Memphis-Based SweetBio Integrating Manuka Honey into Healing Membrane

How SweetBio is Using Honey for Oral Pain Relief

Many of us consider honey as a sweet, sticky substance that we use in cooking and baking – but to SweetBio, a Memphis-based biotechnical company, it is much, much more. The organization is on a mission to create a membrane that could potentially be used during oral surgeries to help regenerate bone and tissue. SweetBio’s membrane uses Manuka honey, which they believe has antibacterial and wound-healing properties that would be useful during these surgeries.

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Dr. Isaac Rodriguez, CEO of SweetBio, delivers his pitch at the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Challenge pitch competition. SweetBio was one of four startups selected to be fellows in DRA’s network. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

On Friday, Sept. 18, Memphis was the kick-off site of the Delta Challenge pitch competition, a six-city tour organized by federal-state partnership Delta Regional Authority to identify and support exceptional startups.

Of the 16 startups that presented, SweetBio, LendMed, MyCollegeSTREAM and FrontDeskConnect were selected to be fellows in the DRA’s Delta Entrepreneurship Network. 

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Fourteen startups pitch ideas at Memphis Demo Day

Fourteen startup companies pitched their ideas to a crowd of investors, community leaders and supporters Thursday. 

It was a part of Memphis Demo Day, which marked graduation for the 14 teams from Start. Co (a tech startup accelerator) and ZeroTo510 (a medical device startup accelerator) summer startup training and mentoring programs. 

Each team pitched their business on stage in the ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Memphis. It was a chance celebrate their progress and share their ideas. Many who were seeking investments to move forward.
More than 300 people attended Memphis Demo Day, ranging from successful entrepreneurs to regional and community leaders and investors from the Mid-South. Both programs were recently awarded a $50,000 grand from the SBA for their efforts.

SweetBio: Balancing Business and Biomedicine

SweetBio is ready to revolutionize healing with an innovative dental product for tissue and bone regeneration. The team is led by co-founders Dr. Isaac Rodriguez, Kayla Rodriguez, MBA, and Marsalas Whitaker. We recently talked to Isaac and Kayla to learn more about the dynamics of the biomedical startup scene and what it takes to succeed.

“You need to be a well-rounded individual. I was very involved throughout college, and that just taught me so much outside my discipline. So, coming in to sweet bio, being a scientist and engineer, I have those skills to talk to investors, to be a people person, or just be a scientist, depending on what’s needed. For me, when I talk with high school students, I always tell them to be involved in college. Don’t just take classes and go home. It’s been really rewarding for me to see that everything I’ve done outside my industry has translated to SweetBio.”

Biotech Startup SweetBio's Kayla & Isaac Rodriguez Bring Innovation, Honey, to Dental Surgery

Biotech Startup SweetBio's Kayla & Isaac Rodriguez Bring Innovation, Honey, to Dental Surgery

What's Next is a series dedicated to profiling innovative startups that are bringing the next big idea to the marketplace.

"Like many people, I do not like going to the dentist," said Kayla Rodriguez. "No offense to dentists," she continued, "but I've had 17 teeth pulled and had braces twice, so I don't want to spend any more time in that chair than I have to."

Kayla's career is inspired by that sentiment, even though she works with dentists all the time.

Kayla is the co-founder, with her brother Isaac, of the Memphis-based biotech startup SweetBio, which they founded this year. SweetBio has a new, innovative take on a tool commonly used in oral surgeries, called Guided Tissue Regeneration membranes (or GTR membranes).