(Photo by Lindsay Podraza)
Monday night’s finalist ideas for Hen Hatch, the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship’s startup funding competition, were a varied bunch. You had Dutch waffle cookies, an efficient wallet, even a device for curing dental molds.
While all six finalist groups won money and prizes, the two biggest winners of the night — one from the student group, the other from the alumni/staff/faculty group — had a medical theme and the least tangible products of the groups.
The first-place student team of four College of Engineering students raked in a $16,800 check. JADE Biotech developed Chroma, a solution for disposing unused liquid narcotics in hospitals.
The group chose the project because they heard Nemours was actively seeking a way to better get rid of narcotics waste. There have also been increasing accounts of fraudulent drug diversion in hospitals across the country, they said.
Here’s how Chroma, which has a patent pending, works: Unused liquid narcotics are injected into a single-use aptamer cartridge. Inside the cartridge is an aptamer whose DNA binds tightly with the drug, and when combined with nanoparticles in the cartridge, the solution turns a specific color. An automated reader then verifies if the correct drug was disposed of in the cartridge.
“We’re just really excited and really lucky to have such a great team,” said Daniel Charytonowicz shortly after winning. He and team members Elizabeth Soulas, John Lowman and Allison Lisberg also emphasized the invaluable input they got from their adviser, Jeannie Stephens.
The other big winner of the night was John Erbey, a 1993 alum from the College of Health Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. in epidemiology from Pitt.
Erbey is founder and CEO of Strataca Systems, LLC, an Atlanta-based medical device company. His big idea is revolutionizing the treatment of acute kidney injury.
The product he’s working on is JuxtaFlow, which, metaphorically speaking, would allow the ambulance in a big traffic jam to get to the accident quickly, efficiently and without harming anything. Acute kidney injury is generally caused by some kind of blockage or poor blood flow to the kidneys.
JuxtaFlow, Erbey said, would mostly treat intensive care patients and would reduce the need for dialysis, hospital readmission rates, cost of care, and most importantly, increase survival.
He needs to observe eight to 10 patients to support his submission to the Food and Drug Administration before putting it on the market, and he said he’d like to commercially launch in 2018.
Erbey has conducted preclinical experiments, he said, and the technology of JuxtaFlow is indeed needed. “Therapy today consists of crossing your fingers and praying,” he said.
He estimated JuxtaFlow could be a $1.5 billion market. As the alumni Hen Hatch winner, he took home $21,500.
The other finalists:
Students Farhad Baqi, Sayar Baqi and Edward Bayley with their Curing Cube for dentists, in which LED light cures from all angles quickly, efficiently and without added heat. Dental curing technology hasn’t been updated since 1994, they said.
Student Joost Elling, who created Joost Wafel Co., which sells award-winning Stroopwafels. (And no, he doesn’t bake them in his dorm room, but in a Newark cafe’s kitchen at night.)
Alumnus Jonathan Hoxter, who created NERDiT NOW with Markevis Gideon, which is a cell, tablet and laptop-fixing business on wheels. They’re working to partner with big employers in Newark and Wilmington to take their truck (“The Motherboard”) to their parking lots.-30-
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