Backside of white woman back pain and ache concept


MANAGEMENT: Barney Koszalka
DUKE INVENTOR: Wolfgang Liedtke

A therapeutics company developing a unique, dual acting inhibitor that targets transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channels TRPV4 and TRPA1.

TRPblue has developed small molecule antagonists that preferentially attenuate signaling of these calcium-permeable channels with proven efficacy in several acute pain and chemical denervation nerve-pain models. These inhibitors have also demonstrated anti-pruritic, anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory activity in relevant preclinical models. The team will develop a topically applied, highly tolerated go-to dermatology therapeutic.

TRPblue logo


Severe dermatitis is often treatment-resistant and taxing. When induced by chemo-therapy, it can curtail cancer treatment.


Powerful, systemically-acting immune-modulating drugs are used, e.g., methotrexate and cyclosporine, but are prescribed reactively and are difficult to administer and dose. Thus, they are a late line of therapy.
Skillful sonographer using ultrasound machine at work

MicroElastic Ultrasound Systems

MANAGEMENT: Peter Hollender
DUKE INVENTOR: Peter Hollender

MicroElastic Ultrasound Systems is developing a handheld device that quantifies the elasticity of skin at the touch of a button. This proprietary technology uses ultrasound to locally vibrate tissue and measure the response in order to directly and noninvasively characterize tissue elastic properties.

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Skin elasticity is both important for planning, guiding, and evaluating procedures and treatments in aesthetic dermatology and crucial for tracking and managing life-threatening chronic conditions like Graft-Versus-Host-Disease, yet existing methods are subjective, qualitative, or unreliable, causing the NIH to declare that “there is an urgent need for the development of more quantifiable and reproducible measurements”.

MicroElastic aims for early assessment, active feedback speeds, tailored treatments while reducing discomfort and other complications, reducing costs, and improving outcomes.

MicroElastic is taking its functional prototype into clinical testing and developing its first commercial product via funding from an NIH STTR grant and is negotiating a strategic partnership in the aesthetic space for application to anti-aging procedures. MicroElastic will be seeking funding in 2018 to complete development and regulatory approval as a class II device under the 510(k) pathway.

doctor holding a laptop in front of a DNA hologram, 3d illustration

Actus Therapeutics

MANAGEMENT: Sheila Mikhail
DUKE INVENTOR: Dwight Koeberl, Priya Kishnani

Actus Therapeutics, a privately held portfolio company of Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio), was incorporated in 2017 to develop new therapies for rare diseases including Pompe disease and epilepsy. Founded by Sheila Mikhail and Phillipe Moullier, Actus will initially pursue gene therapies for Pompe disease based on technology licensed from Dwight Koeberl’s laboratory at Duke University.

Actus Logo

The Company’s goal is to use targeted, low-dose gene therapies to address this glycogen storage disorder. AskBio’s double strand adeno-associated virus vectors (AAV) have the potential to provide treatment at a lower effective dose and with more cell type specificity and less potential systemic effects than other AVV.

Pompe Disease

Pompe Disease is an inherited rare disorder (< 1:40,000 births) caused by the deficiency of acid-alpha-glucosidase (GAA) in muscle. This deficiency results in the accumulation of glycogen in organs and tissues, especially muscles, which can impair their ability to function normally. While enzyme replacement has shown promise in patients with infantile-onset Pompe disease, no curative therapy is available. More information on Pompe disease is available at:

Woman with brain tumor


DUKE INVENTOR: Mike Zalutsky (Radiology) and Ganesan Vaidyanathan (Radiology)

Cereius, Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel approaches to treat solid tumor brain metastases.

Cereius Logo

Cereius was founded by Dr. Michael Zalutsky and Dr. Kimberly Blackwell. Dr. Zalutsky is Professor of Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Engineering at Duke University.

Dr. Blackwell is Vice President, Early Phase Development and Immuno-oncology at Lilly Oncology and adjunct Professor of Medicine, Duke University. Ed Field is CEO of Cereius which operates out of BioLabs North Carolina, a co-working space for life science startups in downtown Durham.

Exclusive License

Cereius’ intellectual property includes next-generation radiolabeling chemistries developed by Dr. Zalutsky and exclusively licensed from Duke University. These techniques increase the uptake of radionuclides within the tumor site by up to 5-fold compared to existing methods while simultaneously reducing the off-target levels in healthy tissues.

Moreover, the chemistries can employ a variety of medically advantageous radionuclides to either enhance the detection sensitivity of diagnostic imaging or to improve the therapeutic index of targeted therapies. By combining these technologies with advancements in the field of high-affinity, tumor-targeting agents that can cross the blood brain barrier, Cereius has positioned itself to deliver new targeted classes of both radiologic diagnostics and radiotherapeutics for the treatment of cancers in the brain.

Closeup of a calculator and a stethoscope healthcare and expenses concept

SV Analytics

MANAGEMENT: Ryan D. Schulteis
DUKE INVENTOR: Ryan D. Schulteis

SV Analytics specializes in the analysis of medical billing and healthcare claims data. We do more than your claims clearinghouse, more than your claims “scrubber”, and more than your denials management software. They use modern predictive analytics to forecast payer behavior allowing you to proactively anticipate changes in the healthcare financial landscape.

