(ORLANDO, Fla., August 16, 2018) Hesperos, Inc. has announced that it is among the first round of finalists for the 2018 Florida Companies to Watch honor, recently announced by GrowFL.
The awards event – now in its eighth year – honors 50 select second-stage companies from throughout the state for developing valuable products and services, creating quality jobs, enriching communities, and broadening new industries throughout Florida. Chosen from a candidate pool of 134 growing second-stage businesses, the finalists collectively represented $518 million in annual revenue and employed 2,743 full-time equivalent employees in 2017.
Led by engineering pioneers James J. Hickman of the Hybrid Systems Laboratory at the University of Central Florida and Michael L. Shuler of Cornell University, Hesperos has developed patented “human-on-a-chip” technology that allows academic and commercial companies to more accurately analyze drug candidates and other compounds in a realistic model, without the use of animals. The Orlando company works with several top pharma companies.
“Our human-on-a-chip systems integrate several body organ modules such as the nervous system, circulatory system, liver and skeletal muscle, to create a functional replication of real organ interplay,” said Hickman. “We hope to transform toxicology testing, and we are honored to be recognized for our innovations.”
The Florida Companies To Watch finalists now advance to the second round, where they will be further evaluated based on their performance in the marketplace, innovative products, services or processes, philanthropy and empowered employees.
“We applaud these first round finalists who have shown how they stand out in their regions as innovative business leaders, going to the next level to grow their companies. They are true rock stars,” says Dr. Tom O’Neal, GrowFL Executive Director.
The Finalists represent a unique group of scalable, high-growth enterprises that are already located within Florida. These high growth enterprises are an important segment of our economy and their numbers have been steadily increasing, which contributed to Florida’s ranking of 24 on the 2018 Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship. According to this report, “entrepreneurship is not a monolithic phenomenon, and it includes many moving parts. Creating new businesses is a different economic activity from running small businesses, which in turn is different from growing businesses.”
Developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation, Florida Companies To Watch is a distinguished awards program specifically designed to seek out second-stage businesses from a wide range of industries representing all areas of the state, not just those in major metropolitan areas. In addition to evaluating past growth and projected success, applicant companies are judged according to their special strengths and impact in their markets, communities and within the state – thus deeming them “worth watching.”
The winners will be announced in MID-September. The 2018 honorees will be celebrated at the awards ceremony February 9th at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, FL.
For more information visit https://www.growfl.com/flctw18/.
Michelle Linn, Hesperos, 774-696-3803, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Ann Dykes Logue, UCF Business Incubation Program, 407-207-7426, email@example.com
Hesperos, Inc, is a leader in efforts to characterize an individual’s biology with human-on-a-chip microfluidic systems. Founders Michael L. Shuler and James J. Hickman have been at the forefront of every major scientific discovery in this realm, from individual organ-on-a-chip constructs to fully functional, interconnected multi-organ systems. With a mission to revolutionize toxicology testing as well as efficacy evaluation for drug discovery, the company has created pumpless platforms with serum-free cellular mediums that allow multi-organ system communication and integrated computational modeling of live physiological responses of functional neurons, cardiac, muscle, and neuromuscular junctions as well as liver, pancreas and barrier tissues. Created from human stem cells, the fully human systems are the first in vitro solutions that accurately recreate in vivo functions without the use of animal models. More information is available at http://www.hesperosinc.com
GrowFL was created in 2009 as an economic development program focused on assisting second-stage growth companies prosper in the state of Florida. By providing strategies, resources and support to second-stage companies for next level growth through Strategic Research, Peer Learning and Leadership Development, GrowFL helps companies overcome obstacles to growth and leads them towards prosperity. Based on the philosophy of Economic Gardening® — to grow existing businesses in a community, region or state — GrowFL, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute, is a critical component to the state’s economic development strategy and Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. GrowFL is a statewide economic development organization certified by the National Center for Economic Gardening through the Edward Lowe Foundation. Learn more at www.GrowFL.com.
About the UCF Business Incubation Program: The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped more than 390 local startup companies reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources.
With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2014/15 and 2015/16 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped sustain more than 4,710 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of more than $725 million on regional GDP and more than $1.3 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned $7.41 for every $1 invested in the program. For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu