Hesperos, Inc. has announced that it is among the first round of finalists for the 2018Florida 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.