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Rubitection’s Founder and CEO, Dr. Sanna Gaspard.

Upstate’s CNY Biotech Accelerator selects Medical Device Innovation Challenge teams from largest pool of applications ever

After receiving the largest batch of applications in the competition’s history, Upstate Medical University’s CNY Biotech Accelerator (CNYBAC) has selected its 2021 Medical Device Innovation Challenge (MDIC) participants. The teams will participate in the Empire State Development grant-supported, mentor-intensive program, now in its fifth year. 

“We are very excited about the six selected teams, three of which are women-founded companies,” said Kathi Durdon, MA, CCRP, executive director of the CNYBAC. “Our graduate teams to date have generated significant achievements and we’re confident the latest cohort of innovative teams will achieve similar success.” 

Durdon noted that the pool of applications also included the greatest number of Upstate-founded company applications at four. The committee selected one of those teams and the other three are receiving independent support through the SUNY Research Foundation and The Innovation Law Center. Participating teams may participate from anywhere in the United States. Five 2021 teams are from New York state and the other is based in Pennsylvania.

“We had a great response from mentors this year as well,” Durdon said. “We are able to team up four to five mentors per team. Mentors are aligned based on team needs – regulatory, manufacturing, product design, intellectual property protection, etc.” 

MDIC participants receive six months of intensive mentorship, Innovation Law Center commercialization research, free work space and use of equipment in the CNYBAC Creation Garage if elected, as well as access to Upstate academic medical center expertise and CORE facilities throughout the six-month program.


The 2021 Medical Device Innovation Challenge selected participants are:


Oratel Diagnostics

Endometriosis affects millions of girls and women of reproductive age globally, who are likely to experience severe pelvic pain and infertility. Oratel Diagnostics is designing a sensitive and specific, non-invasive test to detect endometriosis to decrease health care costs and improve the health and wellbeing of girls and women with the disease. Protected by four issued patents, this New York-based company has formed a collaborative team with more than 30 years’ experience in bio-engineering, computation biology and reproductive epidemiology.



Rubitection’s chronic skin health assessment and care management system, the Rubitect™ Assessment System (RAS), improves the early assessment and management of wounds, dermatological conditions and vascular conditions with an initial application to bedsore prevention, an $11 billion healthcare problem. The RAS provides a measurement device and care management platform to monitor the signs of inflammation in the skin to support early detection, prevention and personalized care management.


Dancing Eyes

Dancing Eyes aims to help healthcare providers overcome the complexity and entanglement of eye movement disorders, and provide a more reliable diagnosis and treatment for common conditions such as vertigo or double vision. Dancing Eyes is an interactive, virtual-reality-based head-worn device that the company hopes can improve the care of patients with vertigo and other eye disorders, and expedite the treatment of their most serious causes, such as strokes.



Autism rates are rising across the world, there is no cure and parents are desperate. Annual autism costs in US are expected to reach $450 billion by 2025. JelikaLite is developing Cognilum™, an innovative solution to permanently reduce children's autism symptoms, enabling better integration into society and reducing lifelong costs. Cognilum is a data-device integrated system, where a wearable therapeutic medical device is combined with an AI-based learning platform.


DB Therapeutics
DB Therapeutics is an early-stage medical device company poised to commercialize a convenient and cost-effective holmium radiotherapeutic bandage to treat skin cancer lesions. The radiotherapeutic bandage offers accessibility and patient convenience like no other skin cancer therapy currently available on the market.



MindTrace leverages machine learning to enable neurosurgical teams to simulate a resection plan and predict that patient’s cognitive outcome – all before the very first incision, or in real-time during surgery. Put simply, MindTrace helps neurosurgeons visualize and understand why some surgical routes are better for certain patients than others, and where you would have an accident before the accident ever happens…all to ensure that patients do not take a ‘hit’ to an important cognitive domain after surgery.


Caption: At left is Sanna Gaspard, PhD, founder and CEO of Rubitection. At right is the CNY Biotech Accelerator.