Category Archives: News Releases

Memphis Bioworks Celebrates Progress at UT-Baptist Research Park

Memphis Bioworks Celebrates Progress at UT-Baptist Research Park and Honors Baptist Memorial Health Care with Commemorative Plaque

The plaque honoring Baptist Memorial Hospital - Medical Center is mounted at 45 S. Dudley in the heart of the UT-Baptist Research Park.

The plaque honoring Baptist Memorial Hospital – Medical Center is mounted at 45 S. Dudley in the heart of the UT-Baptist Research Park.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (May 9, 2014) – Memphis Bioworks today celebrated the completion of the fourth phase of development on the UT-Baptist Research Park with the dedication of the Central Green and the unveiling of the Baptist Memorial Hospital – Medical Center commemorative plaque. Program speakers at the commemorative event included leadership from Memphis Bioworks, UT Health Science Center, Baptist Memorial Health Care and Tennessee State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris.

“Over a century ago, the Baptist Memorial Hospital – Medical Center paved the way for medical advancement at the exact site that now serves as the center for bioscience innovation in Memphis,” said Steve Bares, Ph.D., Executive Director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation. “Today, with this dedication we permanently honor Baptist Memorial Health Care’s commitment to medical excellence and pledge to continue the tradition of health care innovation throughout Biowork’s UT-Baptist Research Park.”

From an infrastructure perspective, Bioworks began working to raise money in the early 2000s to develop a world class research park in the Memphis Medical Center at the former site of the Baptist Memorial Hospital. Federal, state, local and private funds were raised to clear the site including the demolition of more than 1.3 million square feet of space. In 2005, the implosion of the old hospital building was the largest demolition project in the U.S. In total, more than $140 Million has been invested in new construction and property renovation across the research park campus. Today there are 305,000 square-feet of built and renovated space.

Development phases completed to-date at the UT-Baptist Research Park:

·         Phase 1: Renovation of 20 S. Dudley, where Bioworks is headquartered and 36 companies are incubated.

·         Phase 2: Completion of Regional Biocontainment Laboratory

·         Phase 3: Completion of University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy building

·         Phase 4: Completion of TriMetis Specialized Laboratory and Central Green (the eco-roof)

Bioworks Selected to Lead EPIcenter

Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle Announces Innovation Center to Create 1,000 Entrepreneurs in 10 Years
Memphis Bioworks selected to lead the Center

Memphis, Tenn.  (March 19, 2014) – The Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle announced plans to create 1,000 entrepreneurs and 500 companies in 10 years. The Chairman’s Circle benchmarked Memphis with other successful communities and determined that achieving this next level of success requires a concerted effort to organize all the organizations that serve startups around a common strategy. This research resulted in the launch of the Memphis Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center (The EPIcenter), an organization that will serve as the single front door and single point of accountability for entrepreneurs in Memphis.

The Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle is a group of more than 100 business leaders who have committed to making Memphis great through five goals or “moon missions.” The creation of 1,000 entrepreneurs in 10 years is one of the key moon missions, each one a strategic vision for bringing about transformational change in Memphis.

The EPIcenter will assist any entrepreneur starting a business, but will focus on Memphis’ existing economic strengths: logistics and emerging technologies, healthcare and bioscience, as well as the information and software technology that enables those sectors. For these areas, the EPIcenter will work directly with companies through existing accelerator, capital and incubator programs, such as Emerge Memphis, Start Co., Memphis Bioworks, Innova and work in conjunction with the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) and the Brookings Regional Economic Development plan. The EPIcenter will launch new programs to support needs and partner with other entities to support companies outside of these areas and will build a program that will make Memphis a destination for logistics startups worldwide.

“Memphis’ startup sector has grown considerably over the last few years and the current accelerators and incubators are doing very successful work,” said J.R. Pitt Hyde, Founder of AutoZone and a Chairman’s Circle member. “In order for Memphis to get to the next level where startups can move beyond the startup phase requires leadership and support from the business community. The Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle is stepping up to transform Memphis into a destination for talent, companies and investment.”

“The EPIcenter will impact everyone in this region significantly because growing 500 scalable, high-growth companies in key sectors of Memphis’ economy will eventually produce at least 4,500 new jobs and have an economic impact of $600 million,” said David Waddell, President & CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Waddell & Associates, Inc. and Chair of the Chairman’s Circle entrepreneurship committee. “The purpose of the moon mission strategy is to propose and propel transformative initiatives. Nothing transforms a community more than talented and resourced entrepreneurs. I have no doubt that a coordinated effort to nurture this high potential pool will produce our future public companies and the master entrepreneurs necessary to reinvigorate our economy and our economic confidence.”

