ENTvantage Diagnostics of Austin Wins the Emerging Medical Technology Symposium’s Pitch Competition

BY LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News
IMG_2722ENTvantage Diagnostics won the Emerging Medical Technology Symposium’s pitch competition on Tuesday afternoon.

“ENTvantage Diagnostics provides primary care and ENT physicians with critical information on the causes of ear, nose and throat illnesses,” said Joseph Skraba, its CEO.

The Austin-based company’s first product is a test its developing that can detect bacterial sinusitis. The test is similar to a strep throat test administered in the doctor’s office, Skraba said. The test will be able to help a doctor confirm a case of bacterial sinusitis that requires antibiotics to cure.

Right now, no such test exists.

Doctors must diagnose a patient with bacterial sinusitis based on symptoms, which are similar to cases of viral sinusitis. As a result, doctors often over prescribe antibiotics to their patients. About 30 million patients annually are diagnosed with sinusitis and 90 percent of all cases are viral and not bacterial, Skraba said.

ENTVantage Diagnostics’s $15 test would dramatically cut down on prescriptions for antibiotics and give patients a more accurate diagnosis of their condition. Skraba estimates it will take three years to get the test to the market.

The company is looking to raise a $1 million seed stage round to complete its initial product, a class two medical device, Skraba said. It received a $1,000 check from the Targeted Technology Fund as the winner of the pitch competition.

The runner up, Claresta Solutions, won six months worth of office space at the San Antonio Technology Center. But since Claresta Solutions already had an office, it gave up the prize to Leto Solutions, which is based at the center, so it gets six months of free rent.

Altogether, eight startups delivered five-minute pitches to a panel of judges. The other startups included Wisewear, StemBioSys, TVA Medical, Chiron Health and ClotFree.

Jerry Wilmink, CEO of Austin-based Wisewear, pitched a wearable health device to monitor fitness including heart rate and motion detection. Its sensor is a sticky patch that affixes to the chest and it sends its data to a cell phone.

Somer Baburek, CEO and founder of Claresta Solutions, came up with a better labor fetal monitor after a difficult labor with her daughter. She spent 26 hours in labor and had an emergency C-Section. But the monitor kept setting off alarms and required constant adjustment by the nurses throughout her labor. She left the hospital thinking there must be a better solution. She came up with it. Her device is based on an electrical system and is 90 percent accurate, she said. Most labor monitors are currently Doppler devices that are only 75 percent accurate, she said. The company is currently seeking $250,000 in seed stage funding to create a working prototype of its device.

IMG_2713The sixth annual Emerging Medical Technology Symposium took place the day before the InnoTech San Antonio conference, which kicks off Wednesday morning at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio.

The event was a big success, said Gabriele G. Niederauer, vice president of research and development for ArthoCare Corp. and chair of the symposium’s organizing committee.

One of the big themes that kept coming up again and again throughout the day was the importance of having a good team behind the startup, she said.

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