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.
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.