Introducing the Fall 2017 Harvard Innovation Labs Health and Life Sciences Ventures

This fall, the Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem is supporting 46 health and life sciences ventures. These startups are addressing an incredibly wide range of challenges, from organizing complex medical data for hospitals and researchers to making ultrasound exams easier to perform.

“The challenges that these ventures are tackling are all incredibly complex, some have existed for decades, while others are new obstacles facing humanity,” says Alice Ly, the Associate Director for Health and Sciences. “It is incredibly inspiring to see how this cohort is using a combination of cutting-edge technology and creative problem solving to address problems that impact populations around the globe.”

These health and life sciences ventures account for 31% of all ventures within the Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem. The founders represent 9 of the 12 Harvard schools, including Harvard Medical School, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard Business School, Harvard College, the School of Dental Medicine, Kennedy School, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Divinity School, and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The variety of founders’ backgrounds underscores the Harvard Innovation Labs’ operating principle that successful innovation requires a true diversity of ideas.

The Harvard Innovation Labs are a dynamic ecosystem that unleashes the innovative power of individuals in the Harvard community and helps them take their ideas further, faster. Student-based ventures are housed in the Harvard i-lab, an educational collaborative for all current students from any Harvard school, and alumni ventures are headquartered in the Launch Lab, a collaborative co-working space and resource-supported community for high-potential early-stage startups. Our newest space, the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab, houses high-potential early-stage life sciences startups.

The 46 health and life sciences ventures fit broadly into six categories: Cancer and HIV; Therapeutics, Prevention and Diagnosis; Medical Devices; Healthcare IT and Digital Health; and Health and Wellness.

Cancer and HIV

Aldatu Biosciences is a biotechnology company applying its proprietary genotyping platform — PANDAA — to the development of innovative diagnostics designed to address unmet clinical needs in infectious disease. Aldatu’s lead product is a low-cost HIV-drug-resistance genotyping test designed to guide clinical decision-making in resource-limited healthcare settings.

General Biotechnologies sources exciting biomedical projects from tech transfer. Our lead program, Nivien Therapeutics, develops small molecules to enhance IO-chemo combos.

UrSure is an HIV prevention company focused on helping doctors identify which of their patients are not taking their HIV preventive medications.

Shepherd Therapeutics is a patient-centered biotechnology company aimed at developing drugs and therapies for a portfolio of rare cancers.

WntRx Pharmaceuticals’ goal is to improve health outcomes for cancer patients by targeting the historically “undruggable” Wnt signaling pathway.


Akouos is developing novel therapies and delivery systems to prevent hearing loss and restore hearing in genetically-defined patient populations.

Blue Therapeutics is developing potent, non-addictive painkillers.

GRO Biosciences produces high-value protein therapeutics in microbes that must traditionally be made in expensive mammalian systems.

Octagon Therapeutics has developed a novel screening technology for identifying drug candidates with efficacy against highly resistant bacterial infections.

Riparian Pharmaceuticals is translating novel biology of the blood vessel wall into new therapeutics to promote vascular health.

Prevention and Diagnosis

AirCrew develops advanced catalytic materials to address global needs for air purification for residential, industrial, and automotive sectors.

Arbothera is creating a rapid response platform to combat global infectious diseases by designing “hyper” rational vaccines based on pathogen genomics and host immunological pathways.

Accure Health is a smart diagnostics company. They develop and integrate miniaturized biosensor technologies and digital healthcare solutions to enable fast, cost-effective, and highly-accurate cancer diagnosis in point-of-care settings, and to facilitate real-time patient monitoring and personalized treatment.

Blue Skies reduces the health toll of air pollution.

Day Zero Diagnostics is focused on antibiotic resistance prediction using whole genome sequencing for fast diagnosis of bacterial infections.

Jane Diagnostics has developed an accurate and affordable point-of-care diagnostic test to rapidly expand access to cervical cancer screening.

Parsagen Diagnostics is currently developing medical devices focused on Women’s Health.

PlenOptika is enabling eye care for all with the QuickSee — a simple, affordable device that prescribes eyeglasses at the push of a button.

PathoVax has developed a vaccine that prevents all cancers caused by HPV, which we are advancing into human clinical trials.

Vaxess enables next generation vaccines. The company has advanced two platforms: Matrix, a formulation and drying system that reduces the need for cold storage of vaccines and diagnostics, and Mimix, a sustained-release patch for delivery of vaccines and therapeutics, offering simplified administration and enhanced efficacy. 

Medical Devices

Agile Devices aims to transform a wide variety of interventional procedures, resulting in improved patient outcomes and large cost savings.

AUGMENTx plays a visual mind trick on the brain using augmented reality to accelerate neurological recovery in patients.

Cellino enables gene therapy companies to deliver gene-editing cargo to cells with ease and exceptional performance.

Gel4Med focuses on engineering smart materials to solve challenging problems in regenerative medicine.

Harmonus makes a MRI-guided prostate biopsy system to improve diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer through visualization and targeting of tumors.

Lynceus is making ultrasound exams for potentially lethal medical issues so easy that they could be performed by any health care provider instead of a specialist.

Medical Surface develops innovative coating technologies that improves the biocompatibility and performance of implanted and wearable biosensors/medical devices.

miniPCR’s mission is to give everyone access to DNA experimentation. Our miniPCR machine enables DNA analysis at a fraction of the cost and through a simple and educational interface.

Obsidio Medical is restoring health and extending life by stopping unwanted blood flow through vessels anywhere in the body.

Raiing provides wireless thermometers for continuous temperature monitoring and fertility tracking.

X-Cor Therapeutics is inventing dialysis for lung function.

Z Imaging is developing an augmented reality system to help surgeons operate safer and faster.

Digital and Healthcare Technologies

Apio enables healthcare providers to hire and manage temporary staff in an effective and efficient manner through its proprietary technology.

Avant-garde Health empowers hospitals and clinicians with information and insights to deliver the highest quality, most cost-effective care. 

Catalog is revolutionizing data storage by harnessing DNA, a material that is one million times more compact and one hundred times longer lasting than contemporary data storage mediums.  

Herald delivers doctors the patient data they need, when they need it.

Hurt Technologies Inc. is building an AI assistant to drive the use of preventative care to lower healthcare costs for individuals and increase revenue for doctors. 

Immunity Health organizes complex medical data and makes it useful to hospitals and researchers. 

Memora Health is a virtual health coach in your pocket. We help care teams automate patient instructions and FAQ 24/7 and rapidly triage symptoms.

Nella takes the annoying experience of getting triage advice for acute medical illnesses by putting on-demand access to healthcare in everyone’s hands.

TetraScience is applying the Internet-of-Things to laboratories.

Welly connects primary care physicians and specialists to better care for the self-pay patient who is paying for healthcare out-of-pocket.

XGenomes believes that gene sequencing is critical for sustaining healthy societies, but that current technologies do not meet the required specifications for doing so.

Health and Wellness

BeBabyFit delivers a digital health platform to planning couples to improve preconception health and improve health outcomes for both the baby and the mother.

Checkmate is a smartphone app created to both monitor and motivate blood-glucose tracking.

Gain Life delivers lifestyle-focused digital health coaching to combat serious, but preventable, chronic disease.