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Noona Develop Innovative Digital Health Tool That Monitor Cancer Patients' Recovery

Noona Develop Innovative Digital Health Tool That Monitor Cancer Patients' Recovery
Too many people still face a cancer diagnosis, and far too many die from the disease. While much work remains, decreasing death rates and increasing numbers of survivors are important indicators of the progress we are making in both diagnosing and treating cancer. The increase in patients and their post-treatment care poses new challenges for the healthcare system. The recovery process takes time and patients are often monitored for 5-10 years, either by specialists or basic healthcare providers. Finding new solutions that systematically monitor large number of patients, their symptoms and recovery progress, could both make make care more efficient and optimize clinical outcomes.

The Finnish startup Noona Healthcare is determined to improve the quality of cancer patient care, and has developed a mobile service that allow patients to track and report their wellbeing. The cloud-based service, accessed through mobile, tablet or PC, enable patients to report their treatment and illness-related symptoms direct to their clinic. Knowing the patient’s medical history, the system asks for more details on the type, duration and location of symptoms. It even distinguish between severe and less serious symptoms, recognizing when the patient need acute medical attention. And if immediate action is not required, it gives advice on self-treatment and monitoring.

The innovative system, developed together with Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH) Cancer Center, give cancer clinics new opportunities to improve efficiency. Noona categorizes patients based on their treatment needs, helping clinics to reallocate resources, focusing on the patients who have the most acute situation. In addition, the solution save time and resources as more patient contact is handled electronically, potentially improving doctor-patient relationship. Currently, patients have had to call the oncology department by phone to discuss their symptoms, which can be difficult and time-consuming with hundreds of patients.

Many cancer patients feel they have been left on their own when cancer treatment ends. Noona offer a new channel for patients to stay in touch with their care personnel, providing patients with support and a sense of security and peace of mind. In addition, the symptom data given by patients ensure that the treatment process is personalized, potentially optimizing clinical outcomes. And the data provided by millions of cancer patients could provide doctors, researchers and treatment developers with unique opportunities and insights to overcome cancer.

Noona has attracted much attention and was awarded Best Health Innovation 2016 in Finland, and was evaluated by the Healthtech Summit, one of the leading European digital health events, as one of the 20 most promising digital health companies in Europe. The startup has previously presented their innovative solution on the main stage of Health 2.0 Conference in Silicon Valley, and has been funded by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.

Moving Analytics Develop Home-Based Digital Cardiac Rehab Program

Moving Analytics Develop Home-Based Digital Cardiac Rehab Program
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Most deaths occur within the first two days after onset, while those who survive this period often progress well. It is well documented that participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program enhance recovery, reduce mortality and read, but only one third of patients participate in such programs. Adherence to these programs is also a huge problem with only about one third maintaining attendance after 6 months. Although complex, the main barriers to participation and adherence is high cost and long distance to the hospital, and developing innovative solutions could help provide rehab to all eligible patients.

The Marina Del Rey, CA-based startup Moving Analytics help cardiac centers implement remote cardiac rehabilitation programs delivered through patients’ mobile devices. They have digitized MULTIFIT, a home-based chronic disease management program developed by Stanford University and Kaiser Permanente, which has been validated in over 70,000 patients. The app, called Movn, guide patients through supervised exercises, monitors their vitals and provide educational materials, in order for them to reach daily rehab goals. It can also help remind patients about medications and follow-up appointments, and the startup has developed a web-portal that enable care providers to track patient progress and specifically administer care plans.

The innovative product help hospitals seamlessly offer a more convenient and affordable rehabilitation to patients that currently have been unable to attend any cardiac rehab programs. The increased access engage and empower patients to take control of their own health, potentially reducing both 5-year mortality and readmission rates by half. The digital solution give patients a direct link to their care team where they can report symptoms and receive follow up phone calls, ultimately improving doctor-patient relationship. It also means that the care team gain insight into patient behavior and can proactively intervene when appropriate, enabling hospitals to focus their resources where they are needed the most.

Moving Analytics is working with multiple hospitals, including Keck School of Medicine, Trinity Health, NYU Langone and VA Atlanta. Earlier this year they raised $1.1 million in a round led by Launchpad Digital Health, an accelerator where the startup was enrolled, with additional contributions from HealthX Ventures. The startup has also gone through the Texas Medical Center’s TMCx accelerator program.

