Allyson Bower-Willner succeeding Tiffany Wilson as chair of Medtech Women AdvanSE at Southeast Life Sciences

During the 2020 Medtech Women AdvanSE of Southeast Life Sciences (formerly Medtech Women@SEMDA) virtual event on September 8, 2020, Founder, Chair and GCMI CEO Tiffany Wilson will pass the gavel to Allyson Bower-Willner. Willner, Marketing Director for Strategic Accounts with Molynlycke Health Care, has served on the MW@S board since its inception in 2016.

“We founded Medtech Women to serve as a strong advisory network for mentoring and professional development for female professionals and innovators across the medical technology industry in the Southeast,” Wilson said. “There is a meaningful gender gap in the C Suite. We know this. At the same time we are seeing more female technologists — doctors and engineers — with their names on patents, but we are not seeing a corresponding jump in the number of women involved in medtech startups.”

“Our goal is to continue our work making the southeast a world-class region for the medical device industry,” Willner said. “Medtech Women can play an integral role in that mission by enhancing the opportunities for female inventors, entrepreneurs, and other industry professionals in the southeast.”

Since its inception, Medtech Women@SEMDA has evolved to include an advisory board of 20 medtech and life science executives, physicians and successful entrepreneurs. The group has added educational programs, webinars and is now positioned to expand its capabilities and reach in large part thanks to the merging of the Southeastern Medical Device Association (SEMDA) with SE BIO in the new combined entity Southeast Life Sciences.

“The convergence of medical technologies, including devices, with bioscience technologies including drugs, data, digital and combination products necessitates the convergence of these entities,” former SEMDA Executive Director and now Southeast Life Science Executive Director Jason Rupp said. “In order to respond to the combined needs of stakeholders in both ecosystems, the time arrived for SEBIO and SEMDA to come together under one roof.”

“We have given Medtech Women life and validated its reason for being: creation of opportunities for women in medtech and life sciences for growth, leadership and professional development,” Wilson says. “Shifting from start-up mode into growth mode and maturity is an exciting time for any organization, particularly in an ever evolving industry like medtech and the life sciences.” 

“Thanks to the chair and the board’s leadership to date, and the remarkable environment in which we all find ourselves, the impact potential for Medtech Women AdvanSE is high,” Willner said. “We encourage all members of the southeast life science ecosystem to engage with us. Registering for the 5th annual Medtech Women AdvanSE virtual conference is an excellent place to start.” 


Those interested in serving on a committee like programming, conference, sponsorship or other should contact Jason Rupp at or (202) 438-4960

Where are they now? We caught up with 2019 PitchRounds winner RCE Technology’s CEO Atandra Burman

Atandra and RCE will be presenting June 16 at 2:20 during the Southeast Life Sciences Virtual PitchRounds

When we spoke last year RCE CEO Atandra Burman told us, “Our goal in 2019 is clinical validation and submit to FDA this fall. As our pilots materialize towards key insights, we look forward to setting up 2020 for commercialization efforts. we are currently raising $800k to support our immediate needs in completing our compliance testing and FDA sub, as well as supporting clinical pilots for 2019.”

RCE Technologies is following a commercialization pathway to reduce major adverse cardiovascular events and healthcare costs via instant risk stratification and remote monitoring via “non-invasively detection of cardiac protein biomarkers. Continuous streams of these early clinical data points enable our cloud based AI models in detecting characteristic learned patterns of early changes in the heart, thereby empowering clinicians in making an instant early assessment and proactive intervention”

How did the balance of the year unfold for the 2019 SEMDA PitchRounds winner? Atandra recently shared an update with us.

“2019 was a successful year for RCE in product innovation both with the ECG wearable vest and Non-invasive protein sensor,” Atandra said. “We successfully completed our pilot studies for the ECG wearable vest along with product certification requirements. We also demonstrated early feasibility of our non-invasive protein sensor in cardiac biomarker measurements. 

“On the funding side, we completed a round of promissory notes enabling us to fast track our clinical feasibility track.” 

What have you learned in the past 12 months about fundraising?

“Our focus on physician investors has been highly productive. It seems the market has been waiting for this innovation for years. Many physicians we have spoken to, including our investors, expressed some surprise this hadn’t been done yet.

“Our studies have demonstrated positive outcomes, allowing those physicians to extrapolate the clinical and economic value propositions by using our technology in present workflows. We intend to publish some of those outcomes data by year’s end.”

Have you shifted course at all?

“Not fundamentally. We solved the first problem, which was wearables to collect non-invasive biomarkers. Now we are solving our second problem, to conduct clinical validation efforts and collect data from diverse demographics for accurate AI prediction models.”

“The feedback from the clinical pilots has been well received by key opinion leaders who have told us they have not seen anything like it. We are able to demonstrate early feasibility of our non-invasive protein sensor in measurement of cardiac biomarkers allowing risk stratification of chest pain patients. We see the market in point of care diagnostics in the hospitals and urgent care clinics.

