3Derm and Fluid-Screen Each Win $50k in 2014 MassChallenge


Biotech startups 3Derm and Fluid-Screen, both founded at SEAS, have each won $50,000 in the 2014 MassChallenge Awards competition. The teams will each use the award moneythe second highest amount awarded to any team in the competition—to continue development of their respective products.

The MassChallenge Awards competition is the startup community’s largest and highest-value event to celebrate innovation and support the world's most promising startups, with winners receiving prizes amounting to up to $1.75 million in cash and over $10 million in in-kind deals.

Selected from over 1650 applicants, the two startups were among 26 finalists to present one-minute pitches to the competition judges during the awards showcase presentation on Wednesday, Oct. 29.

The two Yale finalists, both of which developed out of research conducted at the University, were profiled in our story about the MassChallenge Awards earlier this week:

3Derm Systems was founded in 2012 by biomedical engineer Liz Asai and electrical engineer/computer scientist Elliot Swart based on technology they had created as Yale undergraduates; their inexpensive handheld imager takes 3D pictures of skin to enable dermatologists to remotely analyze and monitor patients’ skin conditions, with patients being able to upload new images over time; the technology helps patients and clinicians detect skin cancer at earlier, more treatable stages.

The team’s device—a prototype of which was built with the Center for Engineering Innovation & Design’s 3D printers for just $400—won $100,000 in the Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Technology’s Primary Healthcare Prize competition in 2011, and an additional $12,500 as the first place undergraduate winner in the Collegiate Inventors Competition. 3Derm continues to refine its system through privately funded contract development and manufacturing and is currently recruiting health networks for its 2015 pilot class.

Fluid-Screen, founded and managed by electrical engineering doctoral student Monika Weber, has met with similar success. The company's signature invention is a silicon-based disposable electronic biosensor that can detect bacteria in liquids like blood or water in less than 30 minutes. The speed of the technology enables users to quickly identify bacterial contaminants, providing a powerful detection tool with a wide range of applications.

With that promise, Weberworking at the time with chemical engineering doctoral candidate Şeyla Azoz, and School of Management MBA candidate Anthony Lynnmost recently won $25,000 in Yale's 2014 Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize and another $10,000 in the 2014 Yale Venture Challenge; previously, Weber had also won $20,000 in the 2011 Create the Future Design contest sponsored by NASA Tech Briefs magazine.

In addition to the technology, both Weber and Azoz credit their competition success to their participation in the School of Engineering’s Advanced Graduate Leadership Program (AGLP), a competitive program that provides doctoral students with experiences and training beyond the research lab. Through the program, the team received coaching from professors at the Yale School of Management, thereby preparing them for submissions.