Company: Silicon Biodevices
School: University of California, Berkeley
Team members: Octavian Florescu, Bert Francis, Karl Skucha, Tayson Siegel
4th place winner
Concept: The most accurate tests for HIV require the patient to wait several days while lab work is performed. Silicon Biodevices is developing a low-cost microchip, the HemaScreen, that can quickly and easily diagnose HIV and be used in any location with minimal human intervention. The team has working prototypes of three components and is in the process of merging them into a single device.
"Our first markets are private practices and small clinics that lack laboratory testing infrastructure," says president and CTO Octavian Florescu. "Once the manufacturing scales have been brought up and costs brought down, we intend to market our products to developing nations, where infectious diseases pose acute societal problems."
Timeline: The team plans to acquire venture capital, establish a lab, and prototype the hand-held whole blood analyzer within a year.
"We can manufacture, assemble and bio-functionalize our product using existing mass-production capacity, so we do not have the massive capital outlays associated with most medical device companies," Florescu says. "This is a bad time to raise money, but initial VC response has been encouraging."
The following two years will be spent developing distribution partnerships and obtaining FDA approval of the device. -Rose Fox
NEXT: Energy efficiency by remote control