disease diagnostics wins first place in charter one competition for fast-acting malaria test

Disease Diagnostics Group, a startup company out of CWRU, won the top $1,500 prize in the Charter One Foundation Student Business Idea Competition. Three winners were announced at the Northeast Ohio Entrepreneur Expo on April 7.

Disease Diagnostics has developed a hand-held device for early detection of malaria. The company was founded by CEO John Lewandowski, who earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and his masters in engineering management from CWRU, and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) Brian Grimberg, assistant professor of international health at Case School of Medicine’s Center for Global Health and Disease.
“It was Dr. Grimberg’s technology,” explains Lewandowski. “This device is reusable, portable, inexpensive and fast. One billion tests are needed. Five hundred million to 700 million cases are documented and people don’t even know they have it.”
Disease Diagnostics’ Rapid Assessment of Malaria (RAM) device can help people get treatment early. The test costs only about 25 cents to run, takes about a minute for results and has 94 percent accuracy. “Malaria is completely curable disease,” says Lewandowski. “With early detection, you won’t die from it and you won’t spread it. Being able to detect it in someone who doesn’t have symptoms yet would be monumental.”
The company is in the final stages of testing its device and collecting field data, in part thanks to funding from the Case-Coulter Translational Partnership. Lewandowski foresees the RAM device to be on the market soon for national and international government programs.
Lewandowski says they will use the $1,500 for final prototyping and lab tests.
Other recipients of Charter One Foundation funds were Sprav Water, a company out of Case that is developing a shower head that monitors water consumption, and Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce, an applesauce manufacturer out of Hiram College. Sprav received $400 and Holmes received $600.
The three winners were selected by a panel of judges and by popular vote.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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