As a biomedical engineering graduate student at CWRU, Punkaj Ahuja was working in 2010 on applications for a core sensor his team was developing.
Then the idea for a rapid blood test using the same technology came to him. By October 2014, he had formed Apollo Medical Devices – a company that is developing a low-cost, accurate and rapid blood analysis system. The company has offices at BioEnterprise.
“Our device uses rapid blood testing technology with a single drop of blood in just five minutes,” explains Apollo CEO Patrick Leimkuehler. “It delivers when time matters most – in the ER, the ICU and the OR.”
The Apollo system uses a single drop of blood to get basic metabolic panel, or CHEM-7, results in minutes. The test measures various basic levels like glucose, sodium, creatinine and potassium to diagnose illness and determine treatments. Other tests require a blood draw and take up to two hours for results.
“I was working on another project using the same sensor technology and a group of us were in a room brainstorming,” recalls Ahuja. "We were discussing what else we can do with this sensor technology – with its low cost and rapid results.”
After talking to a physician, Ahuja was convinced they had to develop their product. “That’s what pushed us toward the test itself,” he says. “Once it was ingrained in our minds, a lot of work and a bunch of labs tests began to get this into the real world.”
While the Apollo device is still in the development stage, Ahuja and Leimkuehler plan to have the product to market by 2017. Apollo plans to market the device primarily to hospitals’ emergency departments, intensive care units and operating rooms. Once launched, Leimkuehler says Apollo plans to expand and target primary care doctors and the home health care markets.
Last summer, Apollo Medical Devices won the $20,000 grand prize in JumpStart’s Startup Scaleup NEO Up-and-Comers Pitch Competition. The company has also received funding from the Northeast Ohio Innovation Fund, CWRU’s Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership and Ohio’s Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund.