Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Harvard spinout develops device to rapidly detect and treat sepsis and other infectious diseases


By Jason Norris
Published: September 18th, 2019

Harvard University and Miraki Innovation have launched a start-up to commercialize a medical device that rapidly diagnoses and treats infectious diseases, with a special focus on sepsis and antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

BOA Biomedical is based on research from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. The device is designed to remove pathogens and their toxic debris from the blood to stabilize the patient and reduce the potential for sepsis, rather than having to identify the pathogens beforehand. BOA has also developed a companion diagnostic device.

The technology complements existing antimicrobial treatments, since it can capture the infectious debris that is created when pathogens are killed by antibiotics, making it a potentially valuable addition to hospital-based treatment.

“In the U.S., every 20 seconds a patient is diagnosed with sepsis and more than $24 billion per year is spent on treating this life-threatening condition. This is the problem that BOA is aiming to solve,” says Christopher Velis, founder and executive chairman of Miraki and BOA.

“Like all of Miraki’s companies, BOA was a mission before it was a company,” adds Velis. “We hope to eventually expand its use to address situations where quick infection diagnoses and treatments are needed, such as disease outbreaks in remote areas, bioterrorism, and military operations.”

Donald Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute and chairman of BOA’s scientific advisory board, comments, “This technology has the potential to save millions of lives, and we are optimistic about BOA moving forward to help reach patients who need it.”

Source: Harvard Office of Technology Development

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