Startup Showcase

photos of: man in lab, and man in classroom w text: DC Startup Showcase @ GW

September 29, 2020 Virtual DC Startup Showcase

Hosted by the George Washington University (GW) Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) and featuring Georgetown University

Watch Recorded Event on YouTube

The inaugural DC Startup Showcase exhibited companies developing disruptive healthcare innovations from GW and Georgetown University.

Entrepreneurs pitched to raise funding to bring the fruits of high-impact research to market.

DC’s best entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders attended to network.

Georgetown Companies

Trocar Pharma Inc. is a life sciences company that has a proprietary tissue-targeted platform technology that utilizes specific receptors in the Renin-Angiotensin system for the treatment of diseases of the GI tract, lung, heart and kidney. The lead compound is a small molecule that currently is in development as a radiation mitigator of gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome. Studies have shown that administration of the lead compound 24-hours post exposure to a lethal dose of radiation increases survival, enhances intestinal crypt regeneration and protects intestinal stem (tuft) cells from deletion. The co-founders of the company are Milton Brown, MD, PhD and Damian Dolland. 
Diviner Therapeutics LLC is a spin off based on Georgetown University’s technology that relates to novel inhibitors of Cadherin-11, a protein involved in cell-cell adhesion. Expression of cadherin-11 aligns with poor prognosis in the clinical setting. Studies at Georgetown have shown that the lead compound has preclinical efficacy in anima; models of cancers such as breast and glioblastoma. The company continues to optimize and test the lead molecule. The co-founders of the company are Georgetown faculty members, Sivanesan Dakshanamurthy, PhD., MBA and Dr. Stephen Byers, PhD. 
Cancer Advances Inc. (Durham, NC) is a biotechnology company focused on impacting human health and the progression of gastrointestinal cancers by enhancing the adaptive immune system. Currently, Cancer Advances is focused on developing therapeutics for gastrin/ gastrin receptor (CCKB) producing tumors and exploring synergy between treatment classes.  The company is led by an experienced management team and has a broad intellectual property portfolio. Cancer Advances is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cato Bioventures.  The co-founders of the company are Allen Cato, M.D., Ph.D. and Lynda Sutton, B.S.


The George Washington University Companies

Advaite, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics to help patients' suffering from debilitating diseases. Advaite's focus is targeting cutaneous malignancies such as melanoma. The lead compound in development is a highly specific, AMES negative HDAC6 inhibitor proven efficacious and safe in pre-clinical melanoma murine models. It is tumor agnostic, and could be expanded to any indication where immunotherapy is approved. CEO is Karthik Musunuri. GW's lead inventor is Alejandro Villagra, Ph.D.

LuxMed Systems, Inc. is the leader in therapeutic ablation catheters enabled with optical sensors for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation. Its flagship OmniView™ is the only optically guided ablation catheter that can: definitively characterize cardiac tissue, detect gaps, assess catheter-tissue contact, and monitor lesion progression, all in real-time. The OmniView™ provides electrophysiologists with definitive endpoints through simple, direct, and quantifiable optical tissue measurements and is designed to deliver complete, rapid, effective cardiac lesions to reduce costly repeat ablations. Validated in humans and protected with 15 issued patents, LuxMed’s unique ablation technology is expected to be commercial by 2022. LuxMed's CEO is Dr. Omar Amirana. GW's inventors are Marco Mercader, M.D., Narine Sarvazyan, Ph.D., and Matthew Kay, D.S.

Nanochon, LLC is developing an implant that is designed to not only replace lost and damaged cartilage, but also to encourage new tissue growth. Using 3-D printing and a novel material, the Nanochon implant is a sturdy medical advancement that is both an orthopedic load bearing implant as well a tissue growth scaffold. The Nanochon implant has the potential to deliver  faster and more successful recoveries for patients, while reducing costs. Already validated in large animals, the next step is a human trial for a PMA registration. Nanochon's CEO is Dr. Benjamin Holmes. GW's inventors are Lijie Grace Zhang, Ph.D., Benjamin Holmes, Ph.D., and Nathan Castro, Ph.D.

Introducing our expert panel

Bringing extensive experience in entrepreneurship, venture funding, intellectual property, and medical regulations

Charles Andres, J.D., Ph.D., R.A.C. is an Associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Wilson Sonsini. He focuses on patent prosecution, strategic patent counseling, IP due diligence, drug and medical device FDA regulatory counseling, invalidity and non-infringement opinions, life-cycle management, Supreme Court and Federal Circuit amicus briefs, and related business matters. In addition, Charlie has authored and reviewed numerous freedom-to-operate, invalidity, and non-infringement opinions and advised companies on the use of post-grant USPTO proceedings to achieve IP goals.

Peter Weissman, J.D. is a Partner with the law firm Blank Rome. He concentrates his practice in patent litigation in the federal courts and prosecution before patent offices in the U.S. and abroad, primarily in the areas of the Internet, software, biomedical, information technology, RFID technology, telecommunications, and the electrical and mechanical arts. He counsels clients in a wide range of intellectual property matters including: patent procurement and strategies for start-up and established companies, university technology transfer, and copyright procurement. Prior to joining Blank Rome, Mr. Weissman served as a Patent Examiner at the USPTO. 

Matthew Miessau, M.S. is an Associate at Epidarex Capital. At Epidarex Capital, Matthew has been actively involved in deal sourcing including expanding Epidarex Capital’s reach and relationships with key universities in emerging hubs in the US. He also focused on conducting due diligence on prospective investments on both sides of the Atlantic and portfolio management. Matthew supports the firm’s fundraising efforts and LP reporting. Matthew is a Board Observer for AdoRx Therapeutics and Epidarex Exeed. He holds an M.S. in Biotechnology and a B.S. in Biochemistry from Georgetown University.

Niall Sweeney, M.B.A. is CEO of MedTech Junction. He is an experienced medical device executive who has commercialized successful products in the hospital, diabetes and dental markets. Niall is an active member of several angel investor groups. MedTech Junction advises, consults and manages MedTech startups, transforming medical technology from idea to reality.