Fitzsimons startups land prime spots at investor showcase


AURORA | Two local bioscience companies will be participating in a conference next month aimed at linking start ups with investors who could help fund their companies.

The two companies — Renaptys Vaccines, LLC and Sharklet Technologies, Inc. — are both based at the Fitzsimons BioScience Park Center, headquarters of the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority and the epicenter of the city’s growing bioscience industry.

Renaptys, a start-up developing vaccines, and Sharklet, which is developing a germ-resistant material that can be used for medical devices, are among 30 startups from around Colorado, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico and Utah. April Giles, President and CEO of the Colorado BioScience Association said the companies were chosen from more than 60 applicants by a committee of investors and industry experts.

The biannual conference is an important way to link investors with startup companies, Giles said.

“It has been a rewarding experience for our team to see the conference grow and develop since our first session in 2009,” she said in a statement.

Dr. Paul Bolno, CEO of Renaptys, said the conference is important because it helps start ups link with other companies, and with the investors they need.

“Obviously, funding for early-stage companies has been challenging to say the least,” he said.

Renaptys, which launched earlier this year, is developing vaccine technology that can churn out vaccines for the flu and SARS-like viruses much faster than current vaccine production methods.

The company includes several experts in the vaccine field, Bolno said, but like any new biotech startup, what they need now are investors.

“Now the important piece is the capital,” he said.

Local and state bioscience industry leaders have long-stressed the need for programs that help link bioscience startups with investors. Bioscience companies often get their start with grant money or through research institutions, but struggle taking their product to market and making it profitable.

In the past, startup companies often turned to venture capitalists to help them bridge that gap between when grant money dries up and when profits start rolling in. But after the recession in 2008, officials said much of that venture capital investment dried up or was concentrated on a few larger startups.

To fix that, industry leaders have launched several events aimed at connecting investors with new bioscience companies. In addition to the biannual conference, the Colorado Bioscience Association also has an annual contest called the Venture Showcase Competition that tries to help local startups land extra money and advice on how to make their business more enticing to investors.

Other Colorado companies selected for next month’s conference include: AmideBio, LLC of Boulder, Biodesix of Boulder, BioFusionary of Wheat Ridge, Boulder Diagnostics of Boulder, EndoShape of Boulder, FitBionic of Boulder, MBio Diagnostics of Boulder, Neuro Assessment Systems of Littleton, Prima-Temp, Inc. of Boulder, Sinopsys Surgical of Boulder, Surefire Medical of Westminster, SuviCa of Boulder, Transverse Medical of Evergreen, Ventria Bioscience of Fort Collins, VetDC Inc. of Fort Collins, and Vivaldi Biosciences of Fort Collins.