Alivio Therapeutics Develop Novel Drug Delivery System That Target Inflammatory Disorders

Alivio Therapeutics Develop Novel Drug Delivery System That Target Inflammatory Disorders
Numerous conditions are caused by chronic inflammation, but patients have few options and in desperate need of better, longer-lasting treatments that offer relief. Although there has been significant progress in research, few novel drugs have come to market. Targeting mechanisms that modulate inflammation has historically been difficult because pathways that modulate inflammation act broadly. Using agents to dampen local inflammation has therefore had serious side effects and toxicity.

The Boston-based startup Alivio Therapeutics is developing a novel technology for the targeted treatment of inflammatory disorders. The technology is based on an innovative hydrogel material that is specifically designed to adhere to and deliver drugs to inflamed tissue based on the degree of inflammation. The more inflammation, the more drug is released at the site, leaving healthy tissue alone. The startup has already done testing in a mouse model of ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease that cause inflammation in the digestive tract, and the results published in Science Translational Medicine showed a significant reduction in inflammation.

The innovative technology has the potential to overcome major challenges in the treatment of inflammatory disorders, enabling the development of new, disease-modifying therapies. Its unique properties could help maximize treatment efficacy while minimizing the risks of side effects and toxicity. More importantly, Alivio’s novel drug delivery platform could change the everyday lives of millions of people worldwide living with inflammatory disorders. In USA alone, there are over 1.5 million people living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two of the most common inflammatory disorders. These can be both painful and emotionally burdensome, and annually there are over 2 million ambulatory care visits and 200 000 hospitalizations. Finding better treatment options could significantly improve quality of life, while reducing associated costs and strain on the healthcare system, highlighting  the huge opportunity of Alivio and their technology.

Alivio Therapeutics was launched by PureTech Health in May 2016 and is already backed by an impressive team. The startup was co-founded by MIT professor Robert Langer together with Jeff Karp, an associate professor of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Scientists Michael Brenner, Ulrich von Andrian, and Ralph Weissleder, all affiliated with Harvard Medical School, are on the startup’s scientific advisory board, while Ivana Magovcevic-Liebisch, senior vice president and head of global business development at Teva Pharmaceuticals, is on the company’s board of directors.

gripAble Provide Mobile Rehabilitation For Patients With Arm Disability

gripAble Provide Mobile Rehabilitation For Patients With Arm Disability
Over 500 million people worldwide live with arm or hand disability, but few receive the care they need. Currently, the most effective intervention to aid long-term recovery and independence following movement impairment is physical therapy. However, these therapist-led interventions are extremely resource heavy and vastly underperformed. Recovering arm function is number one priority for disabled subjects to improve their quality of life, and finding new solutions that can help achieve this is of high priority.

The London, UK-based startup gripAble is developing a low-cost, highly motivating technology to provide mobile rehabilitation for individuals with arm disability. Their novel technology consists of a joystick-like device, a digital handgrip with patented force sensors that measure grip flexion and extension, as well as whole arm movements. The device wirelessly interacts with specially designed app-based therapy games, which are designed to be accessible to all ages and levels of cognitive function. In addition, each game level is highly motivating and automatically adopt to the ability of each individual.

Using novel technology to find new ways to improve rehabilitation is important to alleviate the labor-intensive aspects of hand-on conventional therapy. gripAble does not employ gamification to replace physiotherapy, but to increase access and adherence, and improve efficiency of rehabilitation. The technology provide meaningful tasks, greater intensity of practice, and stimulate an engaging environment for the user no matter what level of ability they are. The technology has been specifically designed to be portable and easy-to-use in any environment, whether it is at the hospital or at home, while giving specialists the opportunity to closely follow the recovery progress remotely. This means they can interfere when needed and focus their resources on patients that struggle.

There is a growing global market for rehabilitative products and gripAble is an innovative solution that poses a significant opportunity. The portable nature and relative low cost of the technology mean that more people will have access to recovery programs, even in rural settings with little access to therapists. gripAble present a cost-effective solution that put the patient in focus, and the personalized and engaging technology help them recover arm function and improve quality of life.

The innovative startup and technology has previously won NHS Innovation Prize and UK Stroke Association Prize. In addition, the startup came runners-up in the global OneStart 2016, world’s largest life sciences and healthcare startup accelerator program, cultivating early-stage entrepreneurship among young and disruptive healthcare innovators. The technology has gotten significant interest, and the startup has secured pre-orders from a private rehabilitation center in London. They are currently seeking funding with an aim to launch in Q3 2017.

