Annual Pitch Competition Gives Funding Opportunity for Emerging Life Science Startups

Nashville, Tenn. — Life Science Tennessee (LST), a statewide member organization whose mission is to advance and grow the life science industry in Tennessee, today announced four finalists who will compete in the annual Life Science Venture Forum as part of LST’s annual conference LSTCON on Nov. 14. This is the first year that companies could apply to compete in the forum. A total of 16 companies submitted applications that were evaluated by mentors within the Life Science Network.

The Venture Forum, sponsored by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, gives a platform to emerging life science startups to access funding and potential investment opportunities, as well as marketing support. Each company will have 10 minutes to pitch before a panel of judges who will evaluate each team on IP and commercialization strategy. Finalists will compete for a $5k prize awarded by Waller.

The following companies are 2019 Venture Forum finalists:

  • VenoStent, based in Nashville, is developing a venous wrap to improve the quality and length of life for the more than 2 million dialysis patients globally. Their device, the SelfWrap, intends to reduce access site failures. This technology can be applied anytime a vein-artery connection is made, including coronary and peripheral artery bypass grafting. It promotes a more desirable, uniform outward vein growth.
  • Diatech Diabetic Technologies Inc., headquartered in Memphis, is developing a patent-pending smart infusion set that monitors and alerts patients with insulin-dependent diabetes and their caretakers of insulin pump delivery malfunctions. Their product, SmartFusion, is a sensor-based infusion set for insulin pumps that monitors insulin delivery for accuracy and infusion abnormalities.
  • EDP Biotech Corporation, based in Knoxville, is an ISO-certified in vitrodiagnostics company focused on the commercialization of simple, cost-effective assays used to detect disease early. Their technology, ColoPlex™, is a blood-based test aimed at detecting colorectal cancer at its earliest stages when patients have the best opportunity for successful outcomes. 
  • Winter Innovations, headquartered in Knoxville, is a medical device company that develops novel orthopedic surgical tools to improve patient outcomes in high-risk procedures. Their flagship product, the EasyWhip™, is a specialty needle designed to improve stability, speed, and efficiency of graft stitching, which is a critical component of surgery for torn ligaments and tendons. The EasyWhip™ double-loop stitching needle is the first to leverage removable, connected needle portions to give surgeons more control over the stitching process. 

Nashville-based IDBiologics won last year’s Venture Forum. The company, which grew out of the academic lab of James Crowe at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, discovers and develops fully human monoclonal antibodies for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.

“All of the applications were incredibly impressive and signal the bright future of the industry in our state,” said Abby Trotter, Executive Director of LST. “The four companies selected to compete from across the state are a testament to the way Tennessee is driving life science innovation. I can’t wait to see them take the stage in November.”

LSTCON is a powerful gathering for life science entrepreneurs industry leaders to share the latest innovations moving the industry forward. The conference brings together diverse constituencies from across the state, including AgTech, diagnostics, medical devices, therapeutics, and more who represent the far-reaching impact of the life science industry.


About Life Science Tennessee

Life Science Tennessee is a statewide, non-profit, member organization whose mission is to advance and grow the life science industry in Tennessee through advocacy, partnerships and alignment with economic and workforce development. Life Science Tennessee conducts business and economic development activities; advocates on behalf of the industry; educates the public about the benefits of life sciences research and product development; and provides a network for the exchange of ideas, information and opportunities. For more information, visit