Astarte Medical Partners to Seek Funding at New Jersey Founders & Funders Event in Quest to Develop Game-Changing Technology for Preterm Infants
Astarte Co-Founders Tammi Jantzen (left) and Tracy Warren will pitch game-changing technology for preterm infants at New Jersey Founders & Funders.
TRENTON (March 30, 2017) – When women-owned and operated Astarte Medical Partners Co-Founder Tracy Warren meets with investors at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA’s) New Jersey Founders & Funders event next month, she’ll offer eye-opening statistics: 380,000 preterm babies are born every year, 55,300 of them with a low-birth weight (3.3 pounds or less). She will note that these babies often face health problems and developmental delays and disabilities.
These challenges are the reason that the founders of Ewing-based Astarte Medical are creating NICUtrition, a clinical decision support platform that helps neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) triage preterm infants most at risk for gut inflammation. The gut is the gateway to proper brain growth and function, which is essential for development of the rest of the body. NICUtrition utilizes a patent-pending algorithm for creating a microbial health score. These analytics leverage existing electronic medical records of both mother and baby, as well as non-invasive urine and fecal markers. Diagnosing inflammation in a timely fashion will enable NICU teams to provide optimal personalized nutrition and care, thereby improving outcomes.
Warren and Astarte Co-Founder Tammi Jantzen, both investors-turned-entrepreneurs, started the company along with Kate Gregory, RN, PhD, a top nurse scientist in the field of preterm infant research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston.
Astarte Medical Co-Founder Kate Gregory is a leader in preterm infant research
“There are 380,000 preterm infants born every year in the United States, and nearly 15 percent of them are born at a low birth weight,” Warren said. “Our goal is to create a paradigm shift in preterm infant care by providing real-time monitoring of infants’ gut health, the next frontier in neonatal health.”
In addition to being Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer of Astarte Medical respectively, Warren and Jantzen also head Astarte Ventures, a venture capital firm in Ewing that has spent the past three years dedicated to investment and innovation in women’s and children’s health. The duo met Gregory during a nationwide tour of investment opportunities and decided that founding Astarte Medical was an opportunity too valuable and impactful to pass up.
During New Jersey Founders & Funders, Astarte Medical, whose founders have already personally invested substantially in the company, will be seeking angel and seed-stage investments. Held semi-annually at the EDA’s Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies, New Jersey Founders & Funders enables early-stage businesses like Astarte Medical to meet with potential investors in 10-minute, one-on-one “speed dating” sessions to discuss strategy, business models and funding opportunities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and qualifying companies are admitted on a first come basis. To apply for a future event, visit https://application.njeda.com/tls/.
Warren expressed her appreciation for the fact that the EDA has been helping her company by providing introductions to key players within the healthcare industry, such as members of the New Jersey Hospital Association.
“The EDA understands the needs of emerging technology companies like Astarte Medical, which is why we not only connect entrepreneurs with the access they need to capital, but also offer guidance and support any way we can to help these companies continue to grow,” EDA CEO Melissa Orsen said.
Astarte Medical is gaining recognition for its cutting-edge technology. The Ewing-based company was one of 10 finalists at the Impact Pediatric Health Pitch Competition during South by Southwest® (SXSW®) in Austin earlier this month. SXSW® is an annual conference designed to bring together innovators from around the world in areas such as music, interactive entertainment, and technology.
@NJEDATech spoke with Warren about her company’s experience and its plans for the future:
Why did you choose to grow your company here in New Jersey?
Tammi and I have worked and developed our careers in New Jersey since 2000. We have started and invested in numerous companies here and enjoy a strong network of investors, companies, executives and professional organizations in the region. The fact that all three of Astarte’s founders live in Mercer County helps us with the challenge of work-life balance.
What is your Astarte Medical Partners biggest success to date?
We’ve been fortunate to take advantage of our network and create an experienced team that’s unrivaled for a company at our stage. Joining our female “triple threat” team of founders is Joe Studholme, founder of Princeton Integrated Rx Analytics. Joe is our chief technology officer and leader of our dynamic development team. We are passionate, credentialed and have channeled our energy into Astarte Medical to build a world-class product that will make a difference in the lives of our nation’s most precious patients – preterm infants.
What’s on the horizon for Astarte Medical Partners?
As with any start-up we have clear milestones for value creation. We have an ongoing preterm infant study at BWH with Dr. Gregory that will yield tremendous data to measure this important aspect of the health of preterm infants. We have initiated discussions with select hospitals for piloting our product, NICUtrition Guidance, and continue to seek new partners, particularly with New Jersey-based hospitals or medical groups with level III or level IV NICUs.