Leuko Labs' Innovative Device Use Optical Sensors To Count White Blood Cells

Leuko Labs' Innovative Device Use Optical Sensors To Count White Blood Cells
White blood cells are a key part of your immune system, helping to protect your body against infection. Chemotherapy can lower the number of infection-fighting white blood cells, weakening your immune system and causing febrile neutropenia. Currently, 20% of all new cancer patients will experience at least one episode of febrile neutropenia, a healthcare burden that totals $2 billion per year in US alone. Finding new ways to monitor cell count is key to not only lower associated costs, but to improve patient outcomes.

The startup Leuko Labs is developing a device that allow cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to monitor their white blood cell count at home without drawing blood. The technology is based on research from MIT and consists of optical sensors that can see through the skin, counting white blood cells as they flow past a miniature lens. The device is placed on the patient’s fingertip where it captures images of the capillaries very close to the surface in the nailbed. The hemoglobin in the red cell absorbs the light, while the white cells appear as small transparent particles. Algorithms recognize these white blood cells and count them, providing an estimate of blood concentration.

Hundreds of thousands of new cancer patients each year receive chemotherapy treatment with high risk of febrile neutropenia. The innovative technology allows a non-invasive, home-based and more frequent monitoring of white blood cell status, which will enable the detection of severe immunosuppression before fever or infections ensues. This let doctors prescribe and deliver more cost effective preventive treatments, i.e. growth colony stimulating factors, reducing hospitalizations and their associated costs. The device also offer a personalization of chemotherapy treatment as it enables the monitoring of the ongoing immune response. This provide the benefit of maximizing treatment for each individual without compromising their immune system, improving treatment efficacy while reducing the risk of suffering serious infections.

The technology even has a wider application. It can be used in resource poor regions to detect acute infections, especially where HIV-associated bacterial co-infections are endemic. 4 billion people live in rural regions and currently have little or no access to testing for infections. A simple test like Leuko could significantly improve access to care, help millions around the world by diagnosing, better treat, and preventing diseases.

The startup was in 2015 named ‘Innovation of the Year’ by MIT Technology Review Spain, recently won the ‘Tech Innovation Award’ at Rice Business Plan Competition, and is now part of the MIT accelerator ‘MIT Delta V’. Leuko has been supported by what was previously Madrid-MIT M+Visión, now MIT linQ, as well as the Center for Future Technologies in Cancer Care and the Coulter Foundation. The technology is currently undergoing clinical trials and the startup is aiming to have their product on the market in 2019.

Apollo Medical Devices' Innovative Blood Testing Platform Give Results In 5 Minutes

Apollo Medical Devices' Innovative Blood Testing Platform Give Results In 5 Minutes
Diagnostic test results, including blood tests, inform of over 70 percent of medical decisions, and 50 percent of the information in the average medical chart comes from laboratory data. Although a blood test appear simple and straight forward, the actual diagnostic process is quite complex. It requires specialized equipment and technicians, and samples need to be prepared and results verified, requiring a trained lab professional. The complex process can delay medical decisions, and developing point-of-care diagnostics could reduce health care costs, make care more convenient and improve patient outcomes.

The Cleveland, Ohio-based startup Apollo Medical Devices is developing a blood testing technology that give results in five minutes from a single drop of blood. The test measures glucose levels and electrolyte levels, and the startup hopes to expand its technology to over 25 additional tests. The proprietary platform consists of a portable analyzer, a handheld device with a touchscreen, and a disposable microfluidic-based sensor cartridge. The single drop of blood is placed directly onto the cartridge, and is ready for analysis in seconds. The cartridge is then placed into the analyzer and results are ready within five minutes, eliminating the need for expensive equipment and complicated protocols.

The startup and their innovative technology is in a unique position and could potentially transform healthcare. As we are experiencing an aging population, more chronic diseases and rising healthcare costs, the technology could improve efficacy and cost-effectiveness while reducing the overall burden of disease. The portable analyzer and its fast return of results lead to more timely treatment, giving it a huge advantage in emergency care. Not to mention its potential in primary care settings where it not only provide a diagnosis, but also could decide on drug dosage, assess efficacy of treatment, and monitor compliance. It not only enable faster decision-making while lowering healthcare costs, but lead to better patient care and outcomes.

The system is specifically designed to minimize the training required for use, and could therefore play a major part in increasing access to care. Existing diagnostics usually requires sophisticated infrastructure, expensive reagents, long assay times and highly trained personnel, which is not often available in limited resource settings. The inability to develop diagnostics tools that overcome these challenges has had catastrophic consequences on the response to both communicable and non-communicable diseases in developing countries. This highlight the technology’s huge potential in both public health, and preventing outbreaks and epidemics.

