San Antonio — A few medtech companies will be pitching their products in a “rapid-fire” pitch competition next week at the Emerging Medical Technology Symposium in San Antonio.
The organizers of the symposium, a group of medtech executives and others involved in the local industry, expect five companies to participate in the event, which awards the winner $1,000. Companies can still apply to participate online, though the group is planning to sort through applicants and pick participants soon, says organizing committee chair Gabriele Niederauer.
While the $1,000 is nice, the real prize is the connections the conference brings. Last year’s event drew 175 attendees, says Niederauer, who is the CEO and president of the medical technology company Bluegrass Vascular Technologies. The winner of the competition will be voted on by the audience, she says.
“The recognition will help them get introduced to new investors, get them visibility,” she says. “It’s really geared more toward new technologies being introduced in the most meaningful spaces.”
The event is being held on May 10 and registration is still open. In addition to the pitch competition, the day-long event includes panels on finding financing for and building value in medtech companies.
The symposium is sponsored by various local law firms, banks, and other local groups, while the $1,000 is being provided by the Texas Research & Technology Foundation.
The event will also feature a “trending topic” discussion, where experts will give quick five-minute presentations on topics relevant to the moment, Niederauer says.
Niederauer’s business recently made headlines itself, after its catheter system, called the Surfacer Inside-Out Access Catheter System, had its first clinical use on a patient whose life was threatened because of complications from end-stage renal disease. The company’s device has yet to receive regulatory approval in Europe or the U.S., but a physician was able to use it on a patient in Germany in March because of the country’s compassionate-use program, which allows physicians to use unapproved technology if existing treatments haven’t worked, Niederauer says.
When physicians are performing hemodialysis on patients to treat long-term renal or kidney disease, veins they use to do so can start collapsing, closing up, or getting blocked from being over-touched, which prevents further treatment. Bluegrass’s device can be used to clear a path in the blocked vein, thus allowing the treatment to continue, Niederauer says.
The company has raised $4.6 million through its Series A round. It has already applied to receive its CE Mark certification, received certification from the International Organization for Standardization, and plans at some point to apply for approval from the FDA, Niederauer says.