Biofest Invest 2022 was held on March 30, 2022, the day before the start of San Antonio’s Fiesta celebration. Over 250 people were registered in order to support medtech, biotech, digital health, and pharma entrepreneurs make connections with investors, support organizations, and colleagues, as well as receive helpful information to enable their growth. Over 25 sponsors supported the event financially and were able to host tables in the networking area. Sponsors reported running out of business cards and were seen holding giant stacks of cards they had been given.
After the initial networking session, the event started with remarks from Heather Hanson, president of BioMedSA, Barbara Aranda-Naranjo, Provost at Presenting Sponsor, the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), and Walt Downing, EVP & COO at Presenting Sponsor, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Hanson explained how BioMedSA implements its mission by supporting the companies in the region, promoting the region to encourage relocations, and creating actions for growth, like Biofest Invest. She mentioned that the healthcare and bioscience sector in the 7th largest city in America, San Antonio, is the largest economic contributor with an annual impact of $42B. This sector is well-equipped to assist entrepreneurs with collaborative access to clinicians, educators, researchers, industry and military health resources. Aranda-Naranjo mentioned the extensive world-wide spread of UIW and the significant life science training happening in San Antonio. Downing explained the breadth of contract R&D SwRI provides across all industries, their focus in drug and medtech development and GMP small volume manufacturing. He also reminded attendees of SwRI’s long standing support of BioMedSA.
Karen Deschaine from Cooley (the largest life science legal firm in terms of IPOs and M&As) explained the different types of funding options for companies. Sharon Smith from the Anser Group presented Marketing Essentials for Commercial Success. How to work with contracting organizations was discussed in a panel moderated by Kris Kieswetter from KCI, including: Paul Attar at (Bridge PTS), Michael Fiske (Scorpion Biological Services), and Joe McDonough (SwRI). Numerous cost savings opportunities were presented by Jared Stein (BioMedSA). Investor knowledge was shared in a panel moderated by Benjamin Perkins (pH Partners), including: May McCarthy, an (individual investor), Courteney Real (Capital Factory Ventures), Kim Rodriguez (S3 Ventures), and Neal Vail (Progenerative Medical). CEOs were on hand to share their insights in a panel session moderated by Thomas Tschirhart (PSC Biotech), including: George Hutchinson (Invictus Medical), Marty Landon (Biobridge Global), Gabi Niederauer (Bluegrass Vascular Technologies), and Maria Zannes (bioAffinity Technologies). Corporate legal highlights were shared in a panel moderated by Monica Trollinger (SwRI), including: Karen Deschaine (Cooley), Matt Duke (Duke Law Firm) and Jose Padilla (Padilla Law).
Thirteen pitching companies were selected to participate in the Biofest Invest 2022 Best Pitch contest from across Texas. These companies shared their exciting technologies and investment opportunities. Novothelium was selected as the Best Pitch with Vascular Perfusion Solutions receiving the Runner-Up Pitch Award. Investors were present from across the country and the investment spectrum (angel to VC), with investment histories of small to multi-million dollar investments.