Biotechnology / Roundups / Startups

5 Delaware biotech startups to watch

University of Delaware is a producer of biotech startups. Here are a few we have our eye on.

If this is what you picture when you hear the word "biotech," read on. (Photo by Flickr user Bill Dickinson, used under a Creative Commons license)

This editorial article is a part of's Growing Industries month, when Delaware is focusing extra reporting on the topic of biotech.

To round out Growing Industries month at, which in Delaware has focused on biotechnology, we’re shining a light on five biotech startups you might not be familiar with with founders who’ve attended University of Delaware.

(Why biotech? The life sciences field is to Delaware’s future as chemical engineering was to its past. When we talk about tech startups in the First State, we’re likely talking about a medical device or agricultural innovation rather than a web application.)

From agriculture to rehabilitation to robotics data, here an end-of-month roundup, in no particular order:

Patient Sortal

Founded by UD grad Kenny Ecks, a dual master’s degree recipient, Patient Sortal is a blockchain-based healthcare data management system for patients with ongoing medical conditions such as chronic diseases or disabilities.

“I started this company in fall of 2017 and since have turned an idea into a business that manages protected health information and provides each member of a patients care team with complete health records to decrease the cost of healthcare, increase the quality of care, and increase quality of life in Delawareans,” Ecks said.

TRIC Robotics

“Strawberries are number one on the dirty dozen — that means more pesticides are used on them then any other fruit or vegetable,” said Adam Stager, founder of Hen Hatch 2019 alumni semi-finalist TRIC Robotics, which is commercializing an automated, non-chemical alternative to pesticides for strawberries.

“Automation,” he said, “will have a significant impact on crop production and agriculture in the future.”


The Delaware ankle-foot orthosis device (AFO) recently landed a $160,000 QED grant from University City Science Center in Philadelphia. Founder Ahad Behboodi will join the Blue Hen Proof of Concept (BH-POC) program as a Postdoctoral Innovation Fellow upon his graduation in the spring. The product: a soft mechanized brace for children with cerebral palsy.

Spekticon BioSciences

With the rapid increase of indoor vertical farming, Spekticon uses tech monitor crop plant health and detect stress detection, increasing productivity. Founder Dr. Andy Ragone sees the industry growing along with indoor farming as sensor scanning speed increases, and eventually, the tech moves to include outdoor farming productivity support.

Delaware BioPlastics

A semifinalist in the 2019 Alumni track of Hen Hatch, Delaware BioPlastics upcycles inexpensive, abundant biomass into high-value performance polymers. In other words, it takes organic material such as plants and fibers and turns them into plastics, cutting down on non-biodegradable waste in landfills.

FYI, we’re keeping the Biotech realLIST nomination form open — a bigger, intricately ranked list may be in the future.

Nominate a company for the Biotech realLIST
Companies: University of Delaware

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