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VABeachBio Innovation Challenge

Powered by The Center for Advancing Innovation
Friday, May 4, 2018, 11:45 pm

VABeachBio Innovation Challenge Is On!​

The City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development have partnered with the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) to launch the VABeachBio Innovation Challenge. This is an unprecedented, open innovation challenge that will launch 20 startup companies focused on creating therapeutics, vaccines and devices for veteran-related illnesses including cardiovascular, neurological disorders, diabetes, oncology and regenerative medicine.

“Our mission is to identify breakthrough inventions and maximize their commercial potential,” said Rosemarie Truman, CEO of CAI, a global nonprofit public-private partnership and startup catalyst to commercialize federally- funded research and development. “We have launched hundreds of companies all over the world through our startup challenges, but for the first time ever we are partnering to create a whole challenge around one city. With the VABeachBio Innovation Challenge, entrepreneurs, industry, inventors and academia are coming together to turn some of the most dynamic inventions into successful startup companies. Inventions are being sourced from federal research labs, hospitals and universities.”

“Virginia Beach is proud to partner with the award-winning Center for Advancing Innovation,” said Virginia Beach Economic Development Director Warren D. Harris. “The challenge is the first-of- its kind in the United States. We anticipate the impact of the startups will greatly improve the lives of our veterans in the region and around the world and their families.”

The challenge, to be administered by CAI, will spin out 20 startup companies to bring to market commercially viable veterans’ health-related inventions, many of which began as federally-funded initiatives, but have not yet progressed out of the lab.

Teams entering the challenge have an unparalleled opportunity to receive world-class mentoring, robust accelerator training, prize money, significant media attention and, most importantly, seed funding to launch a company and make an impact on human health. The 20 selected startups are encouraged to have veteran leadership on the teams. Winners will have access to VABeachBio Innovation Park, home to one million square feet of Class A lab, wet lab, office and industrial space that is being developed in Virginia Beach.

CAI has sourced federally-funded, veteran-related inventions and will recruit multi-disciplinary teams to compete in commercializing the most valuable of these inventions. Entrants must submit comprehensive business plans to explain the market potential of the technologies and proposed paths to commercialization, which they will pitch to CAI’s world-class panel of judges, advisors and mentors.

Winners will be selected based on the quality of an elevator speech, business plan, financial model, live presentation and other deliverables. With the assistance and entrepreneurial training from CAI, the selected startups will incorporate their companies and pursue licensing and/or collaboration agreements from the institutions where the inventions were sourced. The startups will be expected to bring the technologies to market or to advance them to the point where they can find commercial partners.

“It’s extremely important for this region to diversify its economy, and bioscience offers a wonderful opportunity for advancing jobs, improving the economy and really taking advantage of the opportunities that our institutions have, including Eastern Virginia Medical School,” said Dr. Jerry L. Nadler, internal medicine chairman and vice dean of research, Eastern Virginia Medical School.

To spin out 20 startups through the VABeachBio Innovation Challenge, CAI will leverage its award-winning challenge-accelerator model. CAI’s notable track record includes spinning out 58 companies from 2013-2016. In November 2016, a CAI oncology spin-out, Oncolinx, was awarded the world’s largest startup investment prize ($1M) by the 43North Startup Competition and the state of New York. In the same month, another CAI oncology spin-out, OneTest Diagnostics, was named one of the top ten hottest startups in the world by CNBC. Overall, CAI startup challenges have created 1,200+ jobs. As a follow up to CAI’s largest startup challenge, the Freedom from Cancer Startup Challenge, the VABeachBio Innovation Challenge has the potential to create as many as 2,000 knowledge-based jobs and amplify the Virginia Beach entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Applications are available at, and the acceptance process will be ongoing.