Bioaccel Announces Solutions Challenge 2016 Finalist Teams

Monday, November 14, 2016

Phoenix, AZ  (November 15, 2016) — BioAccel, an organization dedicated to supporting early-stage medical device and technology entrepreneurs, announced finalists for its premiere competition, Solutions Challenge 2016 powered by Arizona Board of Regents, to be held Thursday, December 1 at Phoenix Theatre.


“More than 60 competition category companies and student teams entered Solutions Challenge with the intent to solve critical healthcare needs through medical device and health care technology solutions,” said Ron King, Ph.D., BioAccel’s Chief Science Officer. “Of this very robust group of innovators, more than 30 university student teams applied on behalf public and private institutions in Arizona, as well from University of California at Irvine, an Economic Development Agency i6 program partner.”


Finalists include five entrepreneur companies focused on competition categories, and 10 university student innovation teams to present medical innovations for potential seed funding at the Solutions Challenge Scorpion Pit, Arizona’s equivalent to the television series “Shark Tank.”


Teams can win up to $100,000 in seed funding based on decisions made by nine “Scorpion” judges.


BioAccel’s Scorpion Pit judges include medical device executives and investors who are willing to invest in early-stage, innovative companies solving healthcare issues. Participants must convince the Scorpions to invest in their company, with BioAccel possibly providing up to $50,000 in matching funds. All teams obtain valuable feedback and mentoring important to launching a successful medical device or technology company based in Arizona.


Competition categories include the following areas of where opportunity for health innovation is notable:

  • Digital, Wearable and Mobile Health – Sponsored by Life365
  • Regents Rivalry Award for Students – Sponsored by Medtronic
  • Coordinated Care – Sponsored by Celgene
  • Novel Medical Devices sponsored by Molded Devices
  • Early Diagnosis Tools for Dementia


Tickets and sponsor information for the Solutions Challenge Scorpion Pit competition and award reception are on online at

All team applications were vetted through a rigorous assessment process. The following teams were selected as finalists. 


Competition category and student finalist teams for BioAccel’s Solutions Challenge 2016


Competition Category: Digital, Wearable and Mobile Health – Sponsored by Life365


HER Inc - SkinSAFE

SkinSAFE is a web and mobile “transparency and analytics” platform for beauty, skin care and household products. SkinSAFE offers detailed product information and a first-of-its-kind ingredient scoring system to provide consumers with the knowledge and power needed to make buying decisions. Clients include health conscious consumers and skin allergy sufferers, physicians and skin health professionals, and all general consumers.


Competition Category: Coordinated Care – Sponsored by Celgene



PHR+ offers a population health software product that interfaces with more than 200 home health and medical devices, allowing medical providers to view, manage, and engage with patients remotely. The software provides a comprehensive view of patient's medical profile, improving care coordination and promoting patient engagement their own health. The PHR+ software uses data analytics, trends, triggers, and rewards to personalize the patient's experience and promote engagement.


Competition Category: Novel Medical Devices – Sponsored by Molded Devices


Axolotl Biologix (Axolotl)

Axolotl Biologix (Axolotl) is a biologics company that manufactures human cell and tissue products (HCT/P) including human amniotic fluid, human amniotic membrane patches, and human tissue harvesting kits for regenerative medicine procedures. Axolotl Biologix is able to grow multiple 4 inch by 4 inch patches of a patient’s own skin from a blood sample and a small skin sample the size of a skin mole. In addition, they are able to heal chronic wounds for diabetics. These types of wounds have historically resulted in amputation.


Sential is co-founded by four graduate students with the vision of transforming emergency care. The company’s first initiative, Endurance, focuses on improving survival and outcomes for sudden cardiac-arrest victims outside of hospitals. It is designed to provide consistent and reliable chest compressions in an automated fashion to assist emergency responders in providing better rescue and care to sudden cardiac-arrest victims.

Portela Soli Medical (PSM)

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are a $1 billion annual problem in the U.S., due to 51 million major surgeries requiring catheterization. Patients who are hospitalized for a procedure that requires a urinary catheter face increased chances of infection, sepsis, increased length of stay, and even death. PSM created a patent-pending product expected to change the standard of care and reduce hospital-acquired infections. This is an important area of focus for hospitals and doctors due to new Medicare penalties that withhold reimbursements for treatment of these infections, while requiring hospitals to pay additional penalties. This product not only may reduce the chances of infection, but also allows urologists to medicate the urinary tract – something that does not exist today.


University student finalist teams for BioAccel’s Solutions Challenge 2016


Competition Category: Regents Rivalry Award for Students – Sponsored by Medtronic


Finalists selected for “Proof-of-Product” Pitches


The following university finalist student teams will share “proof-of-product” pitches, competing for start-up stipends to support continued progress toward company start-ups.