Apollo Medical Devices’ vision and technology has not gone unnoticed and they have received support from a number of organizations. Both JumpStart and Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund have invested in the startup, and they have received a grant of $100k from the state of Ohio Third Frontier and $125k from GLIDE’s innovation fund. In addition, the startup was awarded a $125k loan from Cuyahoga county through their North Coast Opportunity Fund.

The startup was founded by Punkaj Ahuja after working on the technology as a biomedical engineering PhD student at Case Western Reserve University. The university has also allowed the startup to use their makerspace Think[Box]. Today they have seven full time employees and are renting lab space at BioEnterprise where they now are able to produce hundreds of disposable cartridges per day. So far, they have done proof-of-concept studies with excellent results, and are expecting to begin clinical trials in the spring 2017.

AURA Innovative Robotics Diagnose Neurological Disorders From Eye Movement

AURA Innovative Robotics Diagnose Neurological Disorders From Eye Movement
Early diagnosis of many neurological disorders remains a difficult clinical task. In many cases, symptoms are not clear until late in the disease progress, and it is further complicated by the fact that very few of these conditions have any physical tests of blood or urine to verify clinical suspicion and arrive at a definitive diagnosis. Not to mention the difficulty of distinguishing between different neurological disorders.

The Madrid-based startup AURA Innovative Robotics is determined to develop innovative and disruptive solutions with big impact in key areas of health systems. One of their products, OSCANN, is a diagnosis platform that help physicians significantly improve the quality of diagnosis for early stage neurological and mental disorders. The platform is a low-cost, portable device that analyze eye movements, monitoring ocular and oculocephalic movements, providing doctors in primary care, emergency rooms and hospital units a quick non-invasive test for disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Eye movements are tightly controlled by different structures of the nervous systems, and abnormal eye movements indicate the presence of neurodegeneration. Analyzing this movement not only help diagnose neurological disorders early, but provide valuable information about disease severity and progression.

With the innovative device, the probability of giving right prognosis could be up to 50% higher than with current options, and the probability of false negatives could be notably reduced. In addition, combining the eye movement examination with other clinical data increase the ability to precisely distinguish between different neurological diseases. This not only shortens diagnosis delays, but help focus on starting specific treatment as fast as possible.

The device has a disruptive potential and could be a leap forward in diagnosing neurological disorders. It can be operated by non-specialists, and give many of the most difficult disorders to diagnose a quantitative measure. Not to mention its huge potential as an objective evaluation of treatment efficacy. However, most importantly, the low-cost, portable device help increase access of care to the over 1 billion people worldwide who suffer from some kind of neurological disorder. It could significantly improve quality of life, especially in rural settings with low resources and little access to specialists.

The startup has previously been a finalist at both actúaupm, a competition organized by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and Pasion>ie, organized by Accenture in collaboration with Instituto de Empresa. In 2016, AURA Innovative Robotics was a semi-finalist at OneStart, the world’s largest life sciences and healthcare startup accelerator.

Amplyx Develop Novel Treatments For Life-Threatening Fungal Infections

Amplyx Develop Novel Treatments For Life-Threatening Fungal Infections
Patients undergoing immunosuppressive treatments, like chemotherapy, end up with compromised immune systems. As a consequence invasive fungal infections have emerged as a significant problem among cancer patients, causing both morbidity and mortality. In fact, at least 40-50% of fatal infections are caused by fungi. However, existing therapies for these infections are extremely limited. They are restricted by drug interactions, toxic side effects, ineffective against more potent fungi that have developed resistance, and not to mention expensive.

In order to overcome these limitations, the San-Diego-based startup Amplyx Pharmaceuticals is developing novel, broad-spectrum antifungal agents for the treatment of life-threatening invasive fungal infections. Their small-molecule therapy, APX001, inhibit the Gwt1 fungal enzyme, and therefore maintain its activity against fungal organisms that have developed resistance to other drug classes. The drug candidate has been extensively evaluated in preclinical studies and have demonstrated broad-spectrum activity against infections caused by Candida, Aspergillus, as well as rare and hard-to-treat molds. In addition, the startup is developing both an IV and oral formulation of the drug to address the need for hospital administration, as well as continued dosage after hospital discharge.

