Health/Life Sciences

Startup that goals to stop tissue adhesions after surgical procedure wins inaugural Apis well being competitors

From top left, clockwise: Apis fund manager Allen Nieman, MC Jolene Anderson, and Karios CEO Gregory Grover. (Apis Image)

Houston-based Karios Technologies won the inaugural Apis Health Angel Conference, launched in Seattle to connect investors and health-related startups.

The program is modeled after the Seattle Angel Conference, which has educated investors and funded companies for more than ten years through its startup competition.

More than 50 companies started with the Apis cohort late last year, and six made it to the final competition Thursday evening. They presented pitches to more than 25 participating angel investors.

The Apis conference is virtual and accepted applicants from all over the country. The investors each contributed $5,000 to the winner’s pool. Karios took home $145,000.

Karios is developing a way to help prevent tissue adhesions after surgery, using hydrogel technology spun out of the University of California Los Angeles and UC San Diego. The startup is focused on children with congenital heart defects.

“Our passion is to bring this product into clinic to improve the quality of life of these young patients and then transition in other high impact areas of surgery,” said CEO Gregory Grover in a statement. Grover was previously a bioengineering postdoctoral fellow at UCSD and has held senior positions at biotech and medical device companies.

The five runners-up are:

— BodiGuide, a Bellevue-Wash.-based startup developing an ankle bracelet to detect fluid retention in patients with heart failure.

— Violett, which is based in Seattle and has built a device to disinfect air using ultraviolet light.

— Estrigenix Therapeutics, a Milwaukee-based biotech company developing a therapy to boost mental health in menopausal women.

— NanoPharmaSolutions, which offers technology to help formulate biopharmaceuticals and is based in San Diego.

— Remedium Bio, a Needham, Mass.-based biotech company developing gene therapies for a broad range of conditions.

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