AxoSim Technologies Wins 3rd Annual BioChallenge

Nerve-on-a-chip startup AxoSim Technologies has won $25,000 in the 3rd annual BioChallenge pitch competition for Louisiana life sciences companies. The novel technology reduces the costs and length of preclinical drug development. The other three finalists were Crescentium, a critical care medical device firm, coastal resiliency and living shoreline company ORA Estuaries, and Taxor Diagnostics, the developers of a diagnostic test that predicts whether taxane chemotherapies will be effective for breast cancer patients.

November 18, 2014 — Read more at The Times-Picayune/

NOBIC Announces Relaunch of BioChallenge Pitch Competition

New Orleans BioInnovation Center fuels accessible and equitable health security with relaunch of BioChallenge pitch competition

NEW ORLEANS (April 23, 2024) – The New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC) is excited to announce the relaunch of the annual BioChallenge pitch competition to be held Oct. 31, 2024. The competition invites entrepreneurs and startups to showcase their groundbreaking ideas and technologies, positioning them for success in bringing to market the next generation of health security solutions. The challenge is poised to ignite biotech innovation and enhance equitable and accessible preparedness and response in New Orleans and beyond.

As a member of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Accelerator Network since 2018, NOBIC is excited to focus this year’s challenge around the mission to develop medical countermeasures that address the public health and medical consequences of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) accidents, incidents and attacks, pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases.

“We are thrilled to launch the 2024 BioChallenge, a NOBIC signature event that has produced many local and national success stories. This year, we are especially excited to see the innovative solutions focusing on access and equity that our finalists will bring to the forefront,” said Kris Khalil, executive director, New Orleans BioInnovation Center and managing director, BioFund.

“The BioChallenge is not just a competition; it’s a platform for breakthrough ideas that have the potential to revolutionize our nation’s health security posture. We’re looking forward to showcasing the talent and ingenuity of our community,” said Patrick Norton, NOBIC board chair

The BioChallenge pitch competition will be held at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center in downtown New Orleans Oct. 31, 2024, following BIO on the BAYOU, an academic biotechnology research symposium.

Past winners of the BioChallenge include local biotech trailblazers such as Axosim, Junum, Obatala Sciences and BioAesthetics. This year’s winners’ total prize pool, supported by multiple stakeholders, is over $100,000 and growing.


About New Orleans BioInnovation Center: The New Orleans BioInnovation Center (“NOBIC”) is a nonprofit business incubator focused on advancing life science entrepreneurship and technology commercialization in Louisiana. The mission of NOBIC is to create a successful biotech ecosystem by providing emerging companies with customized commercialization services, premier facilities, and a comprehensive support network. Through relationships with research institutions, economic development organizations, and industry stakeholders, NOBIC helps its clients de-risk novel technologies, attract funding, and improve global health outcomes. For more information, visit

About BIO on the BAYOU: BIO on the BAYOU, the premier biotechnology conference for the broader Gulf South region spotlights cutting-edge biotech advancements from universities and start-ups located in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico. Notable presenters included Dr. Monica Embers of Tulane University, who discussed a new diagnostic platform for improved Lyme disease testing, and Dr. Michael Dunham of LSU Health New Orleans, who described his novel tumor margin device.  Multiple academic startups also presented, including BioAesthetics, Chosen Diagnostics, Informuta, and PainVox.

Inaugural Biohealthsciences MPS Summit Wraps in New Orleans

Over 600 attended participated in-person and virtually in the collaboration

NEW ORLEANS (June 24, 2022) – The Microphysiological Systems (MPS) World Summit was held in New Orleans May 30 – June 3 2022, with attendees from 26 different countries. The inaugural summit was led by Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, Johns Hopkins University and in part by two local New Orleans biotech companies, AxoSim and Obatala Sciences. This was a collaboration of 52 organizations including NCATS, NIH,  the Wyss Institute of Harvard University, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), Jones Walker, GNO, Inc., New Orleans & Co., Baker Donelson and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC).

Company Exhibits, Featuring AxoSim (left) & Sphero (Right)

Microphysiological systems (MPS) comprise a number of bioengineering breakthroughs that reproduce organ architecture and function in vitro. Fueled by stem-cell technologies, a broad variety of especially human models and test systems have emerged, which can be used to advance drug discovery, safety testing of drugs and chemicals as well as advance the understanding of human diseases.

The MPS Summit series is a key tool to form a community amongst MPS scientists and organizations and accelerate scientific developments, their implementation and global harmonization. The initial conference presented the latest scientific achievements and enabled communication between young and newly interested scientists and pioneers of the MPS field.

