Date Posted: 4/07/2020

Members of Cornell Tech’s “Runway Startup” postdoc program have repurposed screening technology originally devised for cancer detection for the identification of COVID-19.

"Rebecca Brachman, a postdoctoral fellow in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech’s Runway Startup Postdoc Program, was thinking about big-picture ways to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. She called another fellow in the program, Server Ertem, Ph.D. ’09, to brainstorm," as Melanie Lefkowitz writes in her account for the Cornell Chronicle. The result? Brachman and Ertem "realized that a cancer detection tool under development by Ertem’s company [Katena Oncology] could be adapted to the new coronavirus. Now they’re working withr hospitals in New York City and companies around the world to develop a rapid, inexpensive and accurate test for coronavirus immunity that could help individuals and communities determine who might safely rejoin the workforce or care for the sick."

The Runway Startup Postdoc Program "provides one or two years of academic and business mentorship, and funding for recent Ph.D.s with promising business ideas that need time and guidance to develop. Since 2014, Runway participants have created 28 startups—22 of which are still in operation and two exits—employing 189 people and raising nearly $100 million in funding."

Continue reading about Brachman and Ertem's collaboration.