By Amy Jones | Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) start-ups comprised more than a third of the Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) list of Start-ups to Watch 2023.

The list included 17 start-ups, six of which were born to commercialize UAB intellectual property, which is licensed through the UAB Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (HIIE). Anath Shalev won the EntrepreHER Award.Anath Shalev accepts the EntrepreHER Award during the Innovation Awards in October 2022. Shalev's start-up, TIXiMED, was chosen as one of the Birmingham Business Journal's Start-ups to Watch 2023.

The Start-Ups to Watch List is focused “on the young companies in the state that have garnered capital, customers or ideas that indicate a new year filled with growth and big moves,” wrote Laurel Thrailkill of the BBJ. “While the future is certainly not written, the start-ups on this list have demonstrated a passion and a determination to become successful.”

The six UAB start-ups are:

  • AI Metrics, a company building a platform that leverages artificial intelligence and guided workflows to assist radiologists with image analysis. Thrailkill wrote, “AI Metrics successfully made the transition from beta sites and research deployments to clinical patient evaluations in 2022. With that milestone achieved, the company is poised in 2023 to scale significantly. It plans to secure its first national contract with one of the largest health systems in the U.S. next.”
  • SunFire Biotechnologies, a clinical research organization for pneumococcal vaccine development support. From the BBJ: “Birmingham-based SunFire Biotechnologies, which started as a one-employee operation in 2019, is growing so rapidly that it is outgrowing its space in Innovation Depot for the second time.”
  • TIXiMED, which is working to develop a first-of-its-kind oral medication for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Thrailkill wrote that TIXiMED’s “long-term goal for 2023 is to complete the first set of human safety studies of the phase 1 clinical trial.”
  • TPM Research, which develops ergonomic transport options that are more comfortable for both patients and healthcare staff. From the BBJ: “In 2022, TPM finalized all new patented product designs, completed the initial run of its manufactured wheelchairs and placed pilot chairs with a dozen partner hospitals for use and evaluation. Now it is aiming to secure initial product sales.”
  • TruSpin Nanomaterial Innovation, the first company in the world to utilize alternating-current electrospinning to commercially manufacture nanofibers. TruSpin has found footing with funding sources, according to the BBJ story: “The company's growth is reflected in a recent investment round, which closed in September, totaling over $500,000. The round will provide a boost as the company establishes collaborations with corporate partners. TruSpin has raised around $900,000 in capital over the past year total.”
  • Zorro-Flow, a company developing a neonatal external urine-collection device for critically ill female neonates and children. Zorro-Flow’s founder, David Askenazi, M.D., MPH, is medical director of the Pediatric and Infant Center for Acute Nephrology at Children’s of Alabama. He is also the W. Charles Mayer Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nephrology at UAB.