2018 Award Winners


PapGene  (JHU Fast Forward)

PapGene, Inc. is focused on improving human health through the development and commercialization of cancer diagnostics.  Most localized cancers can be cured by surgery alone.  However, once distant metastasis occurs, surgery is rarely curative.

PapGene’s platform technology, the Safe-Sequencing System (“Safe-SeqS”), substantially increases the sensitivity of Massively Parallel Sequencing, enabling non-invasive early detection from routinely collected specimen types. Safe-SeqS, and its application to the analysis of Pap specimens, was patented by company founders and is licensed from Johns Hopkins University. PapGene is actively expanding its IP portfolio with additional patents related to sample processing and workflow.

The company aims to develop a range of tests for detecting cancers before they metastasize. To date, it includes assays for early detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers from DNA in liquid Pap specimens, recurrence monitoring of bladder cancer through DNA in urine, and the detection of multiple cancers through additional specimen types.


Sepio Systems  (Launch Workplaces)

Hardware Devices Are the New Front Lines of IT Security 
Sepio Systems is a cyber security firm that stops layer 1 hardware attacks.  Commercially available hardware attack kits based on stolen cyber weapons threaten organizations.  Bad actors on the inside leverage access to networked devices to compromise their targets.  Innocent looking devices – keyboards, mouse, barcode scanners and more - that sit on every desk are easily manipulated to defeat endpoint security leaving networks wide open to malware attacks.  ‘Ghost devices’ inline of trusted devices create MITM attacks undetected by NAC’s and EPS.  Sepio Systems brings visibility, behavioral analytics and policy enforcement for networked hardware to repel these attacks.

Founded by cyber security experts from private industry and government agencies, Sepio Systems is the first security solution on the market for this critical attack surface. 


CoapTech (LifeBridge Health BioIncubator at Sinai Hospital)

CoapTech’s patented “Point-of-Care Ultrasound Magnet Aligned” (PUMA) medical device system leverages point-of-care ultrasound to enable minimally trained medical providers to replace teams of specialists and suites of expensive equipment.  Our first product, a minimally-invasive device for placement of gastric feeding tubes, is poised to disrupt a $650M business. 

CoapTech’s lead product, the PUMA-G, will enable gastrostomy procedures (placement of feeding tubes) to be performed by non-surgical providers using ultrasound at the patient bedside, rather than in an expensive suite.  PUMA-G will deliver a >50% reduction in cost, categorically eliminate several safety risks, and save providers significant time for this common procedure.  

PUMA-G has been validated in live canines and human cadavers.  CoapTech expects 510(k) clearance and First-in-human use of PUMA-G by Q4-2018.   CoapTech has raised $2.35M in seed funding to date and is preparing for its Series A to commercialize PUMA-G, and continue developing innovative devices using its PUMA technology.  


Circulomics (Harbor Launch at IMET)

Circulomics is a Baltimore biotech company creating new tools for DNA sequencing. To date, Circulomics has received $7.5 M in non-dilutive funding to develop its Nanobind DNA extraction technology, PicoSep single molecule instrument, and molecular assay technologies that eliminate bottlenecks in sequencing sample preparation. From liquid biopsies that detect cancer using a single drop of blood to sequencing new varietals of corn, the first step in nearly all sequencing is sample preparation. Poor sample quality can cause sequencing artifacts and low data yield. While sequencing technologies have advanced dramatically, the pre-requisite DNA extraction technologies have remained stagnant. Circulomics’ flagship Nanobind nanomaterial disks are the first major advance in sample preparation in over 25 years. They can extract the highest quality DNA and RNA from any cell, tissue, or biofluid sample, leading to higher quality sequencing data, higher sequencing yields, and lower sequencing costs.