Dr. Vanaja V. Ragavan is a member of the Life Sciences Cluster. As founder and CEO of AVIANA Molecular Technologies, she is leading development of a diagnostic platform that can detect a targeted infectious disease, biomarkers or proteins in less than 20 minutes. AVIANA’s miniaturized biosensor attaches to a smartphone via wireless connection, such as Bluetooth, for use in clinical and scientific settings. The company’s goal is to improve patient health by reducing the time between diagnosis and treatment.
Read on for highlights from Dr. Ragavan’s interview about AVIANA and the Central Florida innovation ecosystem.
What inspired the idea for your business?
I have worked and developed therapeutics and medical devices in the industry for a long time, but I was very intrigued about developing a technology that can assist patients and doctors determine the presence or absence of a disease within a few minutes and accurately do it while the patient is still in the doctor’s office. This saves significant time and allows for the patient to be treated as soon as possible without delay.
As the saying goes, diagnostics account for 20% of medical costs while accounting for 80% of decisions in medicine. I wanted to speed this process so there is no delay in patient treatment, which can result in worsening of a disease process.
I heard about this technology in a presentation by an inventor at an angel group meeting and the potential for this electronic solution to address the age-old clinical diagnosis. It was a significant motivator for me to start this company and keep it going, so it can be realized as an important addition to the medical field.
How has Central Florida’s innovation ecosystem supported your business growth? What local people or resources have played a role in your success?
The base technology was developed at the University of Central Florida, which was critical to our success in obtaining the rights to the best technology in the radio frequency space. This has been an important source of our technology.
As a Cenfluence Cluster Member company, we are also meeting other members to see if there is a common need.
What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of? Why?
I’m most proud of bringing this very difficult technology to market and persisting when it seemed that it may not work. Also, we only have a single competitor, and we are by far more successful in solving the technology issues. We will be very disruptive when we do get to market.
Have you faced any challenges unique to women business owners?
Raising funds as a woman entrepreneur is much more difficult. We are usually ignored or passed over. There are so few of us that we are not taken seriously.