New Orleans digital health company RDnote has won the $25,000 grand prize in the 2017 BioChallenge business pitch competition for Louisiana life science startups.

Finalists, which also included Instapath, Obatala Sciences and Ready Responders, made pitches in the competition held Wednesday by the New Orleans BioInnovation Center at the Joy Theater.

RDnote also received a $25,000 investment prize from the New Orleans BioFund, a micro venture capital fund and subsidiary of the BioInnovation Center.

RDnote combines nutrition and technology to help health care providers with customized nutritional care for patients at risk for chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, to improve health outcomes. The company already is working with Lafayette General Health.

“RDnote will have an incredible impact on improving how nutrition is integrated into care for patients in Louisiana,” said Aaron Miscenich, president of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

Audience members selected Instapath via a text vote to win the $2,500 Audience Favorite Award for its efforts in improving biopsies. Every year, one in five U.S. patients receiving a biopsy to diagnose cancer will need to repeat the procedure because of inadequate biopsy quality. Instapath’s solution can provide an exact picture of a whole biopsy within seconds, ensuring biopsy quality, shortening procedure times, preventing repeated procedures and speeding life-saving interventions, officials said.

Among the other two finalists, tissue-engineering company Obatala is developing a "fat-on-a-chip" technology for use in drug discovery. Its screening tool is designed to help academic and pharmaceutical researchers identify more effective drug compounds and reduce the time, money and efforts required in testing potential drugs to treat obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases.

Ready Responders develops networks of emergency medical technicians and health professionals to respond to 911 medical calls in partnership with ambulance services. With rapid deployment and telehealth technology, Ready Responders speeds response times, directs patients to suitable places for care and reduces ambulance transports and use of overcrowded emergency rooms, officials said.

New Orleans BioInnovation Center's BioChallenge is an effort to support new businesses that will generate jobs and economic growth in Louisiana. The competition has awarded more than $175,000 in funding prizes to regional companies since it was launched in 2012.

The BioInnovation Center offers office and lab facilities, educational events, business consulting and the New Orleans BioFund capital program to emerging startups as they work to bring new technologies to the market. From cancer treatment to water management, these include diagnostic tools, drugs, medical devices, health information technology platforms, and clean technologies with the potential for addressing a range of medical and environmental problems.