VoxCell BioInnovation are in the New Ventures BC Competition top 11
The biotech company’s recent run now includes a spot in B.C.’s grandest startup competition.
The New Ventures BC Competition is a fixture of the province’s tech community. Starting in 2000, it has a nice synchronicity with the calendar as it enters its 22nd iteration. Yet, even as a young adult, New Ventures BC is still experiencing some firsts. For the only time in that over-two-decade history, there was a tie. The finalists in the competition make up an odd-numbered top 11 as a result. So, no, that wasn’t a typo in the headline.
One of those 11 is Victoria’s own VoxCell BioInnovation. VoxCell aims to provide a new platform for oncology drug screening. Its 3D-printed, human-like tissues are used for drug testing, reducing the need for animal and human experimentation and bringing lifesaving therapies to market quicker. The company is initially focusing on four types of cancer: breast, ovarian, lung, and prostate. The standard models will allow drug testing for chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation enhancers.
The stats surrounding these drugs are dire, though. According to VoxCell, 95 percent of oncology drugs fail to get to market. The company’s ability to produce human-like tissue models that mimic the cancer environment provides a solution that addresses the blockage in getting these drugs into pharmacies. VoxCell’s innovation, ultimately, will improve recovery for humans.
The VoxCell Team is at @CollisionHQ! During the week we will pitch and connect with potential partners and investors! #collisionconf#startup#cancer#bioprinting
— VoxCell BioInnovation (@VoxcellBio)
Jun 21, 2022
This work is starting to get noticed. VoxCell has already gained an impressive string of accolades, grants, and recognition. The team has presented at prestigious conferences such as BIO International Convention, and Collision. The company was also among the top 10 in the Health Impact Investor Challenge by TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good and Spring Activator. It even took home the People's Choice Award.
With that recognition has come capital for VoxCell. The team received $20,000 through Desjardins GoodSpark Grant, awarded to the top 150 startup companies in Canada. It was also selected as one of the 30 companies to present at HerStory 2022 by The51, where the company placed first and won an investment.
“Financial Feminism to me,” VoxCell founder and CEO Dr. Karolina Valente illustrates, “goes beyond just believing in the financial equability of women: it means providing financial opportunities to an extremely capable group that is currently receiving less than three percent of all venture capital. It means creating a change in the way money is invested.”
The team also received a grant of seed funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). Supporting early-stage companies is a key strategy for advancing opportunities of the net zero economy, according to SDTC president and CEO Leah Lawrence. “These seed funding recipients show us the next generation of sustainable solutions that global markets want and need,” she said in a statement. “SDTC is proud to support these entrepreneurs throughout their journey to commercialization.”
Now, certainly, VoxCell will refocus on the recent journey through the New Ventures BC 2022 competition. The company and its ten other co-finalists can look forward to the upcoming finale of the contest. In the fourth and final round, each of the 11 businesses will pitch to a judging panel of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and investors in early October for a chance to win $250,000 in cash and prizes. One of the judges is Victoria native Rasool Rayani, an angel Investor and past New Ventures BC Competition winner with Metalogix in 2002.