Tuesday, July 10, 2012

HemoShear rockets to front of commercialization

In taking a big product development risk, Charlottesville-based HemoShear has found a big reward, earning the trust of 10 major pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies.

The Charlottesville Business Innovation Council recently honored HemoShear with the Rocket Award, which recognizes the rapid commercialization of a product or technology.

Local firms Phthisis Diagnostics and WillowTree Apps also were nominated for the award.
Founded in 2008, HemoShear began commercial operations in 2009.

The company was recognized for creating a system that accurately replicates the biology of the body’s organs and disease processes, which in turn, enables better study of pharmaceutical and biotechnology advancements, according to the company’s website.

HemoShear employs 25 people and is currently working with about 10 major pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies. The concept is so new and dynamic that HemoShear is essentially the only firm so far that has been able to take that concept from an idea to commercial viability, according to Nikki Hastings, HemoShear’s vice president of laboratory operations. And they did it in about five years.

“I think they really have come a long way and they’re going to go much further. And I think they’re going to be a real hit out of the biotech arena in Charlottesville,” said Gary Henry, chairman of the CBIC board.

Tracey Danner, the CBIC’s interim director, agreed.

“HemoShear is an excellent example of an innovative startup firm with technology that has the potential to add significant value to the world’s human health care needs, while also contributing to the health of our region’s growing tech-based ecosystem,” Danner said by email.

Starting with a staff of five in 2008, Danner said HemoShear is expected to grow to nearly 40 employees by the end of this year and potentially double that in 2013.

In her capacity as vice president of laboratory operations, Hastings oversees project workflow and efficiency. Hastings credits HemoShear’s quick growth to the ability of the company to provide demonstrated support for what they’re doing, thereby gaining the confidence of major companies.

“We’ve been fortunate in being able to break into that network,” Hastings said. “Many people are surprised that there are 30 biotech companies right here in Charlottesville, and I’ve been really engaged in getting the word out about that and getting students excited about what’s going on locally as a future career.”

By: Nate Delesline III

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