ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, September 26, 2022 – When it was announced that the winner of the 7th Annual BioHealth Capital Region Crab Trap would be the recipients of a larger than ever prize pool, organizers didn't expect that two companies would benefit thanks to unique circumstances. The main winner, Neuroene Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutics for difficult-to-treat neurological disorders, was selected from five finalists as the company with the most commercial potential at the 7th Annual Crab Trap Competition.
"I am so excited that Neuroene Therapeutics has won the 7th Annual Crab Trap! Especially since there were so many other competitors with such amazing technologies," said Sherine Chan, Neuroene Co-Founder. " I felt that the coaching from BHI helped make our pitch infinitely better. This win is incredible for our company. We recently moved to Washington, DC, and JLABS, and this reinforces that our decision to move here was a really good one."
Prizes for the qualifying Crab Trap winner included: A $10,000 cash prize from Wilson Sonsini, a $5,000 cash from Montgomery County (for a firm headquartered in Montgomery County), a one-year residency at JLABS @ Washington, DC, and Preclinical CRO services from Noble Life Sciences.
Because Neuroene was already located at JLABS @ Washington, D.C., Judge Sally Allain, Head of JLABS @ Washington, DC, offered the one-year residency to the runner-up, Polaris Genomics, a Gaithersburg, Maryland company bringing molecular diagnostics to mental health care, to expand into the District. A suprise came from Judy Costello, Special Projects Manager, Office of the County Executive at Montgomery County Government, who presented Polaris with a check for $5,000 as a local finalist to continue their growth in the County as their Headquarters.
"While developing new technologies to improve mental healthcare is a national effort, recognition and support from our local biotech innovation ecosystem is foundational," said Charles Cathlin, Polaris CEO & Co-Founder. "Polaris Genomics is dedicating funds received from Montgomery County, Maryland toward our mission of harnessing genomics to make invisible wounds like PTSD visible and we're excited for the opportunity to partner with JLABS."
This year's judges included industry leaders Sally Allain, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ Washington, DC, Lora Green, Partner, Patents and Innovations, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Katherine Hill Ritchie, Senior Director, Venture Funds, TEDCO, Conley Jones, Principal-Science & Technology, Alexandria Real Restate Equities/Venture Investments, John Newby, CEO, VA Bio, Ethel Rubin, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, BioHalth Innovation Inc., Brett Shealy, Vice President, Life Sciences, J.P. Morgan, and was moderated by Rich Bendis, President & CEO, BioHealth Innovation, Inc.
In addition to Neuroene and Polaris, the judges and the audience viewed three other finalists' presentations: Kubanda Cryotherapy from Baltimore, Maryland, Perfusion Medical from Richmond, Virginia, and VPIX Medical who came all the way from South Korea to compete.
"Being able to hold the Crap Trap live this year from US Pharmacopeia made the event very special for the BioHealth Capital Region. After the past two years of having the Forum, Investment Conference and Crab Trap all virtually, I am grateful to the competing companies, judges, and sponsors who came together again." said Richard Bendis, BHI President & CEO. "Having the surprise of two winners this year made the 7th Annual Crab Trap even more special, and we are excited for the growth and development of all five competitors."
Founded in 2016, the Crab Trap Competition focuses on companies in therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, healthcare services, e-health, mobile health, electronic medical records, health informatics, and biohealth cyber security.
About BioHealth Innovation, Inc.
BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) is a public-private nonprofit organization focused on accelerating biohealth (therapeutic, diagnostic, medtech, and health IT) commercialization in the BioHealth Capital Region (Maryland, DC, and Virginia).