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Neuro Startup Challenge Winners Try To Commercialize NIH Inventions

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healthcare for their animals these days, Angio360 says, and they might be willing to try new diagnostic and treatment options. “Cancer is the leading cause of death in both canines and felines, but the tools to accurately detect tumor growth are largely ineffective,” the company says. Its diagnostic “toolkit will fulfill this unmet need by offering pet owners an inexpensive and non-invasive test to confirm cancer diagnosis, while enabling veterinarians the ability to develop more personalized and cost-effective treatment plans.”

Going after the veterinary market first, which has fewer regulatory hurdles, means Angio360 should be able to start generating revenue faster than if it went after FDA approval for a human cancer diagnostic first. It intends to use the revenue from its animal cancer diagnostic business to help fund its entrance into human cancer diagnostics and decrease the need for additional venture capital.

That was an approach that seemed to resonate with contest judges. It certainly impressed Truman, who called Angio360’s plan a “very creative bootstrapping model” that is “operationally achievable.” “I’m very excited about their plan because of the feasibility,” she says. “I can’t imagine an investor would say no to them because they’re de-risking in a lot of different ways.”

Angio360 has gotten some early validation from at least one potential backer. Bridge to Cures, the Milwaukee nonprofit helping to train and fund local biotech startups, has offered the startup up to $50,000, Cossette says. That’s contingent on the company securing matching private funding, and the deal would need final approval from the Bridge to Cures board and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., which provides funding to Bridge to Cures, she says.

Daniel Sem, Bridge to Cures CEO, says Angio360 is a “very promising startup.” “Their approach of first targeting the veterinary market with the cancer biomarker-based diagnostic they plan to develop is very pragmatic, yet has potential for significant upside as well,” Sem says in an e-mail message. “It is also great to see them attempting to leverage latent NIH [intellectual property] assets via this program.”

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