Introducing the Summer 2017 Harvard Innovation Labs Health and Science Ventures

This summer, The Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem is supporting 37 health and science ventures addressing an incredibly wide range of challenges, from creating more effective cancer therapies to reducing infant exposure to asthma-causing pollutants.

Interestingly, the entrepreneurs involved in these companies do not all have traditional health or science backgrounds and they come from schools as diverse as the Divinity School, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard College, and the Graduate School of Design. The variety of founders’ backgrounds underscores the Harvard Innovation Labs’ operating principle that successful innovation requires a true diversity of ideas.

“Many first-time founders in the Health and Sciences space are motivated to have impact on patients, but lack an understanding of the industry and context that they have to navigate.” says Alice Ly, the Associate Director for Health and Sciences. “Ventures at the Harvard Innovation Labs have the benefit of connecting with and being advised by a variety of stakeholders in their industry and others — that is unique to any other place at Harvard.”

Overall, the founders represent 9 of the 12 Harvard schools, including Harvard Medical School, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard Business School, the School of Public Health, and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

The Harvard Innovation Labs are a dynamic incubator 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 Launch Lab, a collaborative co-working space and resource-supported community for high-potential early-stage startups.

The 37 health and science ventures fit broadly into five categories: Cancer and HIV; Therapeutics, Diagnostics and Prevention; Medical Devices and Software; Software for Monitoring Health; and Accessing Healthcare.

 

Cancer and HIV

  • Adamantis Pharmaceutica is developing immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases and cancers by specifically targeting either pro-immune or pro-tolerance cell-types.
  • 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 identifies and develops biological discoveries. The company’s lead candidate — Nivien — is a therapy for treatment-resistant cancers.
  • Harmonus is developing an MRI-guided prostate biopsy system to improve diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer through better visualization and targeting of tumors.
  • Shepherd Therapeutics is a patient-centered biotechnology company aimed at developing drugs and therapies for a portfolio of rare cancers.
  • UrSure is produce patient-friendly, affordable, accurate urine tests for people taking the medication PrEP, to protect vulnerable patients from HIV infection.

 

Therapeutics

  • Akouos is developing novel therapies and delivery systems to prevent hearing loss and restore hearing in genetically-defined patient populations.
  • Beacon Genomics enables safer genome editing via its exclusively-licensed off-target specificity assays: GUIDE-Seq and CIRCLE-Seq.
  • Blue Therapeutics is developing potent, non-addictive painkillers.
  • Gel4Med focuses on engineering smart materials to solve challenging problems in regenerative medicine.
  • GRO Biosciences produces high-value protein therapeutics in microbes that must traditionally be made in expensive mammalian systems. Using proprietary genomically recoded organisms (GROs), they engineer proteins with previously inaccessible stabilizing bonds to facilitate inexpensive microbial fermentation, fast production lead times, and longer serum half-life of recombinant proteins.
  • Riparian Pharmaceuticals is translating novel biology of the blood vessel wall into new therapeutics to promote vascular health.
  • Sophros is a biotherapeutics company developing treatments for obesity and metabolic diseases using new therapeutic targets and delivery mechanisms.
  • X-Cor Therapeutics develops advanced medical devices, specializing in dialysis-like carbon dioxide removal systems.

 

Prevention and Diagnostics

  • Blue Skies keeps urban families healthier and safer by reducing exposure to asthma-causing pollutants.
  • Day Zero Diagnostics is using genome sequencing and machine learning to modernize infectious disease diagnosis and facilitate faster diagnosis of dangerous bacterial infections.
  • miniPCR’s mission is to give everyone access to DNA experimentation through its miniPCR machine, which enables DNA analysis at a fraction of the cost and through a simple and educational interface.
  • PathoVax LLC is developing a best-in-class prophylactic Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine technology called RGVax, targeting all 15 cancer-causing strains.
  • Vaxess enables next generation vaccines. The company has combined VC funding with grants and partnerships to advance 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.
  • XGenomes believes that gene sequencing is critical for sustaining healthy societies, but that current technologies do not meet the required specifications for doing so.
  • Parsagen Diagnostics is developing medical devices focused on women’s health.

 

Medical Devices

  • Aeiyr develops affordable, paper-based wearable health devices to monitor respiration.
  • Agile Devices aims to transform a wide variety of interventional procedures, resulting in improved patient outcomes and large cost savings.
  • AUGMENTx uses augmented reality to accelerate the neurological recovery of patients living with stroke, limb amputation, and chronic pain.
  • Impact Neuro is developing a wearable device that can detect the incidence of concussion based on a 90-second task measuring eye and body movements.
  • Medical Surface is developing innovative coating technologies that will improve the biocompatibility and performance of implanted and wearable biosensors and medical devices.
  • Raiing provides wireless thermometers for continuous temperature monitoring and fertility tracking.
  • Z Imaging is developing an augmented reality system to help surgeons operate faster and more safely.

 

Healthcare IT and Digital Health

  • Apio is a technological platform enabling healthcare providers to effectively recruit and manage temporary staff at a fraction of current commission costs.
  • Avant-garde Health empowers hospitals and clinicians with information and insights to deliver the highest quality, most cost-effective care.
  • Herald Health is a notification platform that allows healthcare providers to create and subscribe to push notifications for important clinical data.
  • Nella revolutionizes how families interface with the healthcare system by delivering timely and affordable home care to low-income Americans.
  • Reverie Labs provides state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to pharmaceutical companies in an attempt to improve the drug design pipeline.
  • TetraScience is applying the Internet-of-Things to laboratories.

 

Health and Wellness 

  • BeWedFit is a digital health platform that helps engaged couples lose weight for their wedding and maintain healthy behaviors long after the “I do’s”.
  • Gain Life delivers lifestyle-focused digital health coaching to combat serious, but preventable, chronic disease.
  • illume healthcare is a best-in-class affinity program sold to health plans to engage and provide value to their hard-to-reach young active members.