Increased awareness among physicians and biotechnological advances have had considerable impact on improving diagnosis of invasive fungal infections. However, it remain difficult to manage, and there is an urgent need for improved treatment. APX001 has the potential to be used as a front line agent, either alone or in combination with existing antifungal drugs. It could overcome limitations associated with existing therapies, and significantly improve treatment efficacy. Annually, there are over 600,000 cases of invasive fungal infections due to Candida, Aspergillus and rare molds, and the work by Amplyx could give new hope to every single one of these patients.

APX001 is expected to enter clinical development this year, and Amplyx has raised over $50 million in venture capital with investors including 3x5 Special Opportunity Fund, Biomed Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, RiverVest and Tech Coast Angels. The startup has also received more than $10 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to support its drug discovery and development efforts. The startup’s research operations is located at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS.

The drug candidate has been granted Qualified Infectious Product (QIDP) by FDA, a designation established to encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop new antimicrobial drugs to treat serious and life-threatening infections. The designation provide significant incentives for the development of the drug, including priority FDA review, eligibility for Fast Track designation and a five-year extension of marketing exclusivity.

Lynx Biosciences Help Match Cancer Patients With Best Possible Treatment

Lync Biosciences Help Match Cancer Patients With Best Possible Treatment
Precision medicine is an emerging approach in treating multiple diseases, including cancer. In recent years, we have learned a tremendous amount about the basic biology of cancer. For example at the fundamental genetic level, changes in the DNA sequence actually drive cancer cells into uncontrolled growth. The understanding of how the biology of cancers are different from person to person, also explain why one-size-fits-all treatment approaches does not work. However, precisely targeting these specific mutations can stop cancer growth, cause the tumor to shrink and even go away.
The Madison, WI-based startup Lynx Biosciences is developing technologies that help match cancer patients with treatments. Their assay MicroC3 rapidly analyzes the therapeutic response of patients’ own cancer cells with own non-tumor cells, creating an ex-vivo model of someone’s cancer. The entire assay require 3 days to complete. On the first day, the patient samples are processed before treated with drugs on the second day. On the third day, an in-house automated analysis platform is used to stain, image and count cells to determine which treatment is best possible fit for the patient. In a small retrospective study, the assay identified all 17 patients as either clinically responsive or non-responsive to a commonly used multiple myeloma drug, showing a glimpse of its huge potential.
The innovative technology could transform how we treat cancer, linking diagnostics and therapeutics. And as precision medicine mature, such technologies has the potential to revolutionize healthcare. Physicians could become more reliant on guided treatment recommendations as MicroC3, and much less on their own professional experience and judgement, changing how medical decisions are made. As these assays yield more insights into cancer biology, they might even guide the development of new therapies, treatment strategies, and change how we enroll patients into clinical trials. Most importantly, the technology developed by Lynx Biosciences has the potential to improve human health, guiding cancer treatment to achieve optimal outcomes and increased efficacy. And finding the best targeted treatment option, which do not attack healthy cells, mean less side effects, better quality of life, and increased survival rates.
Early 2016, Lynx Biosciences announced they received over $250,000 of funding through Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), known as America’s Seed Fund, allowing US-owned small businesses to engage in research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization. The funding is being used to conduct a small prospective clinical trial to further validate their technology and is currently enrolling patients. The startup has also won the Governor’s Business Plan Competition and Wisconsin Innovation Awards.

AvroBio Develop Transformative Gene Therapies For Rare Diseases And Cancer

AvroBio Develop Transformative Gene Therapies For Rare Diseases And Cancer
Gene therapy has made important medical advances in recent years. Within a relatively short time span, it has moved from the conceptual stage to technology development and laboratory research to clinical translational trials for a variety of deadly diseases. Although controversial, gene therapy is poised to become a viable option for a variety of often life-threatening medical conditions. It could potentially cure illnesses with a single treatment by altering the underlying cause of disease, defective genes.
The Cambridge, MA.-based clinical-stage startup AvroBio is developing transformative, life-changing therapies for rare diseases and cancer by genetically modifying a patient’s own cells and infuse these back into the patient. Their first program, AVR-01, is an immunotherapy approach to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). They extract the patient’s cancer cells, and modifies it to express a powerful immune signaling agent. When transferred back into the patient, they activate T cells to attack the remaining cancer in the body.
The startup’s second program, AVR-02, is targeted at Fabry disease, a rare inherited disorder that results from the buildup of a particular type of fat in the body’s cells. Patient’s cells are genetically modified to add a functional copy of the faulty gene that causes the disease, expressing an enzyme called alpha-galactosidase when infused back into the patient.
Gene therapies represent a new paradigm in human health, with the potential to deliver dramatic disease-modifying effects with long-lasting and durable impact. This is especially true for 95% of rare diseases, which still have no approved treatment. AvroBio’s highly innovative therapies offer potentially life-altering impact following a single infusion, changing the lives of people worldwide who so far have very few treatment options. For Fabry patients for example, this could mean no more frequent trips to infusion centers, significantly improving quality of life. However, it is still early, and both treatments are currently in Phase 1 trials.
AvroBio was formally launched in February 2016, and in August announced they had raised $25 million in a Series A financing co-led by Atlas Venture, Clarus and SV Life Sciences. The funding will be used to accelerate the development of its programs in Fabry disease and AML, and to expand their pipeline in both rare diseases and solid and liquid cancers.

