Thousands of global biotechnology and biopharmaceutical leaders will gather at the 2022 BIO International Convention in San Diego June 13-16 for four exciting days of networking, programming, and partnering opportunities that will shape the future of our industry.
Attendees will explore scientific discoveries and innovations with the potential to transform our world in the NIH Innovation Zone, which showcases nearly 30 NIH-funded small businesses and their cutting-edge work, and the Innovation Stage, a new interactive forum that showcases the hottest companies in biotech. Attendees will hear from leading global innovators, regional economic development groups, the brightest biotech start-ups, and more.
We spoke with one Innovation Zone participant, Michael Levene, Ph.D., Founder and Co-CEO of Applikate Technologies, which has developed the first automated histology platform with integrated digital imaging that stains and images whole samples without the need for physical slicing.
What is your company’s lead product or technology?
Applikate’s CHiMP platform revolutionizes pathology by eliminating physical slides and directly imaging intact biopsy specimens, reducing medical errors by producing superior digital images faster, cheaper, and with far less labor.
Current approaches to histology involve over 20 highly technical manual steps and take over 16 hours to prepare physical slides for examination by pathologists. This incurs significant costs, delays critical interventions, increases patient anxiety waiting for a diagnosis, and creates staffing issues as there is a significant shortage of qualified histotechnologists. Importantly, physical slides inhibit access to expert consultations that have been shown to reduce diagnostic errors.
Applikate’s CHiMP platform changes all of this. By directly imaging intact tissue specimens, it enables complete automation of tissue processing and imaging, with results ready in less than three hours from tissue receipt. And the direct-to-digital microscopy at the heart of CHiMP produces images that are superior even compared to physical slides, with none of the artifacts associated with slicing tissue, such as folds and tears.
How has the NIH SBIR program helped your company grow?
Our company would not exist today without the NIH SBIR program. We have been fortunate to receive $3.4M in NIH SBIR grants. This money allowed us to form the company, develop our product, and advance to the advanced prototype stage and demonstrate early clinical validation.
The long runway and development afforded to us by the SBIR program enabled us to raise a very successful, over-subscribed Seed round. Along the way, the NIH SBIR program provided other helpful events and services, such as market analysis, investor events, and valuable feedback from NIH staff and entrepreneurs in residence.
What are the upcoming milestones and long-term priorities for your company?
This year we will install systems with three high profile hospitals, and we are putting the finishing touches on a deal to lease a system to a contract research organization. Next year will see us raise another funding round, fully enter the research use only market, and begin the process of achieving pre-market approval from the FDA. Long term, we expect to become the dominant player in digital pathology, redefining the standard of care and the economics of pathology.
What do you hope to gain from your participation at 2022 BIO International Convention?
We hope to lay the groundwork with investors for our upcoming Series A round. We also hope to partner with some more CROs and other parties who would benefit from the research use only version of our platform.
Tell us something about your company that investors might not know…
CHiMP has applicability to multiple market segments in addition to clinical labs, including: Medical research and CROs, Veterinary medicine, and Biorepositories.
The core technical team of the company has been working together on a variety of projects for over 15 years, long before they founded Applikate Technologies.