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New tech from startup could create faster, cheaper and better ways to identify disease

Imagine waiting 36 hours for a lab report to determine if you have sepsis, a life-threatening infection that causes inflammation throughout your body.

A team of entrepreneurs at RiboDynamics, a UConn-affiliated startup, believes the wait time can be reduced to two hours using a new medical technology that detects pathogens in biological material based on the presence of specific RNA biomarkers. I’m here.

“This is a life-changing technology for both patients and providers,” says Professor Dan Fabris of the Department of Chemistry. “This allows patients to receive appropriate treatment without delay, increasing their chances of faster healing and hopefully avoiding ICU stays. It leads to speed and significant savings of up to $70,000 per patient in healthcare costs.”

Developed over the last decade, the technology also shows promise for many other pathogens, including HIV, hepatitis C, and COVID-19.

RiboDynamics Identified as Promising Startup

RiboDynamics participated in the School of Business’s Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CCEI) Summer Fellowship this year. This program helps UConn companies grow and get closer to market readiness.

RiboDynamics impressed the judges at the Summer Fellowship finale and the company was invited to compete in the Wolff New Venture Competition for a $25,000 prize. The event on Monday, October 3rd is CCEI’s premier entrepreneurship challenge.

Limin Deng, a postdoc at the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, represented the company on a CCEI Summer Fellowship. She has played a key role in the development of the technology and throughout the company.

“I had to learn to be a business person from being a scientist,” says Deng. “At first, it was difficult to explain our work. We are trained to talk to other scientists and end-users. I had to learn to explain in very simple terms.”

“CCEI Summer Fellowships really help startups get to market. He added that he is happy to share ideas.

Exploring RNA before it became ‘common’

Fabris says he has been interested in RNA technology since the early 2000s. That was before RNA technology became commonplace in science and popularized by mRNA vaccines. He started this particular work as his SUNY Albany faculty and applied for and later obtained a patent in 2006.

“We have already demonstrated that we can detect Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli in milk and Zika virus in mosquitoes,” he says. “We are currently testing its application in human diagnosis of infectious diseases and other health conditions.”

The entrepreneur is working with the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts to investigate how well the test works in patients who have recently had hip replacement surgery.

“We are very advanced in technology and company development,” says Fabris. “We are at a point where we need investors and we need to focus on sales and marketing.”

“As evidenced by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare sector is severely lacking reliable high-throughput diagnostic technologies for pathogens and infectious diseases,” he says. “If we can get diagnostic results as early as possible, we can improve overall outcomes for virtually every type of disease.”

The 2022 Wolff New Venture Competition will be held on October 3 from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Observatory of the Graduate Business Learning Center in Hartford.We will also broadcast live on : event is open to the public.