NEW HAVEN:The BioScience Pipeline Program, funded by Connecticut’s Quasi government venture capital firm Connecticut Innovations [CI], awarded grants to eight projects from local innovators affiliated with Yale University, the University of Connecticut (UConn), and Quinnipiac University.
The BioScience Pipeline program was founded in September 2015 to “enhance biomedical commercialization by providing milestone-based funding of up to $30,000 per project. In its fourth award round, this $500,000 per year pilot program provides critical funding to interdisciplinary ventures for business strategy, market definition, and prototyping activities. Awarded projects were selected based on their potential to create economic value and transform human health,” according to the news release of the awards by CI.
Half of the awards went to projects in the “digital healthcare space”, two of which include wearables.
- One project, led by Sandra Saldana, PhD, MBA, seeks to develop a wearable device to monitor neurological symptoms and provide earlier detection of stroke.
- Another project is an academic-industry proposal between Yale School of Medicine and Archetyp Mobility, a company that specializes in developing custom web and mobile-based applications for healthcare researchers. This project, led by E. Kevin Hall, MD, a pediatric cardiologist and Lajos Pusztai, MD, DPhil, Yale Chief of Breast Medical Oncology, will leverage BioScience Pipeline Funding to create web and cell phone applications and software tools to pair cancer patients with relevant, personalized clinical trials. Dr. Pusztai notes that "only 5% of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials in the USA…ultimately we hope that this tool will empower a larger number of patients to seek out and participate in clinical trials."
- Ludmila Kvochina, MD, PhD is leading a digital project from Quinnipiac University with John Huston, Nicholas Molina, Elena Bertozzi, PhD, and Norman Gray, PhD, that aims to help medical students improve their board scores.
- Baikun Li, PhD, PE, a UConn Centennial Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and her team are creating a wearable sensor to continually monitor skin physiology for an array of health-related conditions.
The other awards will according to CI “catalyze the development of various medical devices.”
- Corey Acker, PhD, of UConn Health Center, received a BioScience Pipeline award to optimize voltage-sensitive dyes to be used for cardiac safety studies and high-throughput drug screening.
- Assistant Professor Insoo Kim, PhD, also from the UConn Health Center, received an award to accelerate the development of more sensitive electronic hearing protection devices.
- A project led by Alexander Schulz, MD, PhD from Yale combines expertise in ovarian cancer biology and materials science to create a clinical device that can remove an important signaling molecule in cancer metastasis from the blood of cancer patients.
- Savas Tasoglu, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UConn, received a BioScience Pipeline Award to create a portable, low-cost device for at-home sperm fertility monitoring.
These eight awardees join 21 other funded projects from previous rounds, selected from 86 total applications over two years (with a funding rate of 34.5%).