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CNY Biotech Medical device competition won by start-ups targeting autism, bedsores

JelikaLite and Rubitection were chosen as winners at the annual Medical Device Innovation Challenge (MDIC) at the Central New York Biotech Accelerator.

The Jan. 25 event included four start-up companies virtually facing a panel of judges that included entrepreneurs and government economic development leaders. In addition, the program included presentations from companies that have graduated from the MDIC.

Rubitection has developed an optical device to measure skin health. Sanna Gaspard, PhD, the inventor of the technology and CEO of the company, explained that skin problems, specifically bedsores, are a serious healthcare problem. Bedsores trouble more than 2 million people a year, she said, leading to 60,000 deaths.

However, she explained the company realized that its solution could help with a number of  skin issues, including wounds, psoriasis and eczema and other skin conditions. Hospitals, nursing homes and even home care are target markets, with potential sales exceeding $1 billion.

JelikaLite CEO and Co-founder Katya Sverdlov, introduced the panel of judges to a non-invasive near-infrared light therapy the company is developing for those with autism. Called Congnilum, “it looks almost like a bandana and has embedded LEDs,” she explained.

The lights allow non-invasive brain stimulation through the skull. “This simulation has been shown to activate mitochondria, reduce brain inflammation and improve functional brain connectivity, all of which are especially important for treating autism,” she said, after describing young patients who saw their conditions improve after just weeks of treatment.

“The responses from parents and the child were moving and gave us all the validation that we needed to go on,” Sverdlov said. “To me, the most profound was the mother who heard from her son, for the first time, “I love you mommy,” and she cried.”

Congnilium has been granted breakthrough device designation by the FDA, she said.

Each company was awarded $2,250. A portion of the awards was made possible by support from CenterState CEO.

The MDIC is accepting applications for start-ups looking to participate in the 2022 competition. For more information, go to https://www.cnybac.com/medical-device-innovation-challenge-in-the-national-grid-creation-garage/


Caption: Representing the MDIC winners are, from left, Sanna Gaspard, PhD, of Rubitection, and JelikaLite CEO and co-founder Katya Sverdlov.