Sarver Heart Center (University of Arizona)

Cardiovascular disease is among the most common causes of death and is an epidemic in our nation. Sarver Heart Center’s laboratory developed a rat model of Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) that accurately replicates clinical conditions of ventricular tachycardia (VT), ventricular fibrillation, mechanical alternans, and pulseless electrical activity which collectively contribute to mortalities associated with Sudden Cardiac Death. This team hopes to explore the effects of well-known arrhythmogenic and anti-arrhythmogenic drugs to validate the research model’s clinical accuracy and prepare the custom software for market.


Wrist-Based Pulse Oximeter (Arizona State University)

There is no continuously wearable pulse oximeter available to children. This creates a stressful situation for parents of children with severe respiratory diseases, particularly while the child is sleeping. This also prevents children with severe respiratory diseases from participating in physical activity due to fears of overexertion.


This team has developed a wearable, wrist-based pulse oximeter to be used in monitoring and tracking the health state of children suffering from respiratory related diseases or illnesses. Unlike current devices on the market, the Wrist-Based Pulse Oximeter provides a discrete, pediatric-specific, continuous monitoring system that is affordable without insurance and available without prescription.


Fishbone Prosthetic (Arizona State University)

The Fishbone Prosthetic is a myoelectric, press-fit transradial hand and arm prosthetic that will be made using advanced manufacturing techniques. The mechanical design allows it to withstand large compression, torsional, and bending forces while also allowing for failure before harm can be done to the user. This mechanical design is referred to as Fishbone, and is in the process of getting patented. The use of novel components in this device will yield a light-weight and low-cost prosthetic. This technology will be applicable to other types of prosthetics once it is fully developed.


K9 BioWalk (University of California – Irvine team)

K9 BioWalk is creating prosthetic legs for both dogs with underdeveloped limbs and dogs with total limb amputation. The prosthesis can be customized using 3D printing from durable filament. However, dogs requiring total limb amputation will have a standard design prosthesis scaled to fit the dog. The prosthesis includes interchangeable treads and sensor technology to ensure that the dog is comfortable when using the prosthesis.


Syntr Health Technologies (University of California – Irvine team)

Compared to current methods of obtaining stem cells from adipose tissue (fat), the Syntr Health Technologies device puts a new spin on the competition by providing a faster, easier and minimally processed method of obtaining the inherent regenerative cells. Syntrfuge™ a CD-LOC Device utilizes a combination of centrifugal design (CD) and lab-on-a-chip microfluidics to dissociate and activate the native stem cells in fat tissue. This fully automated system will allow for easy use by doctors or technicians in the hospital or clinic setting. With no chemical additives, our device ensures low risk to the patient and minimal manipulation of stem cells.


Competition Category: Regents Rivalry Award for Students – Sponsored by Medtronic


Student finalists selected for “Quick Concept” Pitches


The following university finalist student teams will share two-minute innovation “quick concept” pitches for Scorpion feedback and potential start-up stipends to support continued progress toward company start-ups.


HandleHealth.Tech (Grand Canyon University)

We want to improve everyday health by using preventative sheath to prevent the spread of many diseases that hands touch. With a copper-type, antimicrobial material, our job is to enhance a preventive technique to save you money, and save lives.


StepPlus (Arizona State University)

We will develop a wearable device that provides auditory, visual, and haptic feedback through a smartphone application, recording daily progress and transmitting a concise report to the neurologist or physical therapist. This rehabilitation technology would be the first on the market to track and provide feedback on step length. By making Parkinson's disease (PD) patients more aware of their abnormal step lengths, StepPlus aims to decrease the likelihood of falls for this population.


Phokas (University of California – Irvine)

Phokas hopes to enhance real-time data during endoscopic procedures. A traditional endoscope provides a white light, a lens system, and a camera for diagnosis and possible surgical procedures.  The endoscope has lacked the ability to detect anything under the surface of a typical subject, yielding often insufficient data for whether there are clear indications of a symptom or not.  Phokas will implement a blood flow sensing endoscope that is low cost and, ideally, single-use based.


Velox Biosystems 180 (University of California – Irvine team)

This team’s product, GenoBot, will be the first one-stop, sample-to-result antibiotic resistant bacteria genotype screening system for rapid point-of-care diagnostics. The sensitivity of the system is in the single bacterium level, which allows analysis of early-stage bacterial infections in a rapid, sensitive, portable, and low-cost manner.


Mindstruct (University of California – Irvine)

Mindstruct is developing a final three-dimensional mode of visualizing the epileptic brain prior to surgery. This team plans to use both structural and functional information that doctors can currently attain from MRI and CT scans combined with electrode matrices. A 3D virtual model will be developed by piecing together slices from both MRI and CT scans to give a full picture of brain structures.



Solutions Challenge 2016 Competition Category Descriptions

For the 2016 Solutions Challenge, special consideration will be given to ventures that in addition to addressing one of the Challenge Categories below, also positively affect, impact or focus on behavioral/mental health patients and aging populations. 

Digital, Wearable and Mobile Health – Sponsored by Life 365

The estimated CAGR of the digital and mobile health markets from 2015-2020 is 18 percent and 20 percent respectively[1],[2]. This rapid growth can be leveraged to direct personalized care, improve patient engagement, streamline workflow, and create data that can be utilized to influence patient and clinical behavior.  These factors play an important role in the changing reimbursement environment heavily weighting outcomes and performance. BioAccel welcomes digital wearable and mobile solutions that engage patients and clinicians to improve outcomes and ultimately reduce overall healthcare expenditures.

Regents Rivalry Award for Students – Sponsored by Medtronic (Two divisions: Proof of Product, and Quick Concept Pitches)

Developing the next generation of biomedical entrepreneurs is critical to sustainability and success of the biomedical industry. BioAccel opened this category to any and all medical technologies originating from current or recently graduated student teams.

Coordinated Care – Sponsored by Celgene

Coordinated care among individuals with complex or multiple chronic diseases is critical to obtaining the outcomes required by the pay for performance reimbursement model.  Because of this, technologies and business models that facilitate coordinated and continuous care are a hot topic in healthcare today.  Coordinated care is driving the need for technologies that improve communication between clinical specialists, increase the interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs and electronic medical records (EMRs). These technologies have potential to support professionals such as “Healthcare Navigators” ensure coordinated and continuous health care is delivered.  BioAccel invites entrepreneurs addressing coordinated care through technology to compete in this year’s solutions challenge. Ventures providing tools for Healthcare Navigators are highly needed and will be given special consideration.

Novel Medical Devices – Sponsored by Molded Devices

Medical devices are a staple in clinical care, and the current worldwide market for devices has surpassed $380 billion annually[3].  Although growth continues, markets in the US and other developed areas are reaching maturity and have increasing pressure from reimbursement and taxation.  The medical device industry is trending towards mergers and emerging markets to reach revenue targets.  The next generation of medical devices must not only improve clinical outcomes, but do so while reducing overall treatment costs, adding utility to mature device markets.  Medical device ventures that demonstrate these characteristics are eligible for Solutions Challenge 2016.    


BioAccel’s Scorpions for Solutions Challenge 2016


The following nine leaders will serve as “Scorpion” judges and potential investors.


Dirk Karsten Beth, Hyalescent Ventures Founder and Managing Director


Alex Brigham, Ethisphere Institute CEO


Todd Davis, Lifelock Founder and Executive Vice Chairman of the Board


David Hetz, Cain Brothers Vice Chairman


Larry Heitz, Investor and Business Owner


Vishu Jhaveri, M.D., M.S.A., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Senior Vice President of Health Services and Chief Medical Officer, and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona's investment subsidiary, Trinnovate Ventures


Matt Likens, Ulthera Founder and former CEO, and investor


David Holthe, Tallwave Capital General Partner


Laura J. Zeman-Mullen, Patent Attorney |Zeman-Mullen & Ford, LLP




About Solutions Challenge 2016

BioAccel’s premiere event, Solutions Challenge, is scheduled for Thursday, December 1, 2016 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Phoenix Theatre. Competition begins at 1 p.m., with a reception at 4:30 p.m. followed by award announcements and a post-award celebration.


 For more information, go to (


Tickets and sponsor information for the Solutions Challenge Scorpion Pit competition and award reception are on online at


About BioAccel


BioAccel is a leading organization in the United States dedicated to developing a robust medtech ecosystem including entrepreneur development, and creation of a validated pipeline of commercially viable medical technology to transform healthcare delivery. Our mission is to work with qualifying entrepreneurs and their early-stage companies to identify start-up funding, as well as provide training and mentorship to accelerate commercialization, improve healthcare through innovation, and diversify economic development.

Since inception in 2009, BioAccel has supported the launch of 17 game-changing healthcare device companies, filling an unmet need in Arizona’s emerging bioscience sector. BioAccel has helped its bioscience entrepreneurs successfully navigate the “Valley of Death” while creating healthy communities through vanguard solutions that support Arizona economic growth.


All BioAccel programs are dedicated to achieving our mission:  To work with qualifying entrepreneurs and their early-stage bioscience technology and medical device companies to identify start-up funding, as well as provide training and mentorship to accelerate commercialization, improve healthcare through innovation, and diversify economic development.






[1] (Wearable Medical Devices, 2015)

[2] (mhealth Markets Worldwide, 2015)

[3] (Global Market for Medical Devices, 6th Ed., 2015)