“Memphis has a great legacy of entrepreneurship with FedEx, AutoZone, Holiday Inn, Schering Plough, Piggly Wiggly and many others,” said Dexter Muller, Interim President, Greater Memphis Chamber. “The EPIcenter will further this tradition by providing a clear path for entrepreneurs to get the assistance they need to become profitable companies.”

To lead the EPIcenter, The Chairman’s Circle has selected Memphis Bioworks Foundation based on its strong entrepreneurship results to date. Since 2009, Bioworks, together with Innova, have supported nearly 200 entrepreneurs, formed 60 companies and managed $53 million in equity investments. In 2013, 20 companies resided in Bioworks’ Business Incubator, and annual revenue from Bioworks Incubator and Innova portfolio companies totaled nearly $53 million.

“Bioworks and Innova are proud to step forward and own this responsibility,” said Steven Bares, PhD, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks. “By having partnered with virtually every organization focused on idea development, incubation, acceleration and commercialization in the region, we have a great sense of the region’s many innovative strengths and feel confident that there is enough business and development going on in our community to keep everyone busy for many years to come.”

The Chairman’s Circle will contribute funding to Bioworks to hire staff that will establish EPIcenter and to initiate the region’s first logistics accelerator and set the stage for a world-class logistics innovation cluster. A management and reporting system is also required. In addition, Bioworks will embark on a capital campaign to raise the additional funding for the next six months. The goal for launching the EPIcenter is in August of this year. For more information on EPIcenter, visit www.epi-memphis.com.

Ag Start-ups Pitch Investors at NextFarm Demo Day

Agricultural Innovation Start-up Companies to Pitch New Business Concepts to Investors and Strategic Partners

NextFarm’s Demo Day will showcase Tennessee-based agricultural start-up companies seeking additional investment and partnerships

MARTIN, Tenn.  (Jan. 30, 2014) – NextFarm Agricultural Innovation Accelerator will host Demo Day on February 6 in Union City, Tenn., to highlight statewide innovative companies that are addressing global hunger, food safety, and opportunities for new farm income and rural jobs. The highlight of this event will be showcasing companies that have participated in the start-up accelerator program within NextFarm.  Participating companies are:

  • AgSmarts automates the operation of agricultural irrigation systems in order to help producers maximize crop yields and optimize input usage and costs. It does this through its mesh networks of environmental field and equipment-based sensors, IP-enabled controllers and wireless communications devices. The company’s initial service offering is designed for center pivot irrigation systems.
  • Beyond Right Now Technologies is developing high-tech sensors for UAVs to locate feral hogs for eradication, thus reducing the significant crop losses now being experienced by Tennessee farmers.
  • Secure Food Solutions is commercializing hyper spectral sensor technology developed at Mississippi State University and Agricultural Research Service USDA to make the food supply safer, while making handling and delivery more efficient in the United States and in the developing world. 
  • Stony Creek Colors is a vertically integrated company developing the complete supply chain for replacing synthetic dyes with natural dyes from plants for the textile industry. The supply chain development includes the establishment of a small-farm network throughout the South. 

In addition to these start-up companies, Demo Day will showcase several university spin-out companies through NextFarm’s University Commercialization Assistance Program. These companies are:

  • FarmSpec is a student-led company from the University of Tennessee at Martin which is developing new equipment to provide additional conservation and economic benefits to row crop farmers. FarmSpec’s team was formed to focus on competing for the Howard Buffett Foundation-sponsored Ag Innovation Prize.
  • Climate Adaptive Genetics is developing high-performance Angus cattle with enhanced heat tolerance. These animals have the potential of doubling beef production in hot-climate countries. The team members involved in this company are from Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University.
  • Fertility Focus is based on patented technology from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture used to improve cattle fertility rates in processes such as embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization.  The company is receiving entrepreneurial development support from NextFarm’s partner Tech 20/20 based in Oak Ridge.  

“Through our various acceleration programs, these entrepreneurs have refined their business ideas, connected to necessary resources and developed strategic partnerships to grow their companies and take their products to market,” said Carol Reed, executive director of The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center, a key partner in NextFarm. “Demo Day is an opportunity to showcase new and innovative ideas and technologies in agriculture, as well as the milestones that these company founders have achieved.”

