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CNYBAC selects 5 Medical Device Innovation teams

Upstate Medical University’s CNY Biotech Accelerator (CNYBAC) has selected its 2023 Medical Device Innovation Challenge (MDIC) teams.

The MDIC teams will participate in the Empire State Development grant-supported program, now in its seventh year. Teams are chosen by the MDIC Review Committee, a select group of subject matter experts.  

“We are very excited about the teams selected,” said Kathi Durdon, MA, CCRP, executive director of the CNYBAC. “These are medical device innovators working to commercialize exciting technology with the intent to positively impact how patients are diagnosed and treated. 

“We have graduated 33 teams to date with many of our graduates generating significant milestones, such as receiving grant awards, winning competitions, partnering with Upstate researchers and being accepted into accelerator programs,” Durdon said. “We have wonderful mentor support in areas such as regulatory, product development, startup company commercialization, intellectual property protection and funding support. Our mentors are the key to the program's success.”

Not only do the MDIC participants receive intensive targeted mentorship and a wealth of matched resources from a strong New York state innovation ecosystem, they also receive student-based commercialization research through NYSTAR asset partner, the Innovation Law Center.  CNYBAC offers selected team’s workspace and access to prototyping equipment in the CNYBAC Creation Garage as well as coordinated connections to Upstate Medical University research and clinical expertise and CORE facilities throughout the six-month program.

 The 2023 Medical Device Innovation Challenge participants are:


Chronic wounds are common, costly, and especially impact older adults. Pressure injuries (bed sores) affect 2.5 million patients yearly in the U.S. and can become persistent and chronic, often frustrating healthcare providers due to adverse impact on patient quality of life. AngiOhm’s technology enables treatment of such soft tissue wounds by promoting growth of collateral blood vessels to increase blood flow to a targeted tissue, through application of patent-pending pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs). It is applicable to the field of regenerative medicine as it stimulates endothelial cells to populate avascular tissues through the processes of blood vessel sprouting and lumen formation. 

Team:  Wayne Patton, PhD, and Linghong Li, PhD

BiRed Imaging Inc.

BiRed is developing an adjunctive breast cancer detection technology that is comfortable, radiation-free, contact-free, operator-independent and breast density-independent. It is accurate and is expected to reduce the healthcare cost of breast cancer screening for women. It is based on an advanced machine-learning algorithm that uses breast surface temperature measurements to supplement mammography. BiRed is located in Rochester, N.Y. and is part of RIT’s Venture Creations Incubator. BiRed imaging system senses the altered temperatures on the surface of a breast from the increased metabolic activity of a cancerous tumor. It uses multispectral imaging that does not employ harmful radiations and is independent of breast density, which is a major concern in mammography. It uses well-established inverse heat transfer analysis to detect the tumor and predict its size and location within the breast. In preliminary clinical studies, this approach was used to study 24 biopsy-proven cancer patients with accurate predictions of tumor size and location. The contralateral breasts having no cancer were also correctly predicted. BiRed has successfully completed NSF SBIR Phase-I project and is preparing for submitting the Phase II proposal. It has one issued patent and two additional patents have been filed in the U.S. and foreign countries. 

Team: Satish Kandlikar, PhD, and Rhythm Patel

Lighthanded Enterprises

Lighthanded is enabling pediatricians to better diagnose fluid in the middle ear with a simple and effective tool that works in the existing clinical workflow. Its laser otoscope enables pediatricians to obtain up to 90 percent accuracy at detecting otitis media with effusion (OME). This revolutionary technology will enable millions of kids to be accurately diagnosed with OME and receive appropriate treatment. For providers, the laser otoscope removes uncertainty in diagnosis and will enable more appropriate, value-driven referrals.

Team: Steven Burns, CEO; Brecken Blackburn, PhD, CSO; Matt McPheeters, PhD, CTO

PodoSight, Inc.

Diabetic foot ulcers remain a significant disease burden in the growing diabetic population. Approximately one in five diabetics will eventually develop a foot ulcer. Unfortunately, diabetic patients are often unable to complete the daily foot exams necessary to ensure prevention of foot ulcers. We have developed a device that enables early detection of developing ulcers by capturing and processing high fidelity plantar surface images. Our digital imaging-based solution can be used independently by patients at home without any assistance. Using this assessment tool, a change in the patient's foot health can be detected prior to significant tissue damage.

Team: Ronald Miller, MD PhD; Daniel Ts'o, PhD

Advanced Gene Transfer Company (AGTC)

Current cell therapy technologies rely on the delivery of a genetic payload via retroviral infection, electroporation, or other methodology that can damage cell integrity and limits the extent of material that can be transfected into the cell. AGTC is developing a carbon nanotube technology (CNT), co-invented at the University of Rochester and The Rochester Institute of Technology, to build a device that allows for high-efficiency nonviral gene transfer without inducing cell damage. Our goal is to expedite cellular immunotherapy production using our proprietary CNT device that will improve dosage manufacturing, lower costs, and expedite delivery of these critical treatments. AGTC is supported by an SBIR from NIH to optimize its CNT device, scale production, and show proof of concept using primary human lymphocytes.      

Team lead: Omar Bakht (CEO)
Team: Ian Dickerson (CSO), Michael Schrlau (CTO), Shafaqat Rahman, Mujtaba Siddiqui


Caption: Wayne Patton, PhD, and Linghong Li, PhD, represent AngiOhm, a medical device that uses technology to treat soft tissue wounds, such as bed sores.