OBR OneStart Finals Gala

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                           Resilience takes home the signed check

The Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR) and SR One hosted the finals gala for their OneStart Americas competition on May 22. The ten finalists, narrowed down from an impressive pool of 35  semifinalists, each gave their two-minute elevator pitch throughout the course of dinner at The City Club of San FranciscoResilience Pharmaceuticals, founded by Retsina Meyer and Veronica Weiner, took home the grand prize with their posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) preventative and will now be relocating from Boston to San Francisco as the newest members of QB3@953

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                          Lively pre-dinner networking

Resilience’s story has that American Dream air about it, well a PhD biologist’s American  dream, a dream to see academic research change lives in years not decades. Started as a MIT thesis project by Meyer, the cofounders took their academic research out of the lab and are commercializing a preventative for PTSD based on manipulating levels of the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin. Boston Magazine published a synopsis of their work last year. As research funding shrinks and scientists are forced to evaluate the efficiency, efficacy, and applicability of their research more critically, Resilience represents the new paradigm and not an outlier.

My personal favorite teams of the night were Symbiotic Health of New York and MetaMixis of Vancouver. Gerard Honig presented on their BactoCap technology that exploits other commensal bacterial strains to cure Clostridium difficile infections. Cameron Strachan of MetaMixis shared their plans to replace chemical manufacturing processes with brilliantly engineered bacteria. Jens Echstein, President of SR One, praised MetaMixis beginning with, “Microbes are the best chemists.” Sitting together at dinner, Cameron enthusiastically shared some of MetaMixis’ current projects and since they will be relocating to Stanford this summer, hopefully I can keep up with their progress firsthand. 

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              Strachan pitches MetaMixis to the judges

Jordan Epstein of Stroll, the only IT team in the finals, made a strong case for their medical pricing transparency app. The problem they are tackling is an overwhelming and important one and their success could be hugely disruptive to healthcare in this country (blog post on medical pricing transparency coming soon). 

Many of the semifinalist teams came out to the event too and it was exciting to hear about the recent progress of EpiBiome and ViVita, two of the teams I met at the OneStart Bootcamp back in February. A OneStart win would have just been the icing on the cake for these young entrepreneurs.

It was an impressive night of inspiring innovation from biotech pioneers under 36 and these intrepid innovators are the ones to watch as they create the future.

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         Amazing OBR volunteers like Henok Eyob and Jeroen Blokhuis made OneStart possible

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