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Jim Budzynski, a venture partner with Open Prairie Ventures and the managing principal of MacroGain Partners, a Carmel, Ind., firm focused on structuring venture and private equity investments in companies in the agricultural, food, and green energy industries. Dr. Budzynski has more than 30 years of direct agrifood and related markets experience and has led a broad range of consulting assignments for some of the largest players in the U.S. agrifood industry, developing significant expertise in strategic planning, brand management, channel strategy development, and customer relationship management and segmentation.

Additional speakers include: Jai Templeton, Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture; Jason Denenberg, Director of Entrepreneurship for Launch Tennessee; and Jim Rippy, chief executive officer of Discovery Park of America.

The event is expected to attract more than 100 attendees, including investors, business and community representatives and supporters.

Created in response to the challenge issued by Gov. Bill Haslam to make Tennessee the number-one state in the Southeast for the growth of the agricultural and forestry industries, NextFarm Agricultural Innovation Accelerator is a partnership between the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, and Ag Innovation Development Group.

“The NextFarm accelerator leverages Tennessee’s agricultural strength and heritage, through building innovative agricultural businesses that can compete and grow in a global economy,” said Steve Bares, PhD, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center
Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC) is a public-private organization created as one of the nine regional accelerators established through Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s INCITE initiative. NTEC serves the nine counties of Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley by providing mentoring, education and training, strategic and technical support, and assistance identifying sources of capital for entrepreneurs with the goal of producing new jobs and steady economic growth within the nine-county area.  (www.ntecconnect.com)

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

About Ag Innovation Development Group
Ag Innovation Development Group is focused on addressing the critical gap between discovery and commercialization of new agricultural technology by bringing together the right talent and aligning resources to quickly validate an idea, ensure that it is properly protected, develop a business strategy, and attract capital. The goal is to achieve maximum value for all participants, while ensuring that generative innovations are introduced to the world’s farmers. (www.aginnovationgroup.com)

Applications Open for 2014 ZeroTo510 Cohort

Applications Requested for ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

Now in its third year, accelerator application process seeks business ideas from around the globe

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Jan. 24, 2014) – Applications are now open for ZeroTo510, an entrepreneurship accelerator program that has proven to help start-ups bring medical device products and services to market.  Applications will be accepted until March 16, 2014, with up to three slots being eligible for “early acceptance.”

ZeroTo510 is unique among accelerator programs in that it focuses on medical devices, leveraging the regional strengths of the Memphis area.  The goal of ZeroTo510 is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing.

Now in its third year, the program has accelerated the creation of 12 new companies, more than 25 local jobs, and more than $4 million in investments.  The nationally recognized program has attracted entrepreneurs locally and from places like Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Duke University in Durham, N.C. and Greenville, S.C. Among these companies’ successes: three are in the marketplace generating revenue, one has received FDA clearance, and one is treating patients in an IRB study.  As the first-ever medical device accelerator, ZeroTo510 is now recognized as a benchmark model for subsequent medical device accelerators, including one in Australia.

Through a competitive application process, six companies will again be selected for the 2014 ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator, where they will matriculate through an intensive, mentor-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities designed to guide the entrepreneurs through the process. Each company chosen for the program will receive $50,000 in initial seed capital from co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, technology and healthcare technology fields across the state of Tennessee, and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

The program is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the region’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience, and Innova.  ZeroTo510 is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program funded by Launch Tennessee and the State of Tennessee as part of Governor Haslam’s INCITE initiative.  Announced in May 2012, the INCITE program is designed to support innovation across the state and drive growth in the creation of knowledge-based jobs. INCITE is named for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship.

“Though it originally was the first of its kind, ZeroTo510 is now a proven model that has resulted in two years of successfully helping entrepreneurs from around the country accelerate medical device companies and create jobs,” said Allan Daisley, co-founder of ZeroTo510 and director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks.  “This year, we’re looking forward to building on the momentum of the program by providing world-class expertise and guidance to six more companies and entrepreneur teams.”

An entrepreneurship program for medical devices is an ideal match for the resources and talents in the Memphis area.  Typically, it can take several years for ideas to pass through the traditional FDA regulatory process.  The 510(k) process provides an expedited path to market, and as such makes a good fit for an accelerator program. Achieving success on that path requires unique skills and knowledge, and ZeroTo510 provides the coaching, mentoring, networking and access to subject matter experts that entrepreneurs need to be successful.

