HealthTech Arkansas, VC firm partner on biotherapeutics accelerator

HealthTech Arkansas and SymBiosis Capital Management announced Wednesday (Oct. 19) that they would collaborate on a biotherapeutics-focused accelerator program called BioAR Trial.

According to a news release, the startup program will help biotherapeutics companies in the late pre-clinical stages of development bring groundbreaking therapies to market faster while increasing Arkansans’ access to cutting-edge clinical care and innovative medicines.

Founded in 2021, SymBiosis is a venture capital investment firm in Bentonville with several of its leadership team and long-term investors living in Northwest Arkansas, including managing partner Chidozie Ugwumba. The firm invests in groundbreaking medicines across disease areas, financing stages and geography, with a focus on programs in or about to enter human trials. It manages a portfolio of more than 30 investments and has significant, long-term capital commitments to fund future investments.

“Our goal at SymBiosis is to make investments that help bring innovative therapeutics to market to improve and save lives,” Ugwumba said in the release. “We are pleased to partner with HealthTech Arkansas to make our shared vision of BioAR Trial a reality. We expect this to be the first in a series of initiatives that help transform Arkansas into a national leader in healthcare. We are excited for what we anticipate will be a strong response to this unique opportunity and to begin working with the participating companies to advance their biotherapeutics.”

The application for BioAR Trial is open through Jan. 15, 2023, at The BioAR Trial selection committee comprises representatives from partner health systems and clinical trials sites who will review applications and identify ten finalists. The selection committee will choose the five participating companies in March 2023. The first cohort of five companies will begin in April 2023.

BioAR Trial’s partner hospitals and health systems are:

  • Arkansas Children’s Research Institute
  • Arkansas Heart Hospital
  • Baptist Health
  • CHI St. Vincent
  • Highlands Oncology Group
  • Bernards Healthcare
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

HealthTech Arkansas is in its fifth year of administering accelerator programs focused exclusively on provider engagement with early-stage companies. It works with both Arkansas-based and out-of-state companies.

“Partnering with SymBiosis to establish BioAR Trial is an important next step towards achieving our goal of driving innovation for Arkansas healthcare providers through our accelerators and internal innovation programming,” said HealthTech Arkansas director Jeff Stinson. “We are pleased to couple our healthcare accelerator’s ability to provide high-quality clinical trial sites for promising early-stage companies with SymBiosis’ deep expertise in helping biotherapeutic companies to fulfill their vital missions.”