Roundup: QL Demo Day, Millendo Therapeutics, Strata Oncology, More

Millendo Therapeutics, an Ann Arbor-based biopharmaceutical company developing treatments for rare diseases, has initiated a Phase 2b/3 clinical study investigating livoletide (AZP-531) in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome.

The study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the drug on food-related behaviors—primarily hyperphagia, the excessive hunger which is a hallmark of the disease—in Prader-Willi patients. The study, called Zephyr, aims to recruit 150 patients from up to 40 clinical sites in the United States and Europe. For more information on the study, click here.

—The third annual Quicken Loans’ Demo Day is scheduled for June 14 in downtown Detroit. At stake is more than $1 million in startup funding. Applicants, who can be from any sector, must be based in Detroit or be willing to relocate to the city, and their businesses can’t have more than $2 million in revenue or have raised more than $1 million in capital. Fifteen finalists will be chosen by judges, and from that group, seven will win grants, loans, or equity investments in increments that range between $50,000-$300,000.

The deadline for applications to compete is April 22; click here to apply.

Strata Oncology, a precision medicine company headquartered in Ann Arbor, has released an expanded version of its StrataNGS test. The updated test analyzes 500 cancer genes, utilizing DNA and RNA sequencing from tumor samples, to find   clinically actionable biomarkers. StrataNGS is provided free to advanced cancer patients enrolled in the Strata Trial at the company’s partner health systems.

“In addition to providing physicians with all relevant genomic information needed to make an informed treatment decision, the test will help inform new [clinical] trial design and accelerate drug development,” said Scott Tomlins, Strata’s chief medical officer, in a statement.

—Gina Adams, founder of Wareologie, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from a Michigan Economic Development Corporation-supported business accelerator fund. The grant will help the company launch its first product, the Buttons 2 Button magnetic adapter, which retrofits traditional shirts with magnetic closures for people with hand dexterity challenges. Adams said in a press release that she is planning to kick off a crowdfunding campaign in May to raise additional investment capital.

Akervall Technologies has been selected as the state’s top small business in this year’s Michigan Celebrates Small Business competition. Akervall manufactures “ultra-thin, impression-less, custom-fit” mouthguards for the athletic, hospital, and military markets, which the company says are currently sold in roughly 50 countries. Company CEO Sassa Akervall will be on hand to receive the award at a gala to be held on May 8 in Lansing.

—Eight startups led by University of Michigan students racked up more than $100,000 in prize money during the final portion of the Michigan Business Challenge (MBC), a multi-round annual competition hosted by U-M’s Zell Lurie Institute.

New this year was coordination between the MBC and the Michigan Investment Challenge (MIC), a competition in which students play the role of venture capitalists evaluating real investment opportunities. This year, 48 students in the MIC had the opportunity to conduct extensive due diligence across rounds of the MBC in an effort to decide which student startups seemed most promising.

Calcium Solutions won the $25,000 grand prize for its patent-pending device designed to improve the treatment of calcified, atherosclerotic plaques in cardiovascular arteries. Dear Black Women snagged $15,000 for its online community seeking to increase the social capital of black women. For a full list of the winners, click here.

—Troy-based software company Plex Systems has named Todd Kisaberth its chief customer officer. With two decades working in the realm of enterprise software, Kisaberth most recently served as vice president of customer advocacy at Tenable, a cybersecurity firm.

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