Medical device developer Nanodropper took home top honors from the awards ceremony, held yesterday at the University of Minnesota.
“We have created an eyedrop bottle adaptor that will save billions in medication waste, one drop at a time,” Nanodropper CEO Allisa Song said.
Song, an MD candidate at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, launched the company with three other founders after learning that drug companies make eye drops too large to be fully absorbed, and that smaller drops are more efficient and just as efficacious.Rochester-based Nanodropper reduces drop size from 40 microliters to 10 microliters — what Song calls the “ideal-size drop” — to extend the life of each bottle of medicated eye drops three or four times, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars per year on a single prescription.
“We decided that patients deserve better. … Our competitors have made smaller droplets, yes, but Nanodropper is the only solution that both reduces the droplet size and the cost of the medication,” Song said.
The startup has already secured seed funding from Golden Seeds and Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. (RAEDI), has its product in more than 250 eye clinics and landed a $500,000 contract with the U.S. Air Force.
Nanodropper won $25,000 for winning the Minnesota Cup Student Division and the $50,000 grand prize as the overall winner. Minnesota Cup does not take an equity stake in exchange for the prizes.
“We trust them to invest that money in their business in any way they choose.” Minnesota Cup Director Jessica Berg said.
It’s the first time in Minnesota Cup’s 17 seasons that a student-led startup has won the overall competition. This year’s contest drew nearly 2,000 early-stage companies earning less than $1 million in revenue.
CoraVie Medical, which is developing a subcutaneous continuous blood pressure monitor for hypertension, won the competition’s LifeScience/Health IT division.