WSU Student-Led SIB Medical Technologies Prepares Prototype for Market
Sagor Bhuiyan and Adham Aljahmi aren’t your typical college seniors. In addition to being pre-med students, they’ve launched SIB Medical Technologies, a startup that aims to commercialize at-home stool sample collection kits that they say are simpler and less likely to expose patients to toxic materials.
Bhuiyan learned of the device, which was invented by Wayne State University (WSU) Professor Jeffrey L. Ram, through the university’s technology commercialization department.
SIB Medical Technologies’ device simplifies the stool sample collection process, which can typically get messy and involve multiple components.“It’s a two-compartment device,” he explains. “You pull the lever and there’s no need to put the sample in separate vials, and there’s no mixing.”
Bhuiyan says he and Aljahmi were interested in founding a startup because they saw a way to solve a simple need that also has forensic applications. Bhuiyan and Aljami signed up for WSU’s Blackstone Launchpad program, which nurtures student-led startups, and they officially formed SIB Medical Technologies in January 2013.
Since that time, SIB has gone on to snag $5,000 from WSU’s Warrior Fund, and mentoring plus a $7,500 resident technology commercialization grant from the TechTown business accelerator. In November, the company came in second place and won $15,000 in the student portion of the annual Accelerate Michigan business competition.
“We’re working hard on our next iteration,” Bhuiyan says. “The initial prototype lacks a few design elements before it goes commercial. But so far, we’re getting pretty good and helpful doctor and patient feedback.”
Bhuiyan hopes to have the device on the market by the summer. The company hasn’t settled on a revenue model, but Bhuiyan says they’ll either try to license the technology or sell it themselves. The company is also looking into a formal fundraising round in the near future.
Bhuiyan is quick to credit Blackstone for playing a big role in helping the company prepare to bring its device to market. In the past, he started a social networking site for young professionals and a mobile app, but they failed fairly quickly, so Blackstone helped usher him to the next startup opportunity.
“Being a student and also trying to start a company was an eye-opening experience,” Bhuiyan adds. “But I definitely encourage other students to pursue starting their own business.”