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BIO Innovation Zone Company Snapshots: AreteX Engineering

June 13, 2015
This month in Philadelphia at the BIO International Convention, BIO will be partnering with the National Science foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to host the 2nd annual, newly-expanded BIO Innovation Zone. The Zone will feature Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded early-stage biotech companies.

The SBIR/STTR program provides U.S. federal funding to small businesses engaged in research with the potential for commercialization. Each of the companies has been rigorously vetted through the SBIR/STTR review process prior to receiving the non-dilutive funding to engage in R&D that has the potential for commercialization. The NIH and NSF invest a combined $940 million annually in the programs.

Today, we spoke with Behnood Gholami the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, for AreteX Engineering, New York, NY-based biotechnology company supported by NSF’s SBIR program.

What is your company’s lead product or technology?

AreteX Engineering is developing a multi-modality sensing technology to objectively assess sedation levels in intensive care unit (ICU) patients under mechanical ventilation. Specifically, the agitation and sedation assessment technology will assist in sedation management as well as patient monitoring by removing the inherent variability in subjective sedation assessment, identifying trends in patient sedation states, and alerting the clinical staff if there is evidence of undersedation or oversedation. This will lead to improved quality of care and reduction in patient length of stay in the ICU.

How has the NSF SBIR program helped your company grow?

NSF's financial support has been instrumental in the progress and success of our project. In particular, NSF support has enabled AreteX Engineering to develop its core sedation assessment technology. We completed a pilot study at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center that shows an initial efficacy of our technology. The study is currently used to further develop and refine our technology. The successful completion of these steps is a necessary condition for attracting investment for a high-risk, high-reward technology as ours. The educational programs provided by the NSF SBIR program and the mentorship provided by our Program Director - Dr. Jesus Soriano - have been invaluable for bolstering our entrepreneurial skills. This has been especially helpful to us given the fact that we come from an academic background with limited expertise in technology commercialization.

What are the upcoming milestones and long-term priorities for your company?

Our immediate milestone is to complete a 50-patient pilot study at Northeast Georgia Medical Center ICU. The data collected will be critical for refining and optimizing our agitation and sedation assessment algorithm.

What do you hope to gain out of your participation at the 2015 BIO International Convention?

Our goal is to identify potential partners in the critical care and clinical decision support communities that can help us commercialize our technology.

Tell us something about your company that investors might not know.

Our technology can have a significant impact on the ICU market, where studies have shown that potentially 50% of the mechanically ventilated patients are oversedated. Reducing one day of mechanical ventilation will result in an annual saving of over $4 billion in the US alone. Our team is uniquely qualified to develop and transition this technology.