As a physicist and MD, Dr. Anita Goel was struck by how little such disciplines interact. From combining them has come her Nanobiosym initiative that has created inexpensive diagnostic technology for HIV and public-private partnerships worldwide that can bring that such technologies to communities.
Now under FDA approval is Gene Radar, an iPad-sized device that quickly analyzes a drop of blood or saliva to determine if a person has HIV, with a 98 percent accuracy rate. The company is also looking at being able to identify a virulent flu coming out of China. Eventually, the device eventually may be able to help doctors identify treatments for other diseases, such as cancer, that can be customized to a specific individual to minimize toxicity and maximize effectiveness. It is a recent winner of the X-Prize.
Goel's goal is to give access to the 4 billion people worldwide in underdeveloped and rural areas who don't currently have access to healthcare. The effort takes partnerships with institutions and individual investors. "I tell people, 'If you're looking to make a quick buck, don't come to us.' " But if you're looking to transform the world, Goel's efforts could be the vehicle.
Goel already is working with U-Health and with Miami Children's Hospital. Thanks to those partnerships and her exposure to Miami through eMerge, she is looking at putting a Nanoboisym hub here.
"I find Miami an early adapter hub; it has a culture of taking risk, and it is a cosmopolitan place with a lot of in-and-out traffic." The entreneurial infrastructure here is more conducive than in some other cities to her kind of ground-breaking intiative, she said.
"You have to have the right climate, fertifle ground. Miami has lots of players itching to do something." she said.
Putting a hub here would require government, institutional and private investment and cooperation. Already she has met with officials from Miami-Dade County, and partnerships with local hospitals are a key ingredient. Next: the search for mission-oriented private investors.