At the end of the 12-week program, the participants will pitch to a group of investors. The investors will select finalists, who will receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital infusion and the opportunity to further develop their businesses.  And, there is always additional funding potential once the presentation round is reached.

Competition for participation in the program is open internationally.  However, companies selected must be based in Memphis for the duration of the program.

“Memphis, Tennessee has the industry expertise and ecosystem that makes it a perfect environment for a medical device business accelerator,” said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and ZeroTo510 co-founder. “Memphis is the place to be if you want to build a successful medical device company, and ZeroTo510 provides the guidance and mentorship needed to achieve that success.”

Applications to participate in ZeroTo510 are due by March 16.  Companies selected for participation will be notified by April 11, or earlier if they meet the “early acceptance” criteria.  The program will begin on May 14.  Information on applying and additional information about the ZeroTo510 program is available at http://www.zeroto510.com.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability.  A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers.  For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

 

ZeroTo510 Companies Receive Follow-on Funding

Three Companies from ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator in Memphis Selected for Follow-on Funding

Total investment over two years tops $4 million

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 4, 2013) – After 90 days of intensive entrepreneurial programming, mentorship, an initial $50,000 investment, and a pitch to an audience of potential investors, three companies participating in the summer 2013 ZeroTo510 program have been selected to continue to the second phase of the program and receive additional funding in the amount of $100,000 each.

The program is operated by Memphis Bioworks, and both seed and follow-on funding is provided by co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, bioscience, technology and ag innovation fields across the state of Tennessee, and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

The three companies selected for additional accelerator funding are:

• Better Walk has developed a redesigned crutch that is designed to reduce forearm fatigue, improve patient comfort, and reduce the amount of force in the underarm.
• Mobilizer has developed a device modeled after a wheeled walker, with shelves and attachments that help carry equipment for more efficient ambulation of critical care patients.
• View Medical has designed a novel LED light with a long, flexible tube that allows for easier and better lighting for deep-cavity surgeries.

“The ZeroTo510 program clearly has excellent momentum and a growing reputation for success. We are proud to graduate another cohort of medical device start-up businesses, each with a real opportunity to have a lasting impact on the medical community,” said Allan Daisley, director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks and program director for ZeroTo510.

In total, the program has accelerated the creation of 12 new companies, more than 25 local jobs, and more than $4 million in investments. The nationally recognized program has attracted entrepreneurs locally and from places like Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Duke University in Durham, N.C. and Greenville, S.C. The six companies that participated in the 2012 ZeroTo510 cohort also continue to build their businesses here in Tennessee, validating one of the program’s goals of growing businesses and creating jobs locally. Among these companies’ successes: one is in the marketplace generating revenue, one has treated its first patient in an IRB study, and one is in the final stages of receiving its FDA clearance.

“At this point in the process, the three selected companies from the 2013 ZeroTo510 class have met the milestones needed to move to the next phase of funding,” said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and ZeroTo510 advisor. “We expect each of the companies receiving additional investment to use that money to further develop their products, build a business and hire local talent, right here in Memphis.”

ZeroTo510 is a unique, entrepreneurial accelerator program that focuses on leveraging the regional strength of the Memphis area in medical device research and manufacturing. The goal of ZeroTo510 is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing. Through a competitive application process, six companies were selected to matriculate through an intensive, mentor-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities designed to guide the entrepreneur through the process.

ZeroTo510 is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program administered by Launch Tennessee and funded by the State of Tennessee as part of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s INCITE initiative. Announced in May 2012, the INCITE program is designed to support innovation across the state and drive growth in the creation of knowledge-based jobs. INCITE is named for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship.

More information on the ZeroTo510 program is available at http://www.zeroto510.com.

This project is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee.

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About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability. A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org.

About INNOVA
Innova is a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the Biosciences, Technology and AgBio fields across the state of Tennessee. Innova was created by the Memphis Bioworks Foundation to help establish Memphis as a national center of excellence in entrepreneurship. Innova provides entrepreneurs with access to incubator facilities, training and mentoring, industry networks and seasoned executives. Innova’s goal is to nurture the growth of high technology and entrepreneurial efforts in the Mid-South that will result in significant job creation, economic growth and competitiveness. To learn more about Innova, visit www.innovamemphis.com.