“We are currently conducting multi-site clinical trials of the non-invasive protein sensor. We expect those trials to conclude in September. We reinforced our lean product development and kept our focal efforts on track towards our vision. We are much closer to ‘product market fit’ than we were 12 months ago.”

What is the current status of your FDA submission and market entry?

“We are currently working closely with the FDA on both of our submissions this year, including fast tracking the non-invasive device submission this year. We will use a combination of partnerships and salesforce for hospital and outpatient clinic device sales.

“Employing a partnership model drives initial revenue with lower investment in salesforce out the gates. This allows us to assess the market segments to establish a product market before scaling. This also justifies spend on data collection efforts for our AI models that are core to our value provision and mission.”

What does the balance of 2020 hold for RCE?

“We will continue clinical validation and market development efforts for our wearables, AI data collection efforts, and formalizing our regulatory pathways with anticipated product launch in 2021.”

What is particularly advantageous about innovating in the southeast, particularly Atlanta? 

“There is outstanding access to “voice of the customer” and patient populations for clinical trials through the robust networks of hospitals, health systems and research institutions like Emory University, and Wellstar Health System. Advancing our technology requires significant time spent with both patients and physicians. Georgia Tech’s ATDC facilities, and access to highly qualified local services in product prototyping and quality verification has been advantageous as well. Lastly, low cost of operations here compared to places like Boston and San Diego, extends the capital runway, and the opportunity to accomplish more with less.”

Insights and full recording from our recent Southeast Life Science investor panel and webinar

On Tuesday, April 13, Southeast Life Sciences convened a panel of industry leading medtech and life science investors to discuss how activities have shifted and what the mid-long term ramifications will mean to early stage innovators. 

Bob Crutchfield moderated the discussion including insights from:

Gerry Brunk of Lumira Ventures, Joe Cook III of Mountain Group Partners and Kyparissia Sirinakis of Epidarex Capital.

A few of the top takeaways included:

  • There are, and will continue to be, significant disruptions in GLP preclinical work required to achieve an IND or entry into clinical trials. 
  • New medical technologies with ‘capex’ implications for hospital budgets will be at a significant funding and commercialization disadvantage for at least 12 to 24 months.
  • Telehealth and remote monitoring should be poised well for structural changes including adoption and reimbursement.
  • High net worth family offices have plenty of capital to invest. They will ‘lean in’ on increasing stakes in existing investments and in sectors or stages least likely to be impacted. The telehealth genie, for example, will not likely go ‘back into its lamp.’ Opportunity: What is going to really make it sing? 
  • Innovators need to adjust timelines to reflect new realities and resources required. Runway extension is the current name of the game, especially for technologies requiring clinical studies. Break up your pathway into ‘bite size’ milestones and discontinue using any pre-COVID-19 valuation and structure analogs.
  • Keep the conversation going. Investors are now considering technologies they may have passed on previously. They are continuing to do their due diligence. Many are focused more highly on solutions so transformative on patient benefit and cost reduction than they ever have been before. Early stage companies’ funding rounds will take longer, but great companies will always find funding.
  • The translational aspect of new medtech and life science innovations needs to be stronger than ever before.

We encourage everyone, especially early stage medtech and life science companies, to give the full session a watch or listen HERE.

Paycheck Protection Program Starts today – April 3, 2020

Today the Treasury Department is launching the Payment Protection Program that was created as part of the CARES Act. The program authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans, up to $10M per company, to small businesses to pay their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

The program is intended to be a simple process that will be implemented through your banks. Below is more for your review.

SBA overview of the program
More Information

Find eligible lenders
More Information

Dept of Treasury Fact Sheet
More Information

The application process is meant to be easy – fill in the application and take it to your bank.
Application Link

Venture-backed companies
 Uncertainty remains whether venture-backed companies would be eligible for the program, however there is a commitment from Congress and the Treasury Department to fix this problem. Due to the “affiliation rule” that was intended for companies owned by private equity, there is concern that venture-backed companies would not be eligible for the program. According to senior leaders in Congress, this has been or will be clarified by the Department of Treasury and venture-backed companies will be eligible.
Read More

If you would like more information, the Washington Post has a comprehensive FAQ to the program. Unlike most Washington Post articles, this is not restricted behind a paywall.
Read More


Apply for SE PitchRounds

The inaugural AdvanSE Life Sciences Conference is May 26 – 28, 2020, in Isle of Palms, SC. A highlight of the event is SE PitchRounds, our small company program.
We are looking for the best companies in the southeast in biopharma, medical devices, digital health, and diagnostics to present during the conference.
The deadline to apply is April 10. We accept applications from companies at any stage – from an idea on a napkin to profitable companies looking for expansion capital. Companies selected for PitchRounds will receive benefits including:
  • Two significantly discounted (more than 25%) off early-bird registration
  • In-depth workshops on topics such as Go-To-Market, Valuation, and Persuasive Pitch coaching
  • Mentoring with a team of investors, entrepreneurs, regulatory and reimbursement professionals, etc.
  • And more!
For more information or to apply, follow the links below.