Some healthcare nominees that belong on the “coolest college startups” list

Any 18 to 22-year-old with enough guts and gusto to start a company during those crazy years deserves some credit if you ask me. Inc.’s list of the top college startups of 2014 highlighted “the cream of the college entrepreneurship crop.” Not surprisingly, most were building consumer apps. Healthcare didn’t get completely snubbed, though. There […]

Any 18 to 22-year-old with enough guts and gusto to start a company during those crazy years deserves some credit if you ask me. Inc.’s list of the top college startups of 2014 highlighted “the cream of the college entrepreneurship crop.” Not surprisingly, most were building consumer apps.

Healthcare didn’t get completely snubbed, though. There was one mobile health and one life science company in the mix.

The former is Pufferfish Software, founded by Ohio State University student Megan Holstein. The company creates educational iPad apps for children with autism spectrum disorder and their caregivers. Holstein made the first app when she was just 15 as a project for her young autistic brother. Now the virtual company has several products in the App Store and is supported by a few nonprofit autism organizations.

A little further east, a small team of New York University students landed on the list for developing a plant-based polymer gel to stop surgical and traumatic wounds from bleeding in just a few seconds. Suneris is planning for a product launch in the veterinary market this summer and plans to seek FDA approval as well.

With the growth of business plan competitions and university-affiliated incubators and accelerators, there’s all kinds of interesting ideas coming out of colleges and universities. I could think of at least a few more promising college healthcare startups to add to the list.

How about Stem Cell Theranostics, the Stanford spinout that’s developing technology to allow researchers to grow heart cells in a dish? Founded by a team of students and professors, the company is hoping to give researchers a cheaper, faster, more accurate way to screen drugs for efficacy and toxicity. That way, they could rule out toxic or ineffective compounds earlier in the drug development process.

On the digital health side, maybe Aezon, a group of students at Johns Hopkins University that’s working on a three-part mobile diagnostic system as part of the Tricorder XPRIZE competition?

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Then there’s Theratech over at Harvard, which is creating a disposable, electronic chemotherapy patch with the goal of making cancer treatment cheaper and more accessible to early-stage cancer patients across the world.

Next year, maybe budding entrepreneurs Suman Mulumudi or Eric Chen will make the list.

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