About MB Venture Partners
MB Venture Partners is a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups. The Firm invests in medical device and biotechnology companies at various stages of development and has now funded 24 start-ups. The Firm is especially focused on product solutions for musculoskeletal conditions, where we have specific domain expertise and relationships to assist portfolio companies. For more information, visit www.mbventures.com.

Nine Companies Selected for NextFarm Agricultural Innovation Accelerator

NextFarm also hosting leading agricultural venture capitalist for events across Tennessee

MARTIN, Tenn. (Oct. 23, 2013) – The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center and Memphis Bioworks Foundation are announcing the nine companies selected for the NextFarm Agriculture Innovation Accelerator.

Created in response to the challenge issued by Gov. Bill Haslam to make Tennessee the number-one state in the Southeast for the growth of the agricultural and forestry industries, NextFarm Agricultural Innovation Accelerator is led by a partnership between the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center and Memphis Bioworks Foundation. The companies participating in the first accelerator program represent leading technologies and innovations related to precision agriculture, animal nutrition, specialty crops, food safety, biobased products and bioenergy. These companies are in the midst of an aggressive development period in preparation for investment pitches in the 1st quarter of 2014. The participating companies include five startups and four growth-track companies.

The five startup companies are:

  • AgSmarts is a precision agriculture company dedicated to helping farmers lower operational expenses while increasing crop yields through the deployment of their scalable technology platform.
  • Beyond Right Now Technologies is developing high-tech sensors to locate feral hogs, thus reducing the significant crop losses now being experienced by Tennessee farmers.
  • Hickory Hydroponics is commercializing a proprietary barley fodder system that leverages the use of existing on-farm assets.
  • Stony Creek Colors is a vertically integrated company developing the complete supply chain for replacing synthetic dyes with natural dyes from plants for the textile industry. The supply chain development includes the establishment of a small-farm network throughout the South.
  • Secure Food Solutions is commercializing technology developed at Mississippi State University and Agricultural Research Service USDA to make the corn supply safer, while making handling and delivery more efficient in the United States and in the developing world.

The four growth-track companies are:

  • Butler Fishery is developing expanded processing for Asian carp to create new markets for commercial fishers and reduce invasive species.
  • GrowAgra is building off of current success at producing wheat grass for Whole Foods Market and expanding its processing capabilities.
  • Tennessee BioProducts is developing biomass heat producing bricks from hardwood shavings and sawdust.
  • Zero Friction is commercializing a proprietary line of cleaning products and industrial lubricants produced with natural vegetable oils.

“These companies represent the kind of agricultural innovation that will be needed to address global issues, while at the same time creating entrepreneurial opportunities locally,” said Carol Reed, executive director of The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center. “We are excited to provide an opportunity for investors to see these exciting companies.”

In addition, in order to raise the visibility of NextFarm and offer Tennessee universities and agricultural groups an opportunity to learn about investment in new innovation, NextFarm, in partnership with Life Science Tennessee (www.lifesciencetn.org), is hosting Ron Meeusen, founding partner of Cultivian Ventures, on November 5 and 6 to provide insight into global investment trends in new agricultural technology. Ron has 30 years of experience in bringing new technologies and products to market. He has led research and development for major corporations in agricultural chemicals, field crop and vegetable genetics and breeding, animal health, novel foods and industrial materials. He also coordinated the development of a strategic plan for agriculture for the State of Indiana, which led to the realization of the major gap in venture funding in agriculture. His firm, Cultivian Ventures, was set up to address this gap. Ron has been a frequent speaker at conferences, a consultant to Federal policy on biotechnology regulatory issues, and active in industry trade groups on key issues such as European acceptance of new food technologies. The scheduled events are as follows:

  • Luncheon on Tuesday, November 5 starting at 11:00 a.m. in Nashville, Tenn., at Bradley Arant Boult & Cummings. More information at www.lifesciencetn.org.
  • Seminar on Tuesday, November 5 at 5:30 p.m. at University of Tennessee at Martin, in Martin, Tenn. More information at www.ntecconnect.com.
  • Breakfast on Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30 a.m. at Dyersburg Chamber of Commerce in Dyersburg, Tenn. More information at www.ntecconnect.com.

