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On July 30, three teams will compete in AACC’s first Disruptive Technology Award, a featured session at the 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Chicago. This award recognizes innovative testing solutions that improve patient care through diagnostic performance or access to high-quality testing.

Selected from a pool of seven semifinalists, the three finalist teams will be angling for a $5,000 cash prize, following an evaluation by a team of expert judges. There’s also an Audience Choice Award plaque up for grabs for the team that receives the most audience votes.

Finalists include:

1. Ativa Medical, St. Paul, Minnesota, which developed a fluid processing engine that allows its MicroLAB to perform the full analytical processes utilized in large lab blood analyzers entirely on a low-cost disposable card. The technology will make it possible for medical staff to conduct blood test panels at the point-of-care. Clinics will be able to do real-time testing themselves rather than waiting a day or more for the traditional blood send-out process. This technology also integrates with and expands the reach of artificial intelligence-based medicine, telemedicine, and retail clinics.

2. GNA Biosolutions of Martinsried, Germany, will be featuring its Pulse Controlled Amplification (PCA) platform, a technology that accelerates temperature ramps in nucleic acid amplification by 1,000,000 times, at least 10 times faster than conventional methods. PCA makes it possible to process clinical samples without additional DNA purification and extraction steps.

3. Two Pore Guys, Santa Cruz, California, the creator of a tiny device that enables detection of any molecule of interest, including nucleic acids, proteins, metabolites, drugs, and small molecules. This technology employs solid-state nanopores that allow single molecule counting using purely electrical sensing, obviating the need for optics, chemistries, or electrochemical sensors. Two Pore Guys will present data from assays that showcase the strength of the nanopore as a sensor, including quantitating single nucleotide polymorphisms, determining trait zygosity (plants), and detecting circulating tumor DNA (i.e. liquid biopsy), and early autoimmune disease and bacterial infections.

Five members of the Disruptive Tech Award Competition Committee and four invited judges served as reviewers for 47 applications. Members of the committee, who ultimately chose and will serve as mentors to the three finalists, include:

  • Dimitra Georganopoulou, PhD, committee chair and director of commercialization innovation and new ventures at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois;
  • Demetra Callas, PhD, MBA, senior director for pathology and laboratory medicine at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago;
  • Lance Ladic, PhD, director of strategic innovation at Siemens Healthcare in Princeton, New Jersey;
  • Khushbu Patel, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and associate director of the Clinical Chemistry Division of Pediatric Pathology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; and
  • Vincent Ricchiuti, PhD, laboratory director and discipline director in immunology at LabCorp in Dublin, Ohio.

The four judges who took part in the first review round include:

  • Barbara Goodman, president and chief operating officer at Cures within Reach;
  • Shannon Haymond, PhD, DABCC FACB, vice chair for computational pathology and director of clinical chemistry and mass spectrometry laboratories at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago;
  • Kathryn Hyer, JD, iBIO PROPEL co-lead of the chief business office at Diagnostic Photonics, Inc.; and
  • Kapila Viges, senior associate with Illinois Ventures.

Haymond, a member of the 2017 Annual Meeting Organizing Committee (AMOC), had originally conceived the idea for such an award along with Ann Gronowski, PhD, DABCC, and Stephen Master, MD, PhD, FAACC, pitching it initially to the 2017 AMOC. However, the timeline for further developing the idea and planning the award was too tight, so the idea was proposed to and accepted by the 2018 AMOC, led by David Grenache, PhD, DABCC, chief scientific officer of TriCore Reference Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Excited about pursuing this concept for the 2018 meeting, Grenache proposed an initial framework of an annual “AACC Award in Disruptive Technology.” Winners would get to promote their technology and get questioned about it in a high-capacity venue and at the Annual Scientific Meeting. Grenache and Haymond approached Georganopoulou to serve as session chair and spearhead the planning of this event. Representing esteemed members of the community, the Disruptive Tech Award Competition Committee, set about conceiving, planning, and further defining the framework for this award.

Five judges will score the finalists at the live event and decide the winner:

  • Evan Norton, MBA, divisional vice president and venture investment at Abbott Ventures, Greater Chicago Area;
  • Nicole Walker, partner, venture capital at Baird Capital in Chicago;
  • Anne E. Sissel, MBA, CFA, vice president and head of Baxter Ventures, Baxter International;
  • Ian Wright, owner of Strategic Innovations LLC; and
  • David Ledden, PhD, principal key expert and head of point-of-care immunoassay for Siemens Healthineers.

This exciting event will take place on July 30 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sign up for the 70th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Chicago to see the disruptive technologies that could transform diagnostic testing.