A new batch of 13 women-led lifetime science and healthcare startups have been accepted into Springboard Enterprises’ Health Innovation Hub, a year-long program meant for growth-stage companies preparing to expand and raise funds for brand spanking new product development.

It’ s an opportunity for assistance, networking, and access to new resources. The program also helps visibility as the companies gain a foothold in their particular industries. For Geeta Singh of MAG Optics, approval into the new Health Innovation Hub class came in an ideal time.

“ We recently started to tell our story at various Med/Biotech conferences plus startup challenges, ” explained Singh via email. “ We have to approach it judiciously and strategically and, honestly, we need a little guidance on how to navigate our story. The particular powerhouse network, the breadth and depth of sector and domain experts as well as Springboard’ s rigorous system couldn’ t have presented at a more perfect period. ”

Springboard has a solid track record of achievement.   Over 17 years, the non-profit has backed 669 women leaders globally, from companies that have at this point raised a combined $7. 5 billion. Four from five of those startups are still in business today.

Here’ s an overview of the 2017 class that will be officially welcomed at a networking event in Boston on Wednesday night.

Drug development

Federica Pericle, president and CEO of  Agilvax
Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Agilvax can be working to develop new cancer therapeutics and vaccines having a virus-like particle (VLP) platform technology. It currently offers three immunotherapeutic candidates in preclinical development, including AX09 for  triple-negative breast cancer. Agilvax is also developing vaccines towards infectious diseases, such as HPV. Along with NIH and small company grants, the six-year-old company has raised just over $4 million in private equity financing.

Robyn Goforth, CSO and cofounder of  BiologicsMD
Doylestown, Pennsylvania-based BiologicsMD is developing targeted therapeutics for alopecia (hair loss) and severe bone disorders. The company provides multiple assets in three therapeutic areas, including the portfolio of “ hair cycle stimulators” (HCS) which have the potential to restore hair growth and prevent hair loss by stimulating particular receptors  within hair follicles.

Stephanie Tagliatela, TOP DOG of  Encoded Genomics
South San Francisco, Ca startup Encoded is on a mission to create precision molecular therapeutics for a variety of genetic diseases. Encoded’ s primary technology is a sequencing-based approach to identify and repurpose non-coding regulatory elements for targeted gene delivery.

Emma Taylor, CEO and cofounder of  Naked Biome
San Francisco, California’ s Naked Biome is definitely taking a microbiome-based approach to combating global antibiotic resistance. Particularly, the startup aims to identify novel therapeutic opportunities to deal with skin disease, drawing on the foundational science and research released through the human microbiome project. Naked Biome’ s guide program is working towards the first live biologic restorative for acne.

Carin Mueller Rollins, TOP DOG and founder of Hinge Bio
Burlingame, California-based Hinge Bio is developing a range of protein therapeutics and diagnostics, including its proprietary “ Flex-Hinge” plus bispecific antibodies, and Fc fusion proteins. Hinge’ ersus initial pipeline targets different oncology, metabolic disease, plus neurodegenerative disorders. A collaboration with a major pharmaceutical corporation has already been made.


Lynn Feldman, CEO of AlkaliDx
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts-based AlkaliDx is developing a test and stimulant-free treatment for what it calls “ hypokalemic sensory overstimulation (HypoSO), ” a type of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with four distinctive characteristics; muscle cramps, poor rest, severe premenstrual pain (in females), and a worsening associated with symptoms when high salt or sugar meals are usually consumed. AlkaliDx has treated 16 HypoSO patients so far and reports very positive effects.

Bethany Edwards, CEO and cofounder of Lia Diagnostics
LIA Diagnostics develops and commercializes water-dispersible, biodegradable analysis kits and products. Its lead product, Lia, is really a flushable pregnancy test. The company believes the approach may deliver greater sustainability, privacy, improved user experience, decreased supply chain, and the elimination of costly landfill-bound plastic material parts. Lia’ s IP portfolio and unique information support three distinct areas for expansion.

Manjiri Bakre, CEO of  OncoStem
Located in Bangalore, India, OncoStem is an Oncology diagnostics developing customized tests that can assess an individual’ s risk associated with cancer recurrence. With this information, patients and their physicians can plan an optimum therapeutic timeline and program. OncoStem’ s first focus is breast cancer, with supplementary programs in oral and colon cancers.

Dana Watt, CSO and cofounder of  Pro-Arc Diagnostics 
Headquartered in St . Louis, Missouri, Pro-Arc Diagnostics is developing JCVerify, a novel screen for that JC virus, which causes a deadly complication in individuals taking immunosuppressant medications. JCVerify looks for mutations in the JCvirus that are associated with the disease, providing more accurate risk stratification info.

Patti White, CEO of  Hemex Wellness
Based in Portland, Oregon, Hemex Health started with a global view for connecting innovative medical technology with all the underserved populations that need them most. It brings together best university scientists and serial entrepreneurs for projects just like an one-minute, sensitive malaria diagnostic and the first rapid, precise sickle cell diagnostic.


Geeta Singh, CBO and cofounder of  MAG Optics
Chicago, Illinois-based MAG Optical technologies is an early-stage ophthalmic device company with an aim to re-engineer vision for patients with presbyopia (loss of close to focus) and broader refractive errors, which together influence almost half of the world’ s population. With a proof-of-concept under its belt, MAG is now ready to raise funds and transition to the clinic.

Carolyn Mix, chairman and CEO of  Ondine Biomedical
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ondine Biomedical is a global head in so-called “ photodisinfection technology, ” a healthcare device approach to treating and preventing topical multidrug proof infections. Ondine has 6 different products in its growth pipeline, four of which have cleared Health Canada needs and are now available in Canadian clinics and hospitals.

Misti Ushio, founder and CEO of  TARA Biosystems
New York City-based TARA Biosystems can be engineering predictive cardiac tissue models that enable quicker, safer, and more reliable development of new medicines. The technologies includes stem cells grown on a Biowire platform, which usually create a functioning model for  human testing.

“ After many years investing in early stage technology, I highly valued the people and the unmet need the most when starting TARA, ” Ushio said via email. “ I am quite fortunate that TARA’ s scientific co-founders, Prof. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic and Prof. Milica Radisic, are world-class heart tissue engineering researchers.   The three of us closely work together as we build TARA, which is dedicated to pioneering predictive heart tissue models to enable the discovery of next generation center failure medicines and ensure cardiac safety of new medicines. ”

Photo: Joshua Blake, Getty Pictures