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Middle Bit: Cardio Diagnostics receives Biotech Innovation Showcase Award and $5000 prize

Coralville-based Cardio Diagnostics were winners of the Biotech Innovation Showcase Award earlier this week and received a $5,000 grand prize at the annual IowaBio Partnering for Growth Conference.

Cardio Diagnostics is an emerging company founded in 2017 that focuses on human health, to develop and commercialize patent-pending Precision Medicine tools for the prevention of heart disease and stroke. They couple artificial intelligence and DNA-based biosignatures to assess risk, personalize management and monitor response for cardiovascular disease.

The Biotech Innovation Showcase Award and prize is given to the winning emerging biotech company, chosen by a distinguished panel of judges with diverse areas of expertise.

The competition, held during the Partnering for Growth conference, had ten presenting companies developing innovations in various sectors of the biotech industry including biomaterials, advances in food, ag, and plant genetics, progress in animal health, as well as human health and medical technology.

This is the fourth year IowaBio has presented the award.

What else is happening?

Ames Economic Development Commission to celebrate Economic Development Week

The Ames Economic Development Commission (AEDC) is celebrating economic development week in Ames May 6-11. The weeklong celebration emphasizes the importance of economic development and showcases the efforts and initiatives improving business retention, job growth and quality of life for Ames-area residents. 

The week is designed to increase an understanding of economic development’s contribution to the state’s business climate, job retention and growth, the tax base and the overall quality of life in the community.

“We are proud of the work we’ve done here in the Ames community and equally proud to work throughout Story County, including in the Huxley, Story City and Nevada communities,” said Dan Culhane, President and CEO of the AEDC. “This week especially we want to show off all the activity in Story County. There will be a lot of dirt moving this summer and that’s something we’re excited about.”

Middle Bit: Cardio Diagnostics receives Biotech Innovation Showcase Award and $5000 prize | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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