“Agriculture is a vital part of Tennessee’s economy, and by providing entrepreneurial expertise, we’re helping the industry grow and innovate while helping local entrepreneurs scale their businesses right here in Tennessee,” said Steve Bares, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center
The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC) is a public-private organization created as one of the nine regional accelerators established through Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s INCITE initiative. NTEC serves the nine counties of Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley by providing mentoring, education and training, strategic and technical support, and assistance identifying sources of capital for entrepreneurs with the goal of producing new jobs and steady economic growth within the nine-county area. For more information, visit www.ntecconnect.com, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ntecconnect or follow @NTECconnect on Twitter.

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
Memphis Bioworks is the Mid-South’s go-to organization for creating companies, jobs and investments in bioscience and sustainability. A visionary community leader, Memphis Bioworks has a well-established record of sparking new levels of economic vitality by investing in entrepreneurs, building state-of-the-art labs and facilities, and training the next generation of workers. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

Regional Partners Launch Agriculture Innovation Accelerator

New Program will Help Start and Grow New Agricultural Companies in Northwest Tennessee                       

MARTIN, Tenn.  (June 17, 2013) – The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center and Memphis Bioworks Foundation have formed a partnership to launch an agriculture innovation accelerator this summer to help start and grow new agricultural businesses.  The development of the accelerator is in response to the challenge issued by Gov. Bill Haslam to make Tennessee the number one state in the Southeast in the growth of the agricultural and forestry industries.

The program will be a cohort-based business accelerator that leverages the strength of the nine counties served by The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center that have significant assets related to agricultural crop production, livestock, and logistics. Through a competitive application process, up to eight companies will be selected to matriculate through an intensive, six-month program of business instruction and mentorship to guide their development. At the conclusion of the program, the participants will pitch their business plans to a group of investors.

The accelerator is open to individuals and teams with an idea for a new company as well as existing companies that are working on developing a new technology or innovation. The program will support entrepreneurs commercializing a wide range of agriculture-related technologies, potentially including biobased products, precision agriculture and software, grain handling and storage, food processing, food safety, software, smart phone/tablet apps, livestock reproduction and nutrition, identity preservation of agricultural products, and new crops.

“By 2050, there will be nine billion people around the world who need food, materials and energy, and new innovation will be key to developing sustainable sources for these products,” said Carol Reed, executive director of The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center. “The agricultural innovation   accelerator will create new synergies and opportunities for our region to address these global issues, while working locally to create an entrepreneurial culture in our rural area.”

“The agricultural innovation accelerator is part of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation’s strategy to be engaged in the commercialization of agricultural technology, which is a vital part of the life sciences and biotechnology mission of the Foundation,” said Steve Bares, executive director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation. “Improving the efficiency and profitability of our region’s agricultural production base will increase the safety and availability of local food, connect rural production with Memphis’ urban industrial and logistics assets, and provide new investment opportunities in a new technology sector.”

Information Session: An informational session will be held at the West Tennessee Ag Museum at the University of Tennessee Research and Education Center in Milan, Tennessee, on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a meal and will end by 8:00 p.m.   Please register by contacting Carol Reed at 731-587-4213 or carol.reed@nwtdd.org by Monday, June 24.

Applications: Applications for the accelerator are available now and will be accepted now through July 17. For more information or to receive an application, please contact Carol Reed at 731-587-4213 or carol.reed@nwtdd.org.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center
The Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneur Center (NTEC) is a public-private organization created as one of the nine regional accelerators established through Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s INCITE initiative. NTEC serves the nine counties of Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley by providing mentoring, education and training, strategic and technical support, and assistance identifying sources of capital for entrepreneurs with the goal of producing new jobs and steady economic growth within the nine-county area. For more information, visit www.ntecconnect.com, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ntecconnect or follow @NTECconnect on Twitter.

About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
The Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, was formed to lead the collaboration among public, private, academic, and government entities to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the region. Memphis Bioworks strives to leverage and expand the regional strengths in the biosciences through education, research, job training, and commercialization. Memphis Bioworks is leading the development of the UT-Baptist Research Park, which serves as the focal point of the city’s biomedical economic development. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.

Six Companies Selected for 2013 ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 13, 2013) – The six participating teams in the 2013 ZeroTo510 medical device accelerator have been accepted and start the program today at the Memphis Bioworks Business Incubator. The 2013 participants are:

AIS Inc. – This is a local team led by a biomedical engineering student from The University of Memphis who previously had a career in the Army. They are building a leadless, single-surgery (battery is external), GPS- and Bluetooth-enabled hybrid cardioverter defibrillator. Their product is targeted to pediatric patients because surgery is not required to replace the battery.

