Now in its 19th year, the BIO CEO & Investor Conference is one of the largest investor conferences focused on established and emerging publicly traded and select private biotech companies. With a mission to support industry-wide success, the conference offers a broad and unbiased view of investment opportunities. BIO CEO sets itself apart by providing a neutral forum where institutional investors, industry analysts, and senior biotechnology executives have the opportunity to shape the future investment landscape of the biotechnology industry. This year’s conference was no exception, as it featured issue-oriented and educational sessions focused on trending therapeutic areas and key business issues, company presentations, one-on-one meetings, andnetworking opportunities. This year’s event also featured the return of the Buzz of BIO competition, which seeks to recognize the most innovative companies in the biotech sector looking to take their product to the next phase. The winners join more than 170 early and late-stage private biotech companies and emerging public companies who presented at the event. The competition nominates companies in three categories: (1) Public Therapeutic Biotech, (2) Private Therapeutic Biotech, and (3) Diagnostics and Beyond (a new category being introduced this year). Nominations take place over a two week period, and the top ten companies in each category are named as finalists. The list of companies are presented to the public to vote, and each company with the most votes in each category wins. OneMedNews profiled this year’s finalists and overall winners: Buzz of BIO Winners Public Therapeutic Biotech Winner: Agile Therapeutics, Inc (NASDAQ: AGRX) – Agile Therapeutics is a forward-thinking women’s healthcare company dedicated to fulfilling the unmet health needs of today’s women. Agile’s product candidates are designed to provide women with contraceptive options that offer freedom from taking a daily pill, without committing to a longer-acting method. Their lead product candidate, Twirla (or AG200-15) is designed as a once-weekly prescription contraceptive patch that recently completed Phase 3 trials. The company also boasts a strong pipeline of other transdermal contraceptive products, such as AG200-ER, (a regimen designed to allow a woman to extend the length of her cycle) and AG200-SP (a regimen designed to provide a shortened hormone-free interval) and AG890 (a progestin-only contraceptive patch intended for use by women who are unable or unwilling to take estrogen). For more on Agile, visit the company’s website. Private Therapeutic Bioetch Winner: Centrexion Therapeutics, Corp. – Centrexion is a company focused on advancing the treatment of chronic moderate to severe pain with one of the largest exclusively pain-focused pipelines of non-opioid therapies in active development. The company recognizes the needs of over a quarter of a billion patients living with chronic pain worldwide, and aims to develop new, safer and more effective therapies that overcome the limitations and challenges associated with current pain treatments. Founded by world-renowned leaders in drug development and well-funded by key investors, Centrexion is building a pain treatment powerhouse to address the substantial and growing global chronic pain epidemic. Their most advanced therapeutic, CNTX-4975, is a based on a proprietary STRATI technology that provides rapid onset, high degree and long duration of relief from localized moderate to severe pain. CNTX-4975 is currently in late-stage development for the treatment of moderate to severe pain from Morton’s neuroma and osteoarthritis. It is also in Phase 3 clinical trials for canine osteoarthritis pain in pet dogs. For more on Contrexion, visit the company’s website. Diagnostics and Beyond Winner: Oncocyte (NYSE MKT: OCX) – OncoCyte is primarily focused on the development and commercialization of novel, non-invasive blood and urine (“liquid biopsy”) diagnostic tests for the early detection of cancer to improve health outcomes through earlier diagnoses, to reduce the cost of care through the avoidance of more costly diagnostic procedures, including invasive biopsy and cystoscopic procedures, and to improve the quality of life for cancer patients. While current biopsy tests use invasive surgical procedures to provide tissue samples in order to determine if a tumor is benign or malignant, OncoCyte is developing a next generation of diagnostic tests that will be based on liquid biopsies using blood or urine samples. OncoCyte’s pipeline products are intended to be confirmatory diagnostics for detecting lung, bladder and breast cancer. The company’s diagnostic tests are being developed using proprietary sets of genetic and protein markers that differentially express in specific types of cancer. For more on OncoCyte, visit the company’s website. Buzz of BIO Finalists Altimmune, Inc. – Altimmune is a clinical stage immunotherapeutics company focused on the development of products to stimulate robust and durable immune responses for the prevention and treatment of disease. The company has two proprietary platform technologies, RespirVec and Densigen, each of which has been shown to activate the immune system in distinctly different ways than traditional vaccines. Using these technologies, Altimmune has developed three novel clinical stage product candidates that potentially represent an entirely new approach to harnessing the immune system. The most advanced product candidate, NasoVAX, is a Phase 2-ready intranasally-delivered recombinant influenza vaccine offering broad and rapid protection with potential for significant advantages over traditional flu vaccines. For more on Altimmune, visit the company’s website. Arcturus Therapeutics – Founded in 2013 and based in San Diego, Arcturus Therapeutics, Inc. is an RNA medicines company with enabling technologies called UNA Oligomer chemistry and LUNAR nanoparticle delivery. The company’s RNA therapeutics platform can be applied toward all types of RNA medicines including small interfering RNA, messenger RNA, antisense RNA, microRNA and gene editing