Four New Orleans life-sciences startups will pitch their business ideas to investors Nov. 18 in a competition for the $25,000 top prize in the third annual BioChallenge, the New Orleans BioInnovation Center announced Friday.

The finalists are:

  • AxoSim Technologies. The contract research firm’s “nerve-on-a-chip” provides a faster, more efficient alternative to animal testing for early-stage drug development.
  • Crescentium. The company’s GemView LM gives physicians a continuous view of the larynx, trachea or lungs without blocking the patient’s airway during surgery.
  • ORA Estuaries’ OysterBreak grows oyster reefs into natural breakwaters that help prevent coastal erosion, filter the water, and grow faster than the sea level rise due to climate change.
  • Taxor Diagnostics. It is developing a diagnostic test that predicts whether different chemotherapy treatments will be successful for a patient’s specific type of breast cancer.

The finalist selections were based on the strength of their executive summaries in the first round of competition. Eighteen Louisiana firms submitted applications.

“These four finalists are excellent representatives of the numerous early-stage technology companies being created in Louisiana because of our excellent research universities, public and private support, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” said Rhonda Melancon, executive director of LouisianaBio, the state’s not-for-profit trade association representing its broad biotechnology industry. “In a state that is strong in life sciences, agriculture, energy, engineering and IT, there are endless possibilities for creating new technologies and new companies in Louisiana. We congratulate these companies for advancing in the BioChallenge competition.”

The BioChallenge pitch competition will take place during Innovation Louisiana 2014, a life-sciences entrepreneurship conference held Nov. 17 and 18 at the BioInnovation Center in New Orleans.