Better Walk – A team of biomedical engineering students from Georgia Tech are making a redesigned crutch that relieves the primary complaint of crutch users by eliminating the discomfort experienced in the underarm area due to axillary nerve damage.

Cuff-Gard – A nurse from West Memphis has designed a disposable skin barrier, worn by a patient, to protect and extend the life of blood pressure machine cuffs. The barriers are impenetrable; one side absorbs fluids or drainage from the skin, and the other side is a polypropylene backing that protects the blood pressure cuff from contamination.

Health and Bliss – A team from Baltimore, H&B is attempting to revolutionize the way people detect strep throat by introducing to the market a patented self-contained screening test. Strep Test Anywhere allows patients to be tested for strep throat in a convenient, affordable, and time-saving manner.

Mobilizer – Led by one of last year’s participants, James Bell, this mobilization device is modeled after a wheeled walker, but has shelves and attachments that help carry around other medical devices like IV drips, oxygen tanks, etc. The team is attempting to solve the expensive problem of helping wounded patients become mobile by reducing the need for additional staff assistance.

SurgiLight – This team has designed a novel LED light for use in surgeries and is led by an electrical engineering student from The University of Memphis. Connected by a long flexible tube, the light allows easier and better lighting to hard-to-access surgical sites.

“During the recruitment process, we received competitive applications from around the United States, and we had two international applicants,” said Allan Daisley, director of entrepreneurship and sustainability for Memphis Bioworks. “The high quality of the applications made the selection of this year’s participants quite a challenge.”

The companies will matriculate through an intensive, mentorship-driven, 12-week program of instruction and hands-on activities designed to guide the entrepreneurs through the process. Each company chosen for the program will receive $50,000 in initial seed capital from co-investors Innova, a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor focused on starting and funding high-growth companies in the healthcare, technology and healthcare technology fields across the state of Tennessee, and MB Venture Partners, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that provides equity capital and strategic direction to life sciences start-ups.

ZeroTo510 is unique among accelerator programs in that it focuses on medical devices, leveraging the regional strength of the Memphis area. The goal of ZeroTo510 is to help medical device entrepreneurs navigate the start-up process, refine their business models and achieve the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pre-market notification filing.

Results for the six companies in the inaugural 2012 program were outstanding, with one company, Restore Medical Solutions, completing the program with a full round (Series A) of venture capital funding, and four others achieving follow-on funding in the amount of $100,000 each.

The 12-week program will culminate in Demo Day on August 8, when the participants will pitch to a group of investors, who will select the finalists, who could receive as much as $100,000 in additional capital infusion and the opportunity to further develop their businesses in Phase II of the program. And, there is always additional funding potential if the investors are sufficiently impressed, as demonstrated by the $2.5M Series A funding received by Restore Medical Solutions, based on their impressive accomplishments achieved by Demo Day.

“Though the ultimate goals of ZeroTo510 are helping participants achieve the FDA 510(k) filing and obtaining capital, the programs benefits reach far beyond those goals,” said Jan Bouten, partner at Innova and ZeroTo510 advisor. “Because of the globally significant medical device industry here in Memphis, we are able to get these start-ups in front of decision-makers and mentors who can help guide them to success.”

The program is operated by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that is leading the collaboration among public, private, academic, and government entities to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the Memphis region, and Innova. ZeroTo510 is an initiative of the Greater Memphis Regional Accelerator, a program funded by Launch Tennessee and the State of Tennessee as part of Governor Haslam’s INCITE initiative. Named for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship, INCITE is designed to support innovation across the state and drive growth in the creation of knowledge-based jobs.

More information about the ZeroTo510 program is available at http://www.zeroto510.com.

This project is funded under an agreement with Launch Tennessee and/or the State of Tennessee.

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About Memphis Bioworks Foundation
The Memphis Bioworks Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, was formed to lead the collaboration among public, private, academic, and government entities to accelerate the growth of the bioscience industry in the region. Memphis Bioworks strives to leverage and expand the regional strengths in the biosciences through education, research, job training, and commercialization. Memphis Bioworks is leading the development of the UT-Baptist Research Park, which serves as the focal point of the city’s biomedical economic development. For more information, visit www.memphisbioworks.org, Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisBioworks or follow @MemphisBioworks on Twitter.