The Center has launched the annual BioChallenge pitch competition for Louisiana life sciences startups, with over $50,000 in prizes available. Learn more:



Competition for Louisiana Life Sciences Startups Offers Over $50,000 in Prizes

BioChallenge final event to feature four entrepreneurs pitching innovations at the Joy Theater on November 8

The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is accepting applications for the 2017 BioChallenge competition, in which Louisiana life sciences startups compete for nearly $50,000 in cash and investment prizes. This annual competition gives entrepreneurs the chance to present their bold ideas to receive expert feedback and possibly win capital to fund company growth. The BioChallenge accepts applications from startups that are developing a solution in healthcare, biotechnology, environmental science, or other life sciences industries. Previous finalists have been developing new tools, treatments, and solutions in cancer, pediatrics, digital health, advanced materials, and many other areas.  

The final pitch event, which is open to the public, will be held on Wednesday, November 8 in New Orleans. The featured entrepreneurs will offer an eight-minute pitch presentation to a panel of investors and industry expert judges, who will have a chance to ask questions and provide feedback. The Grand Prize is $25,000 cash, and two additional award winners will be selected. The New Orleans BioFund is offering a $25,000 investment prize, contingent on a due diligence process, and event attendees will select the winner of the $2,500 Audience Favorite Award through a text vote.

In order to compete, companies must not have received more than $1 million in investment funding. In addition, the business must have significant operations in Louisiana, as the BioChallenge was developed specifically to boost new businesses that will generate jobs and economic growth within the state. Applicants are often developing a technology initially conceived at a university or hospital, but innovators without institutional affiliation are also eligible.

Applicants should submit an executive summary by September 15 describing their company and the problem they aim to solve. Instructions are available at Applications will be scored by independent judges, and semi-finalists will present a short pitch to a separate set of judges. Throughout October, top-scoring finalists will receive pitch coaching by the Center’s Commercialization consulting team. Part of its free services for entrepreneurs, this team has coached local startups to international business competition wins totaling more than $900,000 since 2011.

The 19 finalists from past competitions have raised over $16 million to develop technologies and build companies in Louisiana that save lives and address urgent environmental challenges. The 2016 winner, Chosen Diagnostics, is developing a test that can diagnose a life-threatening gastrointestinal disease in preterm infants and that offers more accurate results than current options, allowing earlier intervention in these fragile patients. 2015 winner BioAesthetics, a company that is developing a regenerative nipple graft for post-mastectomy patients, made headlines in May 2017 after securing a $250,000 investment and entering a prestigious business accelerator program in San Francisco.

The BioInnovation Center presents the competition finals as part of the annual Innovation Louisiana series of special events highlighting ground-breaking scientific innovation at universities and startups across the state. This year, these events are running from November 5 to 10 in New Orleans. Learn more at




About the New Orleans BioInnovation Center

Opened in 2011, the New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a not-for-profit business incubator that fosters entrepreneurship and supports life sciences technology innovation across Louisiana. The Center offers office and lab facilities, educational events, business consulting, and the New Orleans BioFund capital program to emerging startups as they work to bring new technologies to the market. From cancer treatment to water management, these include diagnostic tools, drugs, medical devices, health IT platforms, and clean technologies with great promise for addressing a wide range of medical and environmental problems. The BioFund has injected over $3 million in capital to more than 15 regional companies in a variety of industry. Overall, the Center’s programs have supported and empowered more than 150 new Louisiana companies that have created nearly 400 jobs and attracted over $90 million in funding to the region. Learn more at