therapeutics. Arcturus’ proprietary UNA technology can be used to target any gene in the human genome, as well as viral genes, and other species for therapeutic purposes. The company’s involvement in the development of RNA therapeutics has led to collaborations and license agreements with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, Inc. For more on Arcturus, visit the company’s website. Caladrius Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLBS) – Caladrius is advancing a proprietary platform technology for immunomodulation by pioneering the use of T regulatory cells as an innovative therapy for recent onset type 1 diabetes. Their product candidate, CLBS03, is the subject of an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial and has been granted Fast Track designation by the FDA. The company’s PCT subsidiary is a leading development and manufacturing partner to the cell therapy industry. PCT works with its clients to overcome the fundamental challenges of cell therapy manufacturing by providing a wide range of innovative services including product and process development, GMP manufacturing, engineering and automation, cell and tissue processing, logistics, storage and distribution, as well as expert consulting and regulatory support. For more on Caladrius, visit the company’s website. ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTRV) – ContraVir is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies with a specific focus on developing a potentially curative therapy for hepatitis B virus. The company is developing two novel anti-HBV compounds with complementary mechanisms of action: Tenofovir Exalidex, a highly potent analog of the successful antiviral drug tenofovir currently in Phase 2a, which has demonstrated the potential for low, once a day dosing, potentially reducing renal and bone side effects; and CRV431, a next generation cyclophilin inhibitor with a unique structure that increases its potency and selective index against HBV. For more information visit the company’s website. ProLung – ProLung’s mission is to make a difference in time for lung cancer patients. The company has established itself as a leader in innovative predictive analytics technology and non-invasive biomarkers for the risk stratification of lung cancer. ProLung develops, tests, and commercializes solutions which may shorten the time to diagnosis and expand the therapeutic window for lung cancer patients. Their predictive analytics platform for lung cancer risk stratification is approved for investigational use only in the US. Their product, the EPN Scan, uses an established bio-conductance technology – similar to an EEG or EKG, to risk stratify patients who are likely to have lung lesions suspicious for cancer. The patented computerized scan can be used in conjunction with Low-Dose CT screening to evaluate masses identified by these scans for high or low risk of malignancy.For more on ProLung, visit the company’s website. RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: RXII) – RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NASDAQ: RXII) is a clinical-stage company developing innovative therapeutics that address significant unmet medical needs. Building on the pioneering discovery of RNAi, scientists at RXi Company have harnessed the naturally occurring RNAi process, which has the ability to “silence” or down-regulate the expression of a specific gene that may be overexpressed in a disease condition. RXi developed a robust RNAi therapeutic platform, including self-delivering RNA compounds, that have the ability to highly selectively block the expression of any target in the genome, thus providing applicability to many therapeutic areas. For more on RXi, visit the company’s website. Salarius Pharmaceuticals – Salarius Pharmaceuticals is developing targeted therapies to treat pediatric and other cancers, including prostate cancer. Their lead compound, SP-2577, is a reversible inhibitor of LSD1, an enzyme involved in abnormal epigenetic promotion of cancer. SP-2577 works by reversing a faulty genomic process that promotes cancer, allowing the company to initially target the treatment of Ewing’s sarcoma. SP-2577 represents a potential paradigm shift in the treatment of pediatric cancer and may also apply to hormonal cancers, such as prostate, breast and ovarian cancer, and perhaps other conditions like leukemia. The company is scheduled to begin clinical trials in Q1 2017 by testing patients suffering from Ewing sarcoma and castration resistant prostate cancer. For more on Salarius, visit the company’s website. Symic Bio, Inc. – Symic Bio is a clinical-stage biotech company developing a new category of therapeutics thatare matrix regulators. Matrix regulators target the non-cellular component of tissue and enable new ways to affect disease and healing processes with potential applications in a wide variety of indications. Symic Bio currently has two clinical candidates, SB-030 for the treatment of critical limb ischemia and SB-061 directed at disease modification in the treatment of osteoarthritis. In addition, Symic Bio is investigating applications in the areas of fibrosis, oncology and diseases of the central nervous system. For more on Symic Bio, visit the company’s website. Universal Stabilization Technologies, Inc. – Universal Stabilization Technologies, Inc. (UST) is a service and product development company. UST will first focus on the development of ambient temperature stable platelets and erythrocytes. The company’s VitriLife service provides industrial scale preservation and needle-free delivery device formulation services for the development of thermostable biopharmaceuticals. VitriLife is an effective, scalable technology for the preservation of sensitive bacteria, viruses, biopharmaceuticals and highly sensitive small molecule pharmaceuticals at room or higher temperatures by desiccation and subsequent vitrification. Molecular mobility in the glass state is arrested, ensuring long-term stability of the preserved material, even at elevated temperatures. For more on UST and VitriLife, visit the company’s website.