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The Problem :

Hospitals and Healthcare Systems lose over $100B every year due to claims
denials by insurance companies

The Solution:

Invariant reduces variation by forecasting changes in payer behavior, allowing hospitals to be proactive. It eliminates standalone excel analysts, providing a standard interface for healthcare revenue analysts.

Couple hikers success concept in mountains

Prepped Health

DUKE INVENTOR: Arif Kamal, Jon Nicolla

Prepped Health provides an approach to developing mobile health platforms that help patients prepare for their journey with serious illness, leading to better health outcomes and a high quality of life for the patient and their loved ones.

prepped health logo

Managing serious illness is unique for each patient. Prepped Health offers multiple tools that empower patients to take control of their healthcare journey.

They have created platforms that center around the three pillars of patient engagement:

  • Communication
  • Education
  • Navigation

Prepped Health has established use cases for their system in:

  • Palliative care
  • Hospice care
  • COPD care
  • Cancer Care

Prepped Health ensures that patients will be ready for their journey with serious illness, leading to better health outcomes and a higher quality of life for patients and their loved ones.

Mobile Application

Prepped is a mobile application that generates helpful, timely suggested questions for patients and caregivers to ask their clinical providers. The app uses a strength in numbers in approach – Prepped crowdsources questions submitted by national experts, patients, caregivers and other users to recommend the best questions for the patient based on the patient’s profile and where they are in the disease process. Current versions of Prepped are focused on patients with cancer and/or COPD

Business concepts,Two men are consulting a business with tablet and laptop.

Infinia ML

DUKE INVENTOR: Lawrence Carin

Founded by Lawrence Carin, vice provost for research and professor of electrical and computer engineering, Infinia ML, Inc. is an artificial intelligence company that has built machine learning algorithms to help businesses and organizations make sense of big data.

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Infinia ML uses advanced machine learning techniques to solve business challenges for Fortune 500 companies. Our algorithms unlock the hidden potential of our clients’ data, helping them automate complex processes, enhance employee efficiency, and pioneer transformational breakthroughs. Led by serial AI entrepreneur Robbie Allen and computer science luminary Lawrence Carin, our team’s combined accomplishments include over 500 published papers, 30 granted patents, 11 authored or co-authored books, and five PhDs.

“The company is, in many ways, the translation of the work we’ve been doing at Duke for many years on machine learning,” Carin said in an interview with the Triangle Business Journal.

The doctor hands with pill in hospital

Custom Clinical Decision Support (CCDS)

MANAGEMENT: Martha Adams, President & CEO

Custom Clinical Decision Support, Inc. is a group of medical professionals and technology experts delivering information to clinicians where it matters — at the point of care. The company’s first product is “CustomID®”, a cloud and web-based decision support tool for management of infectious diseases.

CustomID logo

The inventors’ story began at the time of the handheld computer and a growing popularity amongst clinicians for pocket-sized calculators and for ready information resources such as drugs and vaccine schedules. They saw a gap in the delivery of timely updates for management of infections in their large academic hospital in North Carolina. The solution was CustomID® which they first launched for PDA and later as a web app for display either via desktop or mobile internet browser. Subsequently, in 2005, the Dutch Working Party on Antibiotic Policy (SWAB) licensed the CustomID® framework and installed their guide in 30 hospitals in the Netherlands. CCDS is now taking CustomID® for offering beyond the Duke enterprise.


CustomID® is different from other antimicrobial guides by providing site-specific content, easily customizable, which is key for timely updates about drug shortages, outbreaks, and site-specific policies and protocols.

The company vision is to forward cutting-edge technology and knowledge transfer that is suitable for all medical disciplines, a vision to keep at the forefront, the goal of saving lives.

Isolere Bio

MANAGEMENT: Joseph McMahon
DUKE INVENTOR: Ashutosh Chilkoti

Chromatography-free solutions for the purification of biological therapeutics.  Isolere Bio was co-founded with the vision of simplifying and streamlining the purification of biotherapeutics to improve global access to these important drugs.

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Monoclonal antibodies make up an effective and rapidly growing class of drugs. They are also critical research tools and essential for the development of many new diagnostics.

IsoTag Technology

The IsoTag technology works on the basis of affinity and phase separation. An engineered domain from Protein A captures the Fc portion of a monoclonal antibody (mAb). This affinity domain is fused to a stimulus responsive biopolymer. When in complex, the stimulus responsiveness is conferred to the mAb. This allows it to undergo phase separation from all other cellular contaminants. This process is fast, simple, and highly concentrating.


DUKE INVENTOR: Nicholas Befera

Creating radiology reports that people can actually understand: A patient-education software solution for explaining medical results.

scanslated logo

Scanslated software analyzes the text of a standard radiology report, translates that text into simple language, and displays the report results on a diagrammatic, interactive webpage.


92% of Americans have access to their medical records online. More than 50% of patients who use the online portal are accessing their radiology reports. However, these reports are technical documents written in medical terminology, and most patients don’t understand them.


We’re creating a radiology report that people can actually understand. Our software analyzes the text of a standard radiology report, translates that text into simple language, and displays the report results on a diagrammatic, interactive webpage.