Molecular Stethoscope Develop Novel Blood Tests To Detect And Monitor Organ Damage

Molecular Stethoscope Develop Novel Blood Tests To Detect And Monitor Organ Damage
Blood tests are a vital part of the diagnostic process, helping physicians make the correct diagnosis and determine the appropriate course of treatment. In fact, about 50% of the information in the average medical chart comes from laboratory data, and blood tests inform approximately 70% of medical decisions. Thanks to major technological advances and a better understanding of what goes wrong at the molecular level when we get sick, the number of blood-detectable conditions are exploding.

The San Diego-based startup Molecular Stethoscope is developing a blood-based early detection and disease-monitoring test. Their proprietary technology utilizes circulating cell-free RNA in blood to monitor organ damage. The startup has measured RNA levels from many healthy individuals, and has established baseline levels of tissue-specific RNA. Deviations from these levels can indicate organ-specific disease, providing a real-time “snapshot” of organ health and allowing for a rapid, accurate, and non-invasive evaluation of healthy and diseased states.

The company’s test target a multibillion dollar market and could potentially revolutionize diagnosis and drug development for a variety of diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, liver diseases, coronary artery disease and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Through earlier disease detection and intervention the startup aim to decrease healthcare costs, and could have a major effect in changing the everyday life of patients worldwide. They are specifically targeting diseases with critical need of better diagnostic tools and where early detection could be the difference between life and death. By potentially monitoring these diseases, they are turned into manageable chronic diseases that could give rise to new treatment options and strategies that significantly improve quality of life.

The promising startup was co-founded by Stephen Quake and Eric Topol, two of the biggest contributors to the science behind circulating cell-free RNA-based diagnostics. Stephen Quake has received numerous international awards and has founded several companies, including Fluidigm, Helicos Biosciences, Verinata Health, Quanticel Pharmaceuticals, Moleculo Cellular Research and Immumetrix. Eric Topol is the Director of Scripps Translational Science Institute, and was voted the #1 Most Influential Physician Executive in the US in 2012 in a poll conducted by Modern Healthcare. He is editor-in-chief of Medscape and theheart.org, and has published books that explore how technology democratize healthcare.

Molecular Stethoscope earlier in 2016 announced a collaboration with 23 US medical and academic institutions, and received more than 700 serum and plasma samples from their partners to continue validating the innovative diagnostics approach. Samples from patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, ALS, and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease will be used to provide insight into these diseases and how RNA change in response to treatment.

CNSDose Develop Genetic Test To Personalize Prescription Of AntiDepressants

CNSDose Develop Genetic Test To Personalize Prescription Of AntiDepressants
It is estimated that over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, making it the most common mental disorder and leading cause of disability worldwide. Depression has devastating effects on individuals, families and communities, and in USA alone it costs about $210 billion annually. Despite only 50% of patients respond to first medication, and a minority of patients achieve full remission, there are effective treatments for depression. The suboptimal response to these therapies are thought to be a result of genetic variations, which has sparked the interest in the development of tools to guide prescription.
The Melbourne-based startup CNSDose is determined to change how antidepressants are prescribed to individuals by using a genomic test. The test is a simple saliva test that determine the individual’s ability to metabolize antidepressants, and the results are sent to the doctor with a report that include the guidance of appropriate medication and dosing suggestions. This tailored approach avoid the need for trial and error when prescribing antidepressants, and significantly improve the response rate. In fact, a randomized controlled trial of 148 patients with Major Depressive Disorders found a remission rate of 72% for genetically guided dosing, versus 28% for genetically unguided dosing.
Psychologist and pharmacogeneticist Dr Ajeet Singh founded the startup after coming across a patient who received numerous inaccurate doses for his depression. By the time the patient was referred to Dr Ajeet, he had lost his job, his marriage, and attempted suicide. This unique understanding and passion of improving how depression is treated around the world, coupled with an innovative product, could significantly improve outcomes for millions of people. The startup could potentially turn the treatment of depression on its head, moving it in a more patient-led and focused direction, avoiding the need for trial and error when prescribing antidepressants.
The innovative approach not only help guide prescription, but could play an important role in strengthening the doctor-patient relationship, not to mention increase access of care. This technology could greatly benefit patients in rural areas that have few specialists and psychiatrists, giving them fast, simple and tailored results, doubling the odds of recovery.
Early 2016, CNSDose closed a seed investment of about US$1 million from two angel investors, as well as welcoming former Australian trade minister Andrew Robb to its advisory board. They aim to use the money to finance a US trial launch in October 2016, before they embark on a large Series A round to fuel a global launch in 2017.

