Written by Barb Consiglio.
Lab tests can take up to a week to accurately diagnose an infection after a patient sees their doctor. In the meantime, the options are to prescribe an antibiotic without a definite diagnosis, or delay treatment while the patient continues to suffer. IntelliSenze in Toledo, Ohio, has developed a sensor that can identify diseases, pathogens and water toxins within five minutes. Faster diagnosis helps the patient get the correct treatment now.
“The technology is invaluable to healthcare facilities in screening their patients, and can also be used by the everyday consumer,” said Dr. Anand Agarwal, president and CEO of IntelliSenze. “The sensors allow you to test for pathogens at home. A mother could swab her child’s throat, touch it to an IntelliSenze sensor, and get an accurate strep throat diagnosis to bring to the pediatrician. This is much more convenient and cuts healthcare costs.”
When a fluid comes in contact with the sensor, it is analyzed, and the data is transmitted via Bluetooth to any connected device such as a smartphone or tablet. Similar to a person with diabetes testing their own blood sugar levels, IntelliSenze’s easy-to-use technology could make personal testing for diseases equally possible.
Dr. Agarwal is a spine surgeon and a professor of bioengineering at the University of Toledo. He’s also a serial entrepreneur with experience turning his research into companies and products that impact lives. IntelliSenze is one of three medical technology companies he has founded, including OsteoNovus, which developed a synthetic bone regeneration material, and Spinal Balance, which allows doctors to use a sterile system to implant screws into the spine without ever touching them.
All three of Dr. Agarwal’s companies are housed in the LaunchPad Incubator, a northwest Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier. IntelliSenze received a $150,000 Technology Validation Startup Fund grant from Ohio Third Frontier to test the technology with human diseases such as the flu and staph. Dr. Agarwal hopes that the accuracy and efficiency shown in that testing will attract additional investors.
“Support from Ohio Third Frontier is one of the main reasons I’ve been able to start and grow these companies,” said Dr. Agarwal. “We want to move this life-changing product through the approval process as quickly as possible, and we have the funding and resources in Ohio to do that.”
Dr. Agarwal says he chose to conduct his research at the University of Toledo because of the excellent bioengineering department and the openness to innovative biotech ideas. His three companies employ more than 20 people, each of them expanding in their various phases of growth.
“Spinal Balance is now on the market with several orders already placed by hospitals, while OsteoNovus is nearing FDA approval,” said Dr. Agarwal. “With continued support, we expect IntelliSenze to have the same success and for the technology to change the way we see diagnostics in the future.”