To Sum Up

Strategic partnerships made during global virtual conference will result in millions of dollars

Plenty of businesses met their new partners. Photo by Luis Alvarez/Getty

Earlier in August, participants from around the globe gathered online for HealthTech Beyond Borders, a virtual summit hosted by ProChile that's designed to match American and Chilean businesses looking to explore the future and impact of new technologies in the healthcare sector.

During the four-day event, registrants sat in on more than 65 meetings — or an average of 2.5 meetings per hour — that tackled such topics as "Why Chile? Exploring Chilean Medical Innovations," "Dynamic Growth for Healthcare Innovators/Innovations (Venture Capital)," and "Harnessing Healthcare's Regional Resources: Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia."

"I was really impressed by the quality of groups and speakers for this event," says Torrey Adams, senior director of global life sciences at Greater Houston Partnership. "It was a very well put together with excellent networking and connecting opportunities. I gained a much better insight on the possibilities of collaborating with Chilean companies."

There were 37 registrants from Texas, which also contributed such strategic partners as Houston Methodist Hospital, the City of Houston, Houston Exponential, The Cannon, Greater Houston Partnership, MediaTech Ventures, Central Houston Inc., and InnovationMap (hello!).

A total of 35 Chilean companies participated, with such heavy-hitters as Cens (the national center for healthcare systems), ChileTech (a health providers association), Apis (medical devices), and CNL (the national labs board) joining the roster.

"It was a pleasure to moderate the HealthTech Beyond Borders session," says José F. Núñez, vice president of global development at Houston Methodist Global Health Care Services. "It is forums like these that foster the exchange of ideas and bring together individuals and organizations to further promote innovation in the health sciences space. Kudos to ProChile, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia for the resources they provide to entrepreneurs in facilitating these connections."

Though it's impossible to know the actual numbers — ProChile isn't privy to private negotiations — a survey taken by the attending companies estimates that $1 million in immediate business will be done as a direct result of the event. In the next 12 months, that figure is estimated to jump up to $2.9 million.

"We created an inclusive 'village' of innovation where entrepreneurs and startups from around the world come to solve humankind's boldest challenges," says Robert Pieroni, director of economic development for Central Houston, Inc. "Events like ProChile's HeathTech Beyond Borders demonstrate how the world is responding to what Houston has built. With Downtown Launchpad, TMC Innovation, the Ion, and others, we are clearly becoming a global center of gravity to inspire innovation and support entrepreneurship."

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Building Houston

 
 

Houston-based medical device and biotech startup Steradian Technologies has been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo by Dwight C. Andrews/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

A female-founded biotech startup has announced that it has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Steradian Technologies has developed a breath-based collection device that can be used with diagnostic testing systems. Called RUMI, the device is non-invasive and fully portable and, according to a news release, costs the price of a latte.

“We are extremely honored to receive this award and be recognized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a leader in global health. This funding will propel our work in creating deep-tech diagnostics and products to close the equity gap in global public health," says Asma Mirza, CEO and co-founder of Steradian Technologies, in the release. “The RUMI will demonstrate that advanced technology can be delivered to all areas of the world, ensuring the Global South and economically exploited regions receive access to high-fidelity diagnostics instead of solutions that are ill-suited to the environment.”

RUMI uses novel photon-based detection to collect and diagnose infectious diseases in breath within 30-seconds, per the release, and will be the first human bio-aerosol specimen collector to convert breath into a fully sterile liquid sample and can be used for many applications in direct disease detection.

"As the healthcare industry continues to pursue less invasive diagnostics, we are very excited that the foundation has identified our approach to breath-based sample collection as a standout worthy of their support," says John Marino, chief of product development and co-founder. “We look forward to working with them to achieve our goals of better, faster, and safer diagnostics."

Founded in 2017, Steradian Technologies is funded and supported by XPRIZE, Johnson & Johnson’s Lung Cancer Initiative, JLABS TMCi, Capital Factory, Duke Institute of Global Health, and Johnson & Johnson’s Center for Device Innovation.

The amount granted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was not disclosed. The Seattle-based foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman and co-chaired by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gatess.

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