ImmuneXcite Develop An Innovative New Cancer Immunotherapy

The latest breakthrough in cancer treatment is in the field of immune-oncology. This form of treatment uses or enhances the patient’s own immune system to be able to stop the growth of cancer cells. While these therapies are promising, they traditionally only leverage the adaptive immune system and only work in a fraction of patients. Due to these limitations, many companies are now trying to draw out other members of the immune system to fight cancer.
The Lexington, MA-based startup ImmuneXcite is developing a very interesting approach that take advantage of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. They use a specific sugar called beta-1,6-glucan, a sugar normally found on the cell walls of fungi that attract neutrophils, a member of the innate immune system. The idea is to link this sugar to an antibody, which then would lead neutrophils to a tumor. Once activated, neutrophils help recruit other immune cells, including those of the adaptive immune system.
One potential advantage of the innovative technology is that the body might learn to remember a tumor, and continue to kill cancer cells, even after the drug is gone. The platform represents a fundamentally new approach in the growing field of cancer immunotherapy, as the field traditionally has focused on the adoptive immune system. Leveraging the power of the innate and adaptive immune system has shown promising results so far, and preclinical data has shown the platform mount an attack against treatment-resistant colorectal and breast cancer. In fact, the transformative approach could treat a wide range of solid and liquid tumors. And maybe most exciting, the targeted product may not require chronic administration. However, it is still very early and some work remains before it can be safely used in people, with the startup planning to begin its first clinical trial in 2018.
ImmuneXcite earlier 2016 raised $8.6 million in a Series A financing round, with investors including Cormorant Asset Management, Sanofi Genzyme BioVentures, and Partners Innovation Fund. The financing has seen the addition of Glaxo and Sanofi Genzyme veterans to its executive crew, and they plan to use the funding to complete studies that will them to choose a lead program to start clinical trials.

Seremedi Develop Innovative Software To Optimize Postoperative Care

Seremedi Develop Innovative Software To Optimize Postoperative Care
Postoperative care is important to optimize the outcome of the surgery and decreasing risk of complications. Hospitals face increased financial pressure, and discharging patients early help cut waiting lists and deliver healthcare more effectively and efficiently. Although studies suggest that prolonged hospital stays are associated with increased rates of complications, discharging patients early put more pressure on the patients and their caregivers to pursue optimal postoperative care. However, caregiver don’t have the expertise or trained eye to know when things are problematic until it could be too late, and health professionals have little knowledge of what happens between discharge and the standard follow-up appointment.

The startup Seremedi is determined to make the clinical and caregiving team work together to optimize postoperative care, and has developed a software package called CareScriptions. The software contains a library of procedures and how to best manage home care after a specific surgery, whether it is surgical oncology treatment, orthopedic surgery, or an organ transplant. Patients are trained in how to use the application, and are given a link to download the software to a personal device. The software include reminders to log vital statistics, take medications, etc., and give clinicians the opportunity to monitor the information and contact the patient via a web phone if irregularities are identified.

Seremedi was founded by Kim Bond Evans after her mother passed away due to complications after a routine back surgery. As she processed the loss of her mother, she took a technologist’s approach to understand what happened. She did research, interviewed doctors, and decided that the problem could be solved. She was determined to create a link between clinical staff and caregivers, and set out to develop the technology that could help prevent what happened to her mother.

The innovative telemedicine solution is based on an experience that unfortunately many have each year. How Kim Bond Evans turned this experience into a business idea is both admirable and inspirational, and has through this acquired a unique understanding of a growing problem in healthcare. Growing re-admission rates suggest a lack of appropriate coordination of post-discharge care, increasing the strain on the healthcare system. CareScriptions could significantly lower these rates, potentially saving hospitals millions. But most importantly, the solution put the patient in focus while giving clinicians accurate information on optimal postoperative measures even after patients are discharged, potentially helping thousands who are at risk of postoperative complications.