Company Exhibits featuring Obatala (Right) and Nortis (Left)

“Obatala Sciences was very excited to be a part of the Host Committee,” said David Bode, chief operating officer of Obatala Sciences. “Bringing together this global community to create a roadmap for MPS technologies right here in New Orleans was a honor.”

The conference wrapped with the announcement of the International MPS Society (IMPSS) whose vision is to accelerate the use of MPS to improve health, wealth and the environment. The goal for the organization is to use their vision and core values to grow the society in order to become a self-sustaining conference.

“Closing the conference with the announcement of the IMPSS was perfect,” said AxoSim Chief Business Officer Ben Cappiello. “One of the goals from the beginning was to bring together stakeholders from all different levels to strengthen this emerging area of scientific research. Creating the IMPSS society is a major step to keeping this community together.”

The next MPS Summit will be held in Berlin in June 2023. For more information visit the MPS World Summit website.


Editor’s Note: Photo assets from the MPS Summit can be accessed here.

About AxoSim: AxoSim’s NerveSim® and BrainSim® platforms are revolutionizing the way that biopharmaceutical companies develop neurological drugs. Our mission is to empower advancements in human neuroscience so that patients in need can get the care they deserve. We deliver human data, faster. This reduces clinical failure and enables companies to develop effective drugs more quickly and at lower cost. We work with our partners to become an integral part of the drug development process, fostering innovation and facilitating breakthroughs in the treatment of the world’s most devastating diseases. Learn more at

About NOBIC: The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a private, not-for-profit business incubator, supporting entrepreneurship and dedicated to the development of bioscience innovation throughout Louisiana. The Center works directly with entrepreneurs and researchers to commercialize new technologies spinning out of Louisiana universities and health care institutions, as well as those developed by independent innovators, to start and scale new globally competitive life science companies. More info:

About New Orleans Business Alliance: One of fewer than 80 Accredited Economic Development Organizations worldwide, the New Orleans Business Alliance is the official public-private partnership created to increase economic gains for the city of New Orleans. Through a direct partnership with the City of New Orleans and strong connectivity with the business community, the New Orleans Business Alliance works to ensure the economic security of all New Orleanians by diversifying the local economy, developing local talent and expanding entrepreneurial opportunity. Through an inclusive economic development strategy, we will create a more equitable and prosperous future for all. Learn more at

About Obatala Sciences: Founded in 2017 with the goal of advancing research in the fields of obesity, diabetes and regenerative medicine, Obatala Sciences is a biotechnology company that offers research products and services to scientists in medical industries and academia. Obatala prides itself in making high-quality products that researchers use to discover better therapies for diseases that significantly impact the human population. Obatala is named for the West African deity tasked with sculpting the human body. Co-founded and run by an African American female from New Orleans, Obatala Sciences is committed to creating more accurate models of human tissue, starting with their building blocks: the cells. For more information, please visit

MAJOR NEWS: NOBIC wins $1.5M EDA Award

New Orleans BioInnovation Center Awarded $1.5 Million Grant from U.S. EDA

Incubator anticipates creating or retaining 650 jobs and attracting $75 million in private capital

NEW ORLEANS (Sep. 17, 2020) — The New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC) has won a $1.5 million award through the United States Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build to Scale (B2S) Venture Challenge which seeks to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in communities, regions, or a combination of regions. In an effort to accommodate an increase in research and development activity and adapt to the new challenges facing the South Louisiana region, NOBIC will use these funds to strengthen the competitiveness of the bio-industry through new technology development and increase the number of full-time job opportunities in innovation-based ventures in the state.

“Since the BioInnovation Center opened its doors in 2011 and the BioFund began investing in 2012, we have seen significant growth within the biotech industry in Louisiana,” said Executive Director (interim) of the BioInnovation Center and Managing Director of the New Orleans BioFund Kris Khalil. “However, that momentum had stalled due to a lack of robust wrap-around support services for researchers seeking to commercialize novel technologies. We are thrilled to be receiving this highly competitive award to accelerate not only our state’s technology commercialization activities, but also the specialized job growth in new industries that we so desperately need. We look forward to partnering with those in our region who wish to improve health outcomes via integrating advanced technology and novel treatments into our health systems.”

