How 5 CICers Innovated Solutions To the COVID-19 Crisis

Over the past year, COVID-19 has touched nearly every aspect of daily life. In the midst of the immense loss and disruption faced since this pandemic took hold, we have been humbled and inspired by the people working tirelessly to develop solutions. 

At CIC, we believe in the power of innovation to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Below are stories from within the CIC community of individuals and companies who have done just that: used innovation to contribute to local and global responses to the pandemic. 

These stories are but a snapshot of the resilience, ingenuity, and dedication that can be found throughout our communities worldwide. We are honored to support these, and all, innovators who call CIC home. 


Chilean startup GenoSUR has been developing and manufacturing medical diagnostic technologies since 2017. When the pandemic took hold, the biotech company noticed an opportunity to adapt their work to an immediate, pressing need: SARS-CoV-2 testing. 

GenoSUR’s Matias Gutierrez and his company’s at-home testing kit. (Photo courtesy of client)

GenoSUR’s Matias Gutierrez and his company’s at-home testing kit. (Photo courtesy of client)

With manufacturing capacity in Santiago and lab space in Miami through CIC Miami’s soft landing program for companies expanding from Latin America, GenoSUR was able to quickly start developing COVID-19 test collection kits that simultaneously increased testing access and reduced the need for symptomatic individuals to travel to get tested, thus reducing exposure opportunities. 

The startup has supplied hundreds of thousands of testing kits to the Chilean government since the spring, and they’ve been able to grow their labs after securing $4.5M in private equity. With the opening of their newest manufacturing facility, GenoSUR has created over 90 new jobs in Miami


Since the United States’ first major coronavirus surge in March, we’ve heard about the strain on hospital resources, such as beds and ventilators. But another pressing, while less reported on, shortage has been doctors to provide care for those patients in the hospital. CIC Cambridge member ICmed, headquartered in Baltimore, quickly offered a solution: deploying their telehealth platform to New York City hospitals, allowing critical care physicians from around the country to safely consult within over-burdened ICUs. 

ICmed’s product was conceived in 2021 to help family and loved ones store and share health information, all in response to the founder’s own family health episode. The app was downloaded by thousands around the world, despite no formal company behind it. Once formally founded in 2014, ICmed designed a cloud-based tool for providers to augment the patient-caregiver app. Today, ICmed is a mature, portable, HIPAA-compliant digital collaboration platform for patients, families, and providers. The app remains free to consumers, and clinicians use the high-ROI, low-risk platform to securely text or video chat with patients, monitor symptoms, and follow up on medication protocols. 

With this infrastructure already in place, it took ICmed just 32 days to implement their tele-consult program in New York, which then facilitated over 350 patient encounters. A peer-reviewed paper in Critical Care Explorations documenting ICmed’s findings during this process states that “the majority of housestaff in participating hospitals felt that the new tele-ICU service improved the quality of care of patients and decreased anxiety of taking care of complex patients.” ICmed’s response to the pandemic has shown how technology can be harnessed to spread resources where they’re needed. 

Nikhil Bhojwani, Recon Strategy

A year into the pandemic, the U.S. is processing 1.2 million COVID tests per week. It’s a long way from where we were last spring, when testing was scarce and reserved almost exclusively for symptomatic cases. Observing the limitations of the country’s early testing infrastructure, CIC Cambridge member Nikhil Bhojwani, managing partner at healthcare consulting firm Recon Strategy, reached out to Dr. Atul Gawande, Chairman of Ariadne Labs, to brainstorm solutions. 

Together, Bhojwani and Gawande came up with a promising idea: to connect big institutions who were willing to pay for large-scale testing with labs who had the capability to process tests but not to handle the operational side for consumers. Bringing more labs online would increase overall testing capacity and thereby increase access to asymptomatic testing, which Bhojwani and Gawande identified as a crucial step towards returning to more regular life. 

In July 2020, the pair co-authored an article in Harvard Business Review detailing their plan for scaling COVID testing and where Bhojwani coined the term “assurance testing” — that is routine, asymptomatic testing. This model became the foundation for the Assurance Testing Alliance, a coalition that aims to expand testing access to allow a safer reopening of the economy and communities. 

The impact of Bhojwani and Gawande’s work is keenly felt here at CIC, where the two worked closely with our founder and CEO Tim Rowe to develop the blueprint for CIC Health, a new leader in facilitating fast, easy COVID testing and vaccinations to organizations and the public. To date, CIC Health has facilitated over one million tests and 200,000 vaccinations across several states, including no-cost pool testing for CIC members, allowing them to get back to work safely

The Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA, is one of the labs brought online to process COVID-19 testing in partnership with the Assurance Testing Alliance.


In addition to testing and vaccines, an important piece of the COVID-19 puzzle has been finding medical treatments for the virus. One of the trailblazers in this arena is CIC Miami resident Organicell, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the use of nanoparticles to develop therapeutics for degenerative diseases. 

Organicell’s lead product, Zofin™, is now undergoing clinical trials to investigate its safety and efficacy in treating moderate to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) related to COVID-19. In August, Miami news channel WSVN reported that doctors and several patients enrolled in initial trials had responded favorably to the intravenous treatment. Since then, trials have advanced, and Organicell hopes the result will be a safe, approved drug that can help people anywhere recover from COVID-19. 


Every drug undergoes clinical trials before getting approved as safe to use. But who participates in clinical trials, and how do they get involved? Enter PatientWing, a CIC Philadelphia member whose very mission is to connect patients with clinical trials

PatientWing operates a platform that allows participants and researchers to find each other, and helps to smooth out the entire trial process. In light of the pandemic, PatientWing launched a new website dedicated specifically to clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. It’s connected to over 850 clinical trials worldwide (nearly 200 in the US) as of this writing, and anyone who visits the website can easily get started with finding trials they might qualify for with a simple filter tool. 

Beyond providing the infrastructure to facilitate these connections, PatientWing also aims to demystify the process of what it means to participate in a clinical trial. Who is eligible? What does participating require of you? Is it safe? These questions and more are answered in digestible terms on their website — all in the hopes that successful trials will bring about swift solutions to the pandemic.

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