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Startups Selected as Grand Prize Winners in the 2016 Pistoia Alliance President's Challenge

Innovative startups demonstrate cutting-edge methods of harnessing and using scientific big data to accelerate research

by The Pistoia Alliance
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Startups Selected as Grand Prize Winners in the 2016 Pistoia Alliance President's Challenge2016 Pistoia Alliance President's Challenge winners Elia Brodsky, CEO of Pine Biotech (left) and Karine Seymour, CEO of Medexprim (right) celebrate with Dr Steve Arlington, president of the Pistoia Alliance (center).Photo courtesy of the Pistoia Alliance Boston – The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not for profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, announced Oct. 19 that Pine Biotech and Medexprim have been selected as the grand prize winners of its 2016 President’s Startup Challenge. The two startups were chosen from a list of five finalists, following a live ‘Shark Tank’ pitching event at the Pistoia Alliance’s 2016 member conference in Boston. Pine Biotech and Medexprim will both receive an award of $15,000 and six months one-to-one mentorship from a Pistoia Alliance member; in addition to six months access to Clarivate Analytics’ life science content assets. All five finalists receive a $5,000 award and one year's free membership of the Pistoia Alliance. 

Pine Biotech is a US startup that specialises in big data analysis and data mining in biomedicine. It has developed a SaaS platform, T-BioInfo, powered by advanced machine learning capabilities. T-BioInfo supports diverse teams, including biologists and bioinformaticians, to get more out of their data, enabling the discovery of molecules, vaccines, and new cellular pathways. 

Medexprim is a French startup that has developed a platform, the Radiomics Enabler®, which gives researchers new ways to exploit their medical image archives. The Radiomics Enabler® platform automates the laborious task of image extraction, and combines images with other medical information, such as lab results or genomics data. It significantly reduces the time and effort required of researchers, allowing them to better exploit their data in research projects. 

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“Both Pine Biotech and Medexprim pitched cutting-edge solutions that meet the core aim of the Pistoia Alliance—to lower the barriers which hamper innovation in life sciences R&D,” commented Dr Steve Arlington, president of the Pistoia Alliance. “All five finalists embody the dynamism and entrepreneurship that is a vital part of the life sciences industry. Collecting and analyzing both structured and unstructured big data, presents a significant challenge to the industry. Meeting this challenge will demand the kind of innovative solutions that Pine Biotech and Medexprim have developed. In collaboration with the rest of the industry, innovators such as our finalists will be essential in helping the life sciences community unlock the value of the data it produces.” 

The other three President’s Startup Challenge finalists were: 

  • Insightomics – helps life sciences R&D discover actionable patterns by blending interactive visualizations with state-of-the-art machine learning and statistical methods in a big data platform. The Insightomics Platform is an engine for creating visually rich, intuitive, and interactive bioinformatics apps–BioApps.
  • Monocl EGO – is a new ground-breaking cloud-based analytics platform specifically designed to help pharmaceutical professionals working with R&D informatics, competitive intelligence, medical affairs, strategic planning and other important business functions gain key insights and make smarter decisions.
  • Pharmacelera develops disruptive hardware/software solutions to increase the productivity of pharmaceutical R&D. Pharmacelera’s products tackle both quality and speed in the initial stages of drug discovery through a unique and proprietary molecular analysis engine and the usage of hardware accelerators.

The President’s Startup Challenge is an annual award which aims to support startups to transform life sciences R&D through two main themes, which include: 

  • Bringing benefit through data to R&D for the scientist: Managing and handling data through networks, infrastructure, and cloud; unravelling complexity of data and securing data.
  • Enabling the Internet of Things for life science research: Innovative devices and/or mobile technologies that enable or transform R&D laboratories and processes. 

Following initial shortlisting in round one, the five finalists presented a five-minute pitch, followed by a three-minute Q&A to the audience of the Pistoia Alliance’s member conference and a judging panel of seven senior life sciences executives. Audience members then chose a favorite pitch to support the judging panel’s decision on the two main winners. For more information on the Pistoia Alliance and The President’s Challenge, please visit: