Tech Transfer eNews Blog

U Buffalo start-up raises nearly $1M to advance blood test that detects brain aneurysms

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 6th, 2019

A University at Buffalo (UB) start-up has raised nearly $1 million to commercialize a low-cost blood test that could help prevent brain aneurysms in high-risk patients.

Neurovascular Diagnostics recently secured a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), on top of a $225,000 Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The start-up will use the funding to advance its AneuScreen blood test, which identifies biomarkers associated with particularly dangerous aneurysms that have not yet ruptured.

“One of the most important ways to determine if you have an unruptured brain aneurysm is to have an MRA [magnetic resonance angiogram],” says Jeff Harvey, chief financial officer at Neurovascular Diagnostics. “This can cost thousands of dollars, and insurance companies may not pay for it because patients often do not have any symptoms.”

According to UB researcher and Neurovascular CEO Vincent Tutino, inflammation caused by a brain aneurysm may alter gene expression in cells, causing levels of some RNA molecules in the cells to rise, and others to fall. AneuScreen would detect these differences, and if a patient tests positive, he or she would then see a doctor to obtain an MRA to determine whether an aneurysm is present.

In addition to the SBIR grants, Neurovascular is receiving support from the Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics (BIG) at UB, which will connect the start-up to technical expertise and subsidize the cost of engaging with the university’s high-tech facilities.

Source: UB News Center

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