New M1 MedTech accelerator opens applications for first cohort

Proxima Clinical Research founder and Executive Chair Larry Lawson
Proxima Clinical Research founder and Executive Chair Larry Lawson [Photo courtesy of Proxima CRO]

The new M1 MedTech accelerator is now taking applications from early-stage medical device developers for its first fall cohort.

The program — sponsored by contract research organization Proxima Clinical Research, based in Houston’s Texas Medical Center — said it has closed its first fund and wants “five to seven of the most promising early-stage medical device companies” for the three-month program.

Houston-based M1 MedTech will select companies this summer for investments of up to $100,000 in cash and in-kind services. The program’s coaching includes “a curated educational program, interactive workshops where participants can continually build out specific company deliverables, and tailored one-on-one mentoring,” M1 MedTech said in a news release.

“Our program is unique in that it combines acceleration capital, company building expertise, and the regulatory and clinical services of a top CRO,” said Proxima CRO founder Executive Chair Larry Lawson, an M1 MedTech investor and venture partner, said. “Access to the M1 founders’ network, both within and outside of the Texas Medical Center, sets these companies up for success. There’s no better group to build a medtech company with, period.”

Other sponsors lending their expertise include Greenlight Guru, Medrio, Galen Data, and Merge Medical Device Studio. Applications will remain open at the M1 MedTech website until May 31, 2022.

Proxima Clinical Research CEO Kevin Coker
Proxima Clinical Research CEO Kevin Coker [Photo courtesy of Proxima CRO]

“This is a fantastic opportunity for an early-stage company to receive mentoring and guidance from a group of established individuals in the life sciences industry,” Proxima CRO CEO and M1 MedTech Principal Kevin Coker said. “The hands-on 12-week workshop curriculum will cover a variety of topics including company formation and management, preclinical and clinical testing, regulatory approval, among other necessary guidance as their companies begin to mature. We are excited to aid the founders in rapidly advancing toward commercialization and prepare them for critical early investment stages.”

The focus is on companies developing Class II and Class III medical devices, said M1 MedTech Director of Programs Sean Bittner.

M1 MedTech Director of Programs Sean Bittner
M1 MedTech Director of Programs Sean Bittner [Photo courtesy of M1 MedTech]

“The medical device companies that fit best with our program are in pre-seed or seed-stage, have completed a customer evaluation, know the issues they want to address, have not progressed far enough through the pipeline to have communicated with the FDA or completed preclinical or clinical testing,” he said in the release. “We would like the companies to have completed preliminary testing but have not gone too far into the product development phase.”

The program is meant to help first-time founders with scientific and medical expertise, but no experience taking a regulated product to market or building a business, said Proxima CRO Director of Regulatory Affairs and M1 Principle Isabella Schmitt.

Proxima CRO Director of Regulatory Affairs and M1 Principle Isabella Schmitt
Proxima CRO Director of Regulatory Affairs and M1 Principle Isabella Schmitt [Photo courtesy of Proxima CRO]

“After working with so many companies at various stages of this journey to market, both with Proxima CRO and with accelerators from across the country, we realized there was a gap that needed to be filled for these rising founders,” she said. “They not only need regulatory and clinical assistance from experts with hundreds of success stories in this field, we found they also need assistance with design, manufacturing, business, IP and so much more. These rising founders need to know what they don’t know; so, we put a lot of thought into what emerging companies and rising executives really need, and from that, we built the M1 curriculum.”