NOBIC’s enhanced commercialization program will help regional innovators apply for non-dilutive funding, de-risk their technologies, gain exposure, and connect with key stakeholders. To accomplish this, NOBIC plans to: Partner with local health systems to establish a streamlined pathway for entrepreneurs to attain contracts for pilot projects; create a workforce development program to engage regional students and connect startups with qualified prospective employees; and provide fundraising, grant writing, and wrap-around support.

“By providing Louisiana-based biotech companies with these customized commercialization services, such as assistance with local tax incentive programs and technology assessments, coupled with premier facilities and a comprehensive support network, NOBIC’s efforts are not only dramatically enhancing economic development here in the state, but also improving health outcomes globally,” said Patrick Norton, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Tulane University and chair of NOBIC’s Board of Directors. “The Center will thus be able to expand its impact beyond the 350 innovators who have already received specialized support to create new high-growth businesses such as Advano, Axosim, Fluence Analytics, and more that have emerged from Tulane and other local institutions.”

“Over the last decade, the healthcare industry has become a much greater focus for regional stakeholders, as Louisiana entrepreneurs have formed more than 300 new biotech and healthcare companies,” said Dean of LSU Health New Orleans and Vice-Chair of NOBIC’s Board of Directors, Dr. Steve Nelson. “Louisiana universities have been driving the growth of the life science industry by supporting start-ups emerging from our research labs, and with this funding NOBIC will be able to further bolster this growth.”

“This award will provide an exceptional advantage for NOBIC as they continue to establish their position as a leading biotech hub,” said Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development, Don Pierson, CEcD. “Our partnership approach to commercializing new technologies in the healthcare and life science arena for strategic technology-based economic development is based on innovation and leveraging our substantial anchor institutions and the tremendous intellectual capacity here. LED is proud to continue to support NOBIC’s efforts which will build and diversify the region’s economy with new jobs in the high-paying health sciences sector, and ultimately build a more resilient Louisiana.”

“This award will go a long way for Louisiana as we work to empower our state’s innovators to create successful biotech businesses,” said Dr. Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University. “This new workforce development program will further prepare students in the state to step directly into roles within our life science entrepreneurial ecosystem. Xavier looks forward to partnering with NOBIC on this timely and important project.” Through this award and subsequent advancement of Louisiana’s innovation-centric economy, NOBIC anticipates catalyzed job growth and enhanced global competitiveness – creating or retaining 650 jobs and attracting $75 million in private capital through the award period.

For more information on NOBIC, visit


About New Orleans BioInnovation Center :

The New Orleans BioInnovation Center (“NOBIC”) is a non-profit business incubator focused on advancing life science entrepreneurship and technology commercialization in Louisiana. The mission of NOBIC is to create a successful biotech ecosystem by providing emerging companies with customized commercialization services, premier facilities, and a comprehensive support network. Through relationships with research institutions, economic development organizations, and industry stakeholders, NOBIC helps its clients de-risk novel technologies, attract funding, and improve global health outcomes. For more information, visit

POSTPONED: Virtual Tour of NOLA’s Tech & BioInnovation Hub

On September 15th, The New Orleans Business Alliance and GNO Inc. will be hosting a virtual visit to New Orleans in partnership with SelectUSA featuring a select group of Technology and BioTech companies. 

Attendees will see first-hand how the Big Easy, traditionally known for its tourism and hospitality, is luring technology and biotech companies with its affordability and vibrant culture. Speakers include Mayor Cantrell and Secretary Pierson and featured companies include NOBIC tenants AxoSim and Obatala Sciences.

Additionally, International companies/potential investors will be able to schedule 1-on-1 virtual meetings with members of the New Orleans Business Alliance when registering for this event. These meetings will be held following the conclusion of the Virtual Tour on Tuesday morning.

Learn more about the speakers/companies, and RSVP here:


In preparation of the potential impacts of Hurricane Sally, this event has been postponed. Follow NOLA BA for updates. 





The New Orleans BioFund was created to support small businesses in the region looking to grow, create jobs, and contribute to the economic revitalization of New Orleans.

NOBIC Team and Startups Named Local Entrepreneurship Leaders

Numerous NOBIC team members and client entreprenurs have been recognized on the 2015 Silicon Bayou 100, the annual list of the 100 most influential and active people in tech and entrepreneurship in Louisiana. The list is compiled by the community through an anonymous nomination process. In addition to NOBIC’s President Aaron Miscenich and BioFund Manager Kris Khalil, entrepreneurs were recognized from client startups including APMT, Bioceptive, AxoSim, InnoGenomics, Compliance Partners, Better Day Health, ORA Estuaries, and more.

January 15, 2016 — Read more at Silicon Bayou News