The software was launched in the fall 2015, and is currently being used by about 200 patients. The startup charges a $50,000 implementation fee and a per patient fee of $1,000 with volume discounts. They recently raised $1.7 million in seed funding from angel investors, and is planning to deploy their software to teaching hospitals at New York University and Ohio State University.

Eira Biotech Develop Nanocarriers To Deliver Drugs Past The Blood-Brain Barrier

Eira Biotech Develop Nanocarriers To Deliver Drugs Past The Blood-Brain Barrier
The blood-brain barrier is a network of blood vessels that allow the entry of essential nutrients while blocking other substances. Unfortunately, this barrier is so effective at protecting against foreign substances that it often prevents life-saving drugs. Despite extensive research efforts, an estimated 98 percent of potential drug treatments for brain disorders are unable to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. As a result, there are limited options for patients with brain tumors and other neurological diseases.
The Melbourne, Australia-based startup Eira Biotech is developing customizable nanocarriers to boost the efficacy of therapeutic biomolecules. They specialize in targeting difficult-to-reach biological sites, and are determined to pass the blood-brain barriers to deliver therapeutics. By engineering these nanocarriers, they can vary the amount of drug administered; protect it from difficult and harsh biological conditions, while at the same time exploit the specific characteristics of the targeted sites.
Despite some progress the last years in drug delivery through the blood brain barrier, it has been slow due to lack of funding and interest from the industry. Big pharma has been cautious, and are focusing on areas with greater chances of success. Eira Biotech’s innovative approach could revolutionize how we treat devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and brain cancers, allowing for smaller doses of existing therapeutics, reducing side effects, and lowering costs for patients. In addition, the startup’s nanocarriers could yield new therapeutics that benefit a wide range of diseases, also outside the brain.
While traditional big pharma is still cautious in trying new ways of getting past the blood-brain barrier, we see much of the innovation in this field coming from small companies like Eira Biotech. They have a determination and fearlessness that is near impossible to replicate in larger organizations. And although there are obvious risks associated with pursuing such programs, they could offer high returns if successful. Eira Biotech definitely have a huge potential, and their vision and technology could help millions of people worldwide who currently have very few treatment options.
The startup was part of Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) in 2015 and was a semi-finalist at OneStart 2016, the world’s largest life sciences and healthcare startup accelerator program.

Lyndra's Innovative Technology To Revolutionize How We Take Medicine

Lyndra's Innovative Technology To Revolutionize How We Take Medicine
Optimal healthcare outcomes often rely on adherence to recommended treatment regimens. Nonadherence is a threat to health and wellness, yet patient compliance is estimated to be approximately 50% in developed countries and even lower in the developing world. This carry a massive economic burden, and in USA alone economists estimate it to costs over $100 billion per year. To tackle this problem, scientists have been trying to develop extended drug release technology for over 30 years. Finding new and innovative solutions to extend delivery beyond the 12 to 24 hours of current oral formulations on the market could play an important role in the treatment of many diseases.
The Cambridge, MA-based startup Lyndra, comprised of MIT and Harvard scientists, has developed a technology that extends oral drug delivery beyond one week. The release formulation uses FDA-approved and inexpensive materials, that allow for the development of orally delivered capsules that can release drugs over a number of days, weeks, or potentially months following a single administration. The created polymer gel, that is elastic and can be folded into a capsule, is pH-responsive and stable in the acidic stomach environment. However, it dissolves in the small intestine’s near-neutral pH, allowing it to safely pass through the remainder of the gastrointestinal tract. In over 150 pig experiments, the technology has not shown any adverse events, no clinically apparent symptoms, and no visible mucosal injury on endoscopic evaluations.
The innovative new technology has a huge potential to improve adherence, improving pharmacokinetic profiles, and at the same time decrease potential of antibiotic resistance. The technology could even give better access to care, for example in rural areas, and a single-administration delivery system could benefit treatment of malaria and other diseases that often requires multiple drugs over long periods. The effect this could have on millions of people worldwide, and their everyday life, is staggering, and the technology is likely to significantly reduce billions of dollars each year associated with medication nonadherence.
Lyndra was founded by Robert Langer, Giovanni Traverso and Amy Schulman, and they are currently collaborating with leading pharmaceutical partners to develop extended release formulations of their products. The startup recently received $5.4 million in funding according to a regulatory filing, and the research behind the technology has been funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.