Technologies developed in Sandia National Laboratories’ biosciences program could soon find their way into doctors’ offices — devices like wearable microneedles that continuously analyze electrolyte levels and a lab-on-a-disk that can test a drop of blood for 64 different diseases in minutes.
At a recent seminar for potential investors and licensees, part of the Sandia Technology Showcase series, Sandia bioscientists presented eight ready-to-license technologies in three key areas: medical diagnostics, biosurveillance and therapeutics and drug discovery.
“As a national laboratory, Sandia works at the frontier of biology, doing research and development at the precompetitive research stage,” explained Malin Young, director of Sandia’s Biological and Engineering Sciences Center. “We’re applying new knowledge of how pathogens interact with hosts to reach breakthroughs that private companies can then build on to create innovative products to detect and fight disease.”
Victoria VanderNoot, a biosciences research manager, said the private sector needs insight into what is happening at the national labs. “We’re addressing that barrier by bringing the researchers and investment community together in the same room. This is a chance to shine a spotlight not just on the technologies in their current state, but also on the many ways these technologies can enter the market as products with wide-ranging benefits.”
This seminar is the first of many opportunities in which Sandia is using the commercialization know-how of several groups: Life Science Angels, an angel investment group focused on healthcare investing; Tri-Valley Capital, a California firm that invests in start-up and established technology ventures and operator of Innovate Pleasanton; i-GATE Innovation Hub, a San Francisco Bay-area incubator specialized in growing technology startups; and Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group, a collaborative group of industry leaders building a robust ecology of innovation in the eastern San Francisco Bay area.
During sessions punctuated by discussions and networking breaks, attendees learned about an array of new discoveries.
In medical diagnostics, researchers presented:
- BaDx, an anthrax detector no larger than a credit card;
- RapiDx, a fast-working automated diagnostic tool doctors can use in their offices; and
- SpinDx, a rapid, multiplexed biodetector lab-on-a-chip.
As tools to aid in biosurveillance, Sandia highlighted:
- an automated microliter-based digital microfluidic platform;
- a system for blood RNA preparation; and
- a miniature detector for breath analysis.
Two novel technologies — a wearable non-invasive device for pain-free diagnostics and drug delivery and nanoparticles that can carry drugs — rounded out the presentations.
“Throughout the day, I saw researchers and attendees in focused discussions,” said Sandia business development specialist Tristan Mahyera. “That’s what success looks like: exploring possibilities together.”
Mahyera added that the seminar was the first in a series Sandia plans on a range of topics. “We want to broaden opportunities to share what Sandia is doing with people and companies who can bring innovations to market.”