Pregnancy tests, even those done in hospitals or clinics, are very straightforward. Some urine plus a detector and you have an answer in just a few minutes.
But for many medical situations, such a simple test is currently a pipe dream. Seattle-based Phoresa is hoping to make that dream a reality when it comes to testing for infectious diseases, and hopefully cut healthcare costs and improve care along the way.
The startup, formerly known as Vie Diagnostics, was spun out of the University of Washington in 2015, where the technology behind its test was developed in the lab of co-founder Professor Jonathan Posner.
The startup is now led by co-founder and CEO Dr. Charlie Corredor, who began work on the company along with Dr. Mark Borysiak when the pair were still students at the UW.
The company’s test uses technological advances so that “trace amounts of target can better be detected to accurately diagnose patients within minutes at the clinic,” Corredor told GeekWire.
The goal, he said, is to make diagnosing patients and prescribing treatments much quicker, ensuring more patients will stick to their prescribed treatment.
With help from Posner and UW Professor and co-founder Matthew Thompson, they took first place in the university’s business plan competition in 2015 and have also won a coveted small business grant from the National Science Foundation.
We caught up with Corredor for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Phoresa is developing a high-accuracy, pregnancy-style test for infectious diseases that will revolutionize how doctors diagnose and treat millions of infected patients each year.”
Inspiration hit us when: “Phoresa’s co-founders realized that laboratory testing for infectious diseases causes pain for clinics and doctors because it requires significant time and money in order to provide a patient diagnosis. The need to transport tests to central laboratories causes delays in treatment, while increasing the overall cost of testing. Phoresa saw the potential of translating a scientific discovery (concentration of molecules and biomarkers with a small electrical current) to a testing platform that will allow clinics to diagnose and treat patients in a single visit using a low-cost test. Our test will reduce the cost for clinics, payers, and patients; eliminate follow-up time for clinics; and improve care by allowing patients to be treated sooner, while helping to avoid disease transmission and complication.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Phoresa is working lean with a National Science Foundation SBIR grant of $225,000 and plans to raise private capital from local angels/VC groups by Q2 of 2017. These funds will catalyze assay development and clinical feasibility for Phoresa’s first test.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Phoresa’s strongest asset is the team members that believe in reducing the cost of healthcare by raising the standards of testing for infectious diseases.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Interviewed and listen to potential customers inputs before we created our first product line. Also, reaching out to local and seasoned entrepreneurs to get their feedback and opinions on our business model.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “We’ve made many mistakes as any startup (e.g., not securing suppliers, not buying web domains, etc.) but we are learning from our flaws on how to not repeat the same errors.”
Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Besides that Bill is a Seattle native, Phoresa’s ultimate goal of making affordable and accurate testing for infectious diseases for everyone would align perfectly with the personal ambitions of Mr. Gates. ‘All lives have equal value.'”
Our favorite team-building activity is: “Hiking with our families and pets.”
The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “Innovation, curiosity, and passion for discovery.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Listen to advice from experienced people.”