Vanaja Ragavan, MD, founder of Aviana Molecular Technologies, which is based out of the UCF Research Park, is a serial entrepreneur who discovered the technology on which Aviana is based while participating in an angel investor network.
"I'm a physician by training, with an interest in developing new products to help people" she said. "I've worked at the FDA, in the global pharmaceutical industry, with a pharma startup and I launched my own drug company. I became an angel investor with Golden Seeds angel network that invests in women-owned and women-run business. That's where I found this technology and started the company."
Aviana's technology is a miniaturized biosensor that connects wirelessly to a smartphone/smart device. The diagnostic platform can accurately, within 10 -20 minutes, detect a disease or condition without the need to send samples to a lab. It is half the size of a smartphone, is mobile and will be developed for use both inside and outside healthcare facilities.
"Our speed of function is an important differentiator," Ragavan explained. "Our system works in a few minutes and you don't need a lab. We aim for the accuracy of the lab but with rapid, on-the-spot results. It can be programmed to diagnose many different conditions, and we will develop an easy interface that someone without lab training can operate. It will be more portable, cost effective and accurate than other point-of-care systems. We call it affordable diagnostics in a connected world."
Ragavan's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to work past roadblocks. "Persistence is the most important thing," she said. "Never give up. You never know where you'll meet your next funding group or licensee. Even when things look very bad, don’t give up."