For AxoSim CEO J. Lowry Curley, New Orleans was the perfect place to launch his biotech startup.
Curley and Tulane biomedical engineering professor Michael Moore founded AxoSim in 2014, and Curley, a Slidell native, says he has no trouble explaining to others why he chose New Orleans for his business.
“I get asked this question a lot from other entrepreneurs,” he says. “The burgeoning biotech community has many people who are very willing to help and provide advice. Experienced entrepreneurs, advisers and experts work closely with young companies in a way that does not happen elsewhere. We have some great up-and-coming success stories, and as more startups succeed, the critical mass necessary for sustainability grows.”
AxoSim became one of those stories when it won $25,000 at the 2014 Innovation Louisiana BioChallenge. The company enables pharmaceutical researchers to develop cheaper and more effective drug treatments for neurological diseases such as ALS and multiple sclerosis using its patent-pending Nerve-On-A-Chip technology.
“The New Orleans BioInnovation Center and the Idea Village, among many other business incubators, provide an opportunity to establish a company and get the help a young bootstrapping company needs to succeed,” Curley says. “The high density of universities and major hospitals also provides access to a large number of trained biotech professionals, which not everyone realizes.”
Curley lived in Antwerp, Belgium, for a year before returning to New Orleans for good in 2013. He says the things that keep him in New Orleans are exactly what brought him home.
“In particular, New Orleans’ sense of community extends to the startup culture,” Curley says. “There is a definite feeling that everyone is in this together.”