Two startup companies out of the University of Washington are looking to change the face of health care.
They recently took home the top two honors at the UW's 18th annual Business Plan Competition.
First-place winner, Vie Diagnostics, is developing a 10-minute DNA test that detects all infectious diseases. It would work like a home pregnancy test. The company is focusing on sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea because doctors say a fast test could do wonders for public health. Right now, people have to wait anywhere from three days to a week for results.
"We're bringing point of care at the front lines where it's really needed," Vie Diagnostic co-founder Charlie Corredor said.
The team is made up of Corredor, Babak Moghadam and Mark Borysiak. They're doctoral candidates in mechanical and chemical engineering.
"One of the biggest points for us as engineers is to translate our technology for something that consumers and people can use," Corredor added.
Vie Diagnostics recently walked away with first place and a $25,000 check from UW's business competition.
"They're inventing stuff that could really be game changers," said Connie Bourassa-Shaw, director for the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business.
Bourassa-Shaw said competition has never been more fierce.
The second-place winner, Empreva, is developing what may be the female birth control of the future . It's a dissolvable contraceptive for women that also prevents HIV.
"It is a little piece of polymer that you insert in (the) vagina either before or after sex," Bourassa-Shaw explained.
Vie Diagnostics said the $25,000 prize money will allow it to do some pre-clinical validation now.
It could be two years before the technology hits the market. It would be for doctors' offices first and the company ultimately wants to make it available for at-home use.
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