Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Nurtures Innovation

April 20, 2023


Innovation in science and technology is synonymous with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but it doesn’t end there. RPI helps entrepreneurs bring their innovations to market. Guanine Inc., the developer of rapid mobile pathogen tests in Rensselaer, New York that assist in the diagnosis of medical conditions such as sepsis, is a startup that has benefitted from RPI’s entrepreneurial expertise.

Guanine Inc. was accepted into the 2023 winter cohort of Elementa Labs, the virtual incubator program of the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, New York, that helps position health care and biotechnology startups for the next stage in their development. Neil Gordon, president and CEO of Guanine Inc., credits RPI for helping his company get so far so fast.

“RPI has outstanding engineering and manufacturing know-how that we have directly leveraged in order to get to where we are today,” he said.

Gordon had samples of the Guanine biosensor and test cartridge made at RPI’s Manufacturing Innovation Center (MIC). MIC assists client companies with applied manufacturing research and development to help them meet specific business objectives so they can grow.

Then, tests were configured at the Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D. Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS). CBIS is a community of world-class researchers utilizing the most advanced facilities and infrastructure to conduct groundbreaking, interdisciplinary, biotechnology-based research and workforce development.

Finally, Gordon connected with Brett Orzechowski, program coordinator for the MBA in Life Sciences Entrepreneurship and lecturer in the Lally School of Management, who introduced him to Elementa Labs.

“Biotech entrepreneurs need to have academic institutions as partners for know-how and resources,” said Gordon. “It gives us credibility and, ultimately, access to talent when we want to hire people. It is a lot more cost effective for an entrepreneur to be in the Albany area and to
work with RPI than setting up in an expensive city like Boston.”

Now, with Elementa Labs, Guanine has a direct line to potential adopters of its tests — innovative physicians at a leading hospital — to provide feedback on needed refinements. Additionally, Guanine has a potential path to clinical trials and collaborators, both essential for their path toward commercialization.

“It is a wonderful feeling that the innovative ecosystem at Rensselaer and our growing and very productive relationship with Mount Sinai Health System in New York helped Neil Gordon and Guanine Inc. in realizing their vision,” said Deepak Vashishth, director of CBIS. RPI and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have a 10+ year partnership that has secured over $80 million in research funding. Together, the two institutions just opened the Center for Engineering and Precision Medicine in New York City to further accelerate growth of their highly successful partnership.

“The road for any startup is never linear, but this is the type of support we need to provide to any of our startups,” said Orzechowski. “Guanine is the first of, hopefully, many we can connect to the support they need in the life sciences to realize commercial success.”

Written By Katie Malatino
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