Welcome to the NC BIOTECH Venture Challenge, for Biotech Pioneers bringing life sciences innovations to the marketplace in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center launched this life-sciences-based, innovation-focused venture challenge to raise the profile, increase the volume, and enhance the successes of life science commercialization, innovators, entrepreneurs, and companies in every region across North Carolina.


The NC BIOTECH Venture Challenge benefits for the selected finalists include the following:
  • A 2-month period of intense mentoring assistance and networking opportunities.
  • Public and private networking and educational events to enhance our connected networks of entrepreneurs, investors, and others in the region and beyond, especially as they relate to biotech innovation and commercialization.
  • Targeted assistance from the NC Biotechnology Center Life Science Intelligence team--e.g., industry and market research.
  • pitch challenge at the end of the assistance process, which will yield significant monetary awards, in addition to the invaluable mentoring and networking each venture will experience during the assistance phase.
  • Monetary Awards Totaling $40,000 IN EACH REGION: Top Award, $20,000; Second and Third Awards, $10,000 each. (Total: $200,000 across the state)
  • Incubator tenancy and/or support partnerships with local incubators, accelerators, and support providers where applicable. 
  • Promotion in the region and beyond of our impressive community of biotech innovators, entrepreneurs, and ventures.

Statewide Challenge: The winner from each of the 5 regional challenges will continue to the statewide challenge for additional mentoring assistance, NC Biotechnology Center Life Science Intelligence team support, promotion, public appearances, and monetary awards.

  • Monetary Awards of $100,000 for statewide winners, in addition to the $200,000 for regional finalists, for an NC BIOTECH Venture Challenge total of $300,000 in non-dilutive funding for 15 North Carolina ventures.

Application Period

February 1 – February 29, 2024 5:00 pm

Mentoring, Networking, and Awards Events

Because building professional networks to strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem is critical to venture success, selected finalists and mentors will be expected to attend the following events:
      • March 2024 Kickoff Celebrations – Regional (All applicants, mentors, presenters, others)
      • March 2024 Notifications to Candidates and Selected Finalists

Regional Assistance Period: Mar–May 2024

      • March 2024 Networking and Mentoring Session #1
      • April 2024 Networking and Mentoring Session #2
      • April 2024 Pitch Coach: Individual Venture Team Sessions 
      • May 2024 Networking and Mentoring Session #3
      • May 2024 Judging Phase – Regional (Private meeting with pitches to judges)
      • May 2024 Regional Venture Pitch Showcase and Winner Reveal (Public event)

The winner from each of the five regional challenges will continue to the state-level challenge for additional mentoring assistance, NC Biotechnology Center Life Science Intelligence team support, promotion, public appearance, and monetary awards.

Statewide Assistance Period: June 2024

      • June 2024 Additional Mentoring, Networking, and Pitch Coaching
      • June 27, 2024 Statewide Judging Phase (private meeting with pitches to judges)
      • June 27, 2024 Statewide Finals Venture Pitch Showcase and Winner Reveal at Triad BioNight in Greensboro, NC


From the 2022 NC BIONEER State Winner:

“The exposure Plakous received through this Venture Challenge has continued to pay dividends for our company in numerous ways. The network we developed through the mentoring program as well as the insights gained in the positioning of the company and stress testing of our business plan remain on-going assets. I regularly reach out to individuals I worked with over the months of preparation for the program to act as a sounding board as we continue to advance the company through the regulatory, manufacturing, and clinical processes. Our relationships within the NCBiotech Center have also expanded through program awareness and financial support.”

Robert Boyce, Chief Executive Officer, Plakous Therapeutics Inc. Winston-Salem


From the 2020 NC BIONEER Top Award Recipient:

"NC Bioneer is a unique opportunity for early biotech entrepreneurs to refine their pitch presentation, and pressure test the assumptions of the business model. The venture challenge provided access to Life Science Intelligence Team at NCBiotech which offered the latest market research reports to help define our total addressable market, trends, and competition. The strongest benefit for Isosceles was the mentorship program and networking resources including pharmaceutical specialists that were later critical to the company’s success in the challenge and beyond. I encourage all serious biotech entrepreneurs to apply for the 2022 Bioneer Venture Challenge, take full advantage of the top-notch resources it provides, and use the opportunity to become a part of the vibrant NC biotechnology community."

– Brett Lanier, President, Isosceles Pharmaceuticals  Wilmington, NC


To be considered for the NC BIOTECH Venture Challenge, applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • Physical presence in a North Carolina county represented by a NC Biotechnology Center Regional Office (Eastern, Greater Charlotte, Southeastern, Piedmont Triad, Western).
  • Life Sciences/Biotech-related business ventures, including ventures that support life sciences and biotech through equipment, technology platforms, and software applications. For example, ventures may be related to a broad range of biotech-related innovations and applications including agriculture, bioenergy, health/nutrition, advanced materials, industrial biotech, regenerative medicine, diagnostics, medical devices, biomanufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, technology, or marine biotech.
  • Regional and State finalists from previous NC BIOTECH Venture Challenges are not eligible to apply

How To Apply

The application deadline has passed.  Thanks to everyone who submitted an application this year!



Applications must be completed and submitted online via the following link, NC BIOTECH Venture Challenge APPLICATION FORM, no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on February 29, 2024.

An expert panel of reviewers will select finalists to participate in the mentoring assistance process, which begins March 2024 and the pitch competition in May 2024.

For questions or issues, please contact your NC Biotech Center Regional Office.

Statewide Partners

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