “HeartX Accelerator”

Gates-backed AgBiome might be shutting operations, while a Chapel Hill company secures funding for a clinical trial for an anti-fentanyl drug.

From Bentonville, AR:

The “HeartX Accelerator,” powered by HealthTech Arkansas and MedAxiom along with 11 leading cardiology practices in Arkansas and around the country, has selected the five start-up healthcare companies that will participate in the 2023 accelerator program. HeartX is a cardiovascular-focused healthcare accelerator that facilitates guaranteed hospital pilot projects and clinical trials for accomplished, early stage companies bringing new cardiovascular innovations to market.

The five include three from international locations and two from the U.S. Each company will receive $150,000 of investment capital as well as complete and total access to clinicians and administrators while executing their pilot projects and clinical studies in the HeartX program.

“The cardiovascular industry has been at the forefront of healthcare innovation and new technologies and solutions are arising at a rapid pace,” said Joe Sasson, MedAxiom’s Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President of Ventures. “We’re excited to partner with five companies that are transforming cardiovascular care around the world as part of the 2023 HeartX program. With two cohorts and 10 companies now a part of HeartX, MedAxiom and HealthTech Arkansas are committed to expanding the portfolio to provide revolutionary solutions to patients, providers, and programs.”

From Durham, NC:

A start-up whose backers include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has filed a layoff notice with the State of North Carolina as a potential action as it tries to raise additional capital. The company is AgBiome which developed a fungicide that was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in June 2022.

As reported by WRAL TechWire, layoffs began October 16 and are scheduled through December 15, according to the notice. “AgBiome has developed plans to lay off potentially all of its employees,” according to Elizabeth Claypoole of AgBiome. “We anticipate that these changes, when finalized, will be permanent.”

The company closed a $117 million funding round in 2022 and raised more than $200 million over the last decade.

From Chapel Hill, NC:

With tens of thousands of Americans dying every year from fentanyl overdosing, this development is potentially good news.

Cessation Therapeutics Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company advancing biologics that target substances of abuse, has received additional grant funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health, to support the development of a subcutaneous formulation of its anti-fentanyl mAb, CSX-1004 SQ.

The new grant is part of a multi-year award expected to total $14.8 million given to Cessation and McLean Hospital, a member of Mass General Brigham. And it follows by three months the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization for the company to initiate a clinical trial for the drug.

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