Two Tucson Startups Chosen for Flinn Foundation Bioscience Program

The Arizona bioscience startups representing the 10th cohort of the Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program are developing innovative products and devices to better treat cancer, improve mental health, provide long-lasting refrigeration of blood and medicine, and more efficiently and safely move patients.

The six early-stage firms competitively selected for the 2023 program include two companies each from Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson.

Over the next year, the program participants will receive $30,000 in funding, a personalized learning plan with other support services facilitated by the Arizona Bioindustry Association and invitations to exclusive gatherings of Arizona bioscience and policy leaders as well as convenings with fellow entrepreneurs.

“These companies are developing cutting-edge diagnostics and treatments—for someone suffering from cancer to social isolation—which are critical to our physical and mental health,” said Tammy McLeod, Flinn Foundation president and CEO.  “A record 48 firms applied for our program this year—a testament to Arizona’s vibrant bioscience startup culture.”

The 2023 Flinn Foundation Bioscience Entrepreneurship Program participants are:

Delta Development Team (Tucson)
Delta Development Team is a developer of ruggedized refrigeration systems, specializing in military applications. The Tucson-based company leveraged the knowledge and wisdom of military medical personnel to design its Autonomous Portable Refrigeration Unit, which provides days of use from one battery charge and is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, so medical-care teams can take it with them no matter where their skills are needed.

EMR Data Cloud (Scottsdale)
Located in Scottsdale, EMR Data Cloud offers a platform for clinical genetic testing with electronic medical record (EMR) integration. Users can order genomic panels and other laboratory tests with just a few clicks on its platform. The company’s lab-integration technology bridges the gap between health care providers and diagnostic laboratories and quickly transfers information, including clinical notes, family history, medication lists, and insurance information in seconds.

Reference Medicine (Phoenix)
This Phoenix-based company’s mission is to become a one-stop shop for oncology biospecimens, enabling researchers to easily get specimens they need, at half the cost, to build cancer diagnostics. The company will address the gap in the oncology biospecimen market by combining partnerships with accredited teams worldwide with an innovative approach to specimen formatting. Its approach ensures that each set of specimens is fully utilized and creates a variety of formats, enabling the company to connect an individual donation to a diverse group of diagnostic research teams—increasing supply of critical specimens while driving down the cost for researchers.

Televeda (Phoenix)
Televeda is a mental-health platform used by public-health and community-based organizations to combat social isolation for vulnerable populations. The platform incorporates robust accessibility designs including a proprietary live-streaming user interface, an administration dashboard for CBOs to source content, hybrid-event management for broadcasting, data-reporting, and white-labeling. The Phoenix-based company helps streamline operations, saving clients 15-25 hours and $2,000-4,000 a month while improving their community-outreach metrics.

The Patient Company (Scottsdale)
The Patient Company is reimagining how patients are moved, starting with lateral patient transfer—moving a patient from one flat surface to another. The process currently takes a median of 22 minutes and is the second-leading cause of injury for health care employees. The Scottsdale-based company has developed SimPull™, a device that can be operated by a single clinical staff member, allowing for safe, efficient, and effective lateral transfer of patients, while decreasing the transfer time to 2 minutes. 

TheraCea Pharma (Tucson)
Tucson-based TheraCea Pharma addresses the greatest challenge in the emerging $145 billion cancer immunotherapy market by providing clinical diagnostic products for patient selection and therapy guidance. TheraCea detects immunotherapy biomarkers using PET imaging. The company has developed a set of diagnostic agents that allow oncologists and pharmaceutical companies to select the right segment of patients who will be responsive to specific immunotherapy drugs.

The Flinn Foundation program attracted applicants from across the state. The six firms were selected following a two-stage review process, including virtual interviews with more than a dozen finalists.

The $30,000 in funding support each company receives is administered by AZBio, a trade association that promotes Arizona’s bioscience sector. Each participant receives a one-year membership to both AZBio and Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, which includes about 135 leaders from the public and private sectors in science, health care, business, academia, and policy who guide Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap.

The Flinn Foundation has competitively selected 60 Arizona companies and provided $1.78 million in funding support since the inception of the program in 2014.

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