AutoTB: audience favorite Global Entrepreneurship Competition

Jun 04 2009

The magnitude of the global tuberculosis (TB) epidemic is immense – more than one third of the world’s population is currently infected. There are nearly 9 million new TB cases annually and five thousand deaths every day.  Sputum microscopy is the most common test currently used to diagnose TB, but it only detects roughly 20-30% of all pulmonary TB cases.  Improved diagnostics are crucial for combating this growing epidemic.

autotb

AutoTB is dedicated to improving the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of sputum microscopy, while remaining inexpensive and accessible to healthcare professionals in developing countries.  The AutoTB device automates sputum microscopy, thereby decreasing analysis time, increasing sensitivity and eliminating human error present in current procedures while also integrating into existing infrastructures and remaining affordable for developing countries.  AutoTB provides a clear advantage – a simple, rapid, automated, sensitive, and inexpensive TB diagnostic test.

The medical and economic benefits of this device provide a competitive advantage over existing technologies and make it marketable to a wide range of customers including NGOs, governmental health departments, and private foundations.  AutoTB will initially target high-burden TB countries in the developing world and will capture a significant portion of the $1 billion global market for TB diagnostics.

In the long-term, AutoTB will expand into other bacterial infections (e.g. malaria) and will provide a robust point-of-care diagnostics platform that can be applied to both developing and developed world markets.  AutoTB addresses a clear, unmet and growing market need while also providing an opportunity for future diversification and growth.


20 Responses to “AutoTB: audience favorite Global Entrepreneurship Competition”

  • L Nicol says:

    There is a huge need for new innovations in this area and it sounds like this company has some great ideas.

  • Dr Sara Souter says:

    As a healthcare provider with considerable experience working in areas where TB is rampant, this concept has the potential to revolutionise the detection of TB. Currently there are immense delays in diagnosis which cause delays to treatment and profound disruption. AutoTB would change all that.

  • Tim O'Loughlin says:

    In a world that more than ever is on the look out for innovation without the price tag, it seems sensible to investigate all avenues. AutoTB clearly fits the bill.

  • W.Rumball says:

    Although I am related to a member of this team, I comment as a scientist who has a long career in the innovation and commercialisation of products such as AutoTB. The need for such a product is considerable, and there appear to be no impediments to it succeeding. The originators have worked hard to introduce it to the marketplace in a way that is simple and user-friendly; it should be very cost-effective.

  • Sam Saxena says:

    The need for affordable and easy to use diagnostic techniques is critical for the containment of global health threats. AutoTB is confronting this issue head-on, and I look forward to following the growth of this venture.

  • F. Moser says:

    AutoTB seeks to capture a huge market in high throughput diagnostic testing that will leave a very large, positive social impact when widely implemented. Faster, better, cheaper diagnostics have been a long time in coming and are key to revolutionizing healthcare in the third world, and AutoTB has a clear competitive advantage in its technology and very bright team in helping implemented that promise.

  • T. Downing says:

    AutoTB creates a portal through which pharmaceutical companies can more effectively tap into the multi-billion dollar tuberculosis market. Innovation like this is huge and the financial and social benefits will certainly follow suit.

  • Gregory Jordan says:

    AutoTB embraces the idea of social entrepreneurship in its purest form, meeting a serious social and humanitarian need through a combination of market capitalization and a sustainable business model.

    Large organizations with a vested interest in global health, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have shown significant interest in improved TB diagnostics and treatment: Bill Gates specifically mentioned the disease as a key target for funding in his 2009 annual letter. AutoTB is providing a key innovation at this vital moment in the history of TB diagnosis and treatment.

  • Matt Spitz says:

    I think that AutoTB could really fill an important niche, both financially and socially. Everyone, regardless of financial capability, wants to be healthy. If AutoTB can truly manufacture effective tests inexpensively, there is a huge potential both for profit and for important social benefit.

    I look forward to seeing what this company can do.

  • K. Lorie says:

    Auto TB is one of the few entries that addresses key global health issues by making a real-world business case for change. Not only does their innovation have the potential to immediately address the large scale TB epidemic in developing nations, but also provide a reliable revenue stream to investors. I look forward to seeing their growth in the future.

  • Randy Karns says:

    Developing a powerful tool to diagnose and treat such a widespread and devastating disease is a critical mission accepted by AutoTB. Innovations of this kind allows hope and a future for millions of people around the world and allows the large philanthropic organizations to provide targeted investments in solving this human problem.

  • Jamie Cordes says:

    Its conscientious approach of targeting such a dire global need sets AutoTB apart from its competitors. Others should learn from its target of tackling an epidemic too often passed over when it comes to Western research and funding. In addition, its cooperative business ethic is geared to its market. Too many others maintain arcane and irresponsible expectations of developing countries footing the bill for overpriced Western technology.

  • Chris Andreou says:

    This sounds awesome! I not only hope Auto TB wins the competition but ultimately that the technology can be used to save lives and helps tackle the spread of the disease.

  • Nick (SIFE Aston) says:

    Looks like a fantastic idea! Good Luck!

  • CY Ong says:

    On first glance, AutoTB captures the attention and imagination of the public for reasons that have been stated elsewhere. Well done! However, on closer examination of the blurb given, there are overstatements that, while the general public may not catch, do seem worrying. Sputum microscopy specificity is normally near 95-99%% (even in African countries, no insult implied here - in fact, this should be the case because the large number of positives results in better “operator training”). Little room for improvement here. And malaria - true it is an infectious disease; not bacterial though. More importantly, the main advantage AutoTB might have in making an actual impact on TB in the developing world is the SPEED of diagnosis - many patients are not captured in pre-existing programs because of the delays in diagnosis leading to patients being lost to follow up and treatment. Keep in mind that currently healthy individuals can become infected and missed patients can be re-screened in the future on clinical indication (perhaps implying a need for shorter interval screening in high risk populations - TB doesn’t kill immediately after all). If AutoTB’s technology can allow large volume processing (and permitting economical re-screening of individuals) within health budget constraints, this will certainly have an impact on the absolute number of TB patients treated, over and above what any marginal increase in sensitivity may bring. I look forward to seeing what AutoTB’s technology is actually capable of.

  • BroccoliProject says:

    I think there is great synergy for working with AutoTB and best wishes for the event.

    MaZ

  • Seema Kairam says:

    AutoTB seems to be bring a 21st century approach to a generations’ old problem. The most exciting part about this approach to the TB epidemic is the way this team is looking at the problem holistically. Not only are they re-examining the science behind testing for the disease, but also focusing on the importance of accessibility and integrating the test into the existing healthcare structures.

  • Ian Marsh says:

    I am impressed by the project’s noble aim, its intelligent identification of a major pain point in TB incidence (i.e. diagnostics) and by the calibre and commitment of the team. Good luck guys!

  • émilie laporte says:

    It looks quite powerful, good luck guys I hope it gets somewhere!

  • Ciaran Malik says:

    This looks really good, I think its well thought out and a lot of consideration has gone to the end users, especially those most in need. Good luck.

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