Winners of the 2019 President’s Startup Challenge Announced, as The Pistoia Alliance Looks to the Future



Boston, 30 October, 2019 – The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, has announced the winners of the 2019 President’s Startup Challenge at its annual member conference in Boston. The grand prize winner is Valtari Bio and the audience vote winner is named as Statice; the two were selected from five finalists and shortlisted from more than 30 entries received from around the world. The annual US conference saw more than 200 delegates from 150 Pistoia Alliance members gather to hear industry leaders speak on a range of topics. This included a keynote address from Dr Steve Arlington, President of The Pistoia Alliance, in which he talked about the Alliance’s plans to help members navigate the next decade of change.


“All our finalists are an excellent demonstration of how the life sciences industry continues to innovate. I congratulate Valtari Bio and Statice, and look forward to seeing how all five startups impact our industry for the better,” commented Dr Arlington. “At this year’s conference, we look back on 10 successful years of bringing life science stakeholders together and look forward to the decade ahead. All of us in the life science community have the potential to significantly improve global health, but we must work together to make this a reality. Technology continues to drive transformation, and the global economic and political backdrop remain in flux – collaboration is crucial to overcoming the challenges we may face while realising our goal.”


Conference keynotes were delivered by speakers from members of The Pistoia Alliance, from a range of organisations, including charities and not-for-profit organisations. These included: Lisa Shipley, VP Digital & Analytics Technology, Merck; Philip Tagari, VP Research, Amgen; Richard Wyse, Director of R&D, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust; Alice Pomponio, Founder and MD, Accendo; Caroline Cake, COO, HDR UK; Robert Coughlin, CEO, Massachusetts Biotech Council. 


Dr Arlington continued, “Our annual conference gives members the opportunity to not only meet with their peers, but also hear from the highest quality of speakers on topics that directly affect the life sciences industry – from the Lab of the Future, to policy and regulation. The immediate feedback we received from attendees is that the presentations were hugely beneficial to them. The choice of workshops also offered members the chance to hear from experts on everything from digital medicine to quantum computing.” 


The President’s Challenge is an annual award that rewards informatics and technology focused startups aiming to impact the way life science R&D is performed, bringing their solutions to the attention of the wider life sciences and healthcare industry. The grand prize winner, Valtari Bio, was selected by a panel of seven industry judges, and the audience vote winner, Statice, was chosen by The Pistoia Alliance’s members, following a live ‘shark tank’ pitch. All five finalists attended a support and coaching day with Pistoia Alliance members; the two winners each receive $15,000, and six months mentorship from a leading industry expert. All finalists receive $5,000, and one year’s membership to The Pistoia Alliance. More detail on the five finalists follows:


  • Valtari Bio (Morgantown, West Virginia): Developing a blood test to aid in the rapid triage of suspected stroke patients; its ReST™ (Rapid evaluation Stroke Triage) test will help clinicians with or without stroke expertise make a confident initial stroke versus no stroke decision.
  • Statice (Berlin, Germany): Offers a data anonymization solution to enable businesses to stay innovative with smart synthetic data; empowers companies to work with complex data in a privacy-compliant manner, and support data-driven innovation. 
  • Arctoris (Oxford, UK): Provides fully automated experiments-as-a-service to researchers worldwide; allowing researchers and biotech entrepreneurs to design and remotely execute advanced cellular and molecular biology research experiments.
  • LabVoice (North Carolina, USA): The first voice assistant designed specifically for everyday laboratory needs; gives users a common human-lab interaction, leaving them hands free to focus on the science, rather than taking manual notes or using instrumentation. 
  • (Warsaw, Poland): Provides software that designs ways to make organic molecules; based on cutting-edge AI, it uses chemical datasets to propose novel synthesis pathways within a minute for typical drug-like molecules. 


Dr Patrice Milos, Co-Founder and CEO of Medley Genomics, and a previous Winner of the President’s Challenge, said, “As a startup aiming to accelerate precision cancer therapies through deep data analytics to better understand the patient, we were honoured to be recognised by such an important organisation transforming healthcare across the biopharma industry, as The Pistoia Alliance.”


For more information on The Pistoia Alliance, please visit:




About The Pistoia Alliance:

The Pistoia Alliance is a global, not-for-profit members’ organization made up of life science companies, technology and service providers, publishers, and academic groups working to lower barriers to innovation in life science and healthcare R&D. It was conceived in 2007 and incorporated in 2009 by representatives of AstraZeneca, GSK, Novartis and Pfizer who met at a conference in Pistoia, Italy. Its projects transform R&D through pre-competitive collaboration. It overcomes common R&D obstacles by identifying the root causes, developing standards and best practices, sharing pre-competitive data and knowledge, and implementing technology pilots. There are currently over 150 member companies; members collaborate on projects that generate significant value for the worldwide life sciences R&D community, using The Pistoia Alliance’s proven framework for open innovation.


Media Contacts:

Spark Communications 

+44 207 436 0420 


Carmen Nitsche

The Pistoia Alliance

+001 510-589-3355

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