In 2020, it seemed like everything was screeching to a halt, but the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL-Atlanta) site was just kicking off in the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business. An objectives-based program for early-stage science and technology-based companies, CDL provides a market for judgment to participating companies. It also pairs MBA, and Ph.D. students in the TI:GER program with live ventures to assist in their business development.
Oxford Immune Algorithmics (OIA), a biotech start-up, was part of last year’s CDL cohort and are the creators of Algocyte, a remote health monitoring technology that uses AI to diagnose disease based on at-home blood tests. Algocyte specializes in monitoring the immune system. The company is rapidly growing. It was recently granted a U.S. patent for its portable device and is used with the Algocyte platform for AI-driven, mobile blood testing, with six additional patent filings currently in the queue.
OIA closed their Seed A funding round with $7M at the end of December. They are now raising another round, having grown to 60 employees across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, and soon Australia.
“The CDL experience challenged us and allowed us to dig very deep. The mentorship program and intense discussions presented a framework for us to better position ourselves and articulate our technology. For us it was extra special because this is also where we ultimately met our key investors through the mentorship and CDL community,” said Kim Riedel, communications manager for OIA.
Enrolled in TI:GER during Fall 2020, Amir Hejri was assigned OIA as his company and dove into its product development. Hejri is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the College of Engineering doing biomedical research. Working in Mark Prausnitz’s lab, Hejri’s research is aimed at developing new technologies for improved drug delivery to the eye for treating blindness. He was able to apply both the scientific foundation from his Ph.D. and the business knowledge he gained as a student with TI:GER.
“I was always interested in the translational side of research - how to turn research ideas into successful market products that could benefit people and enhance their quality of life. I really wanted to see the effect and the influence in people's lives,” Hejri said.
“But I wasn't equipped with the training or experience to work with startups, so my journey took me to applying to the TI:GER program, which is the educational arm of CDL-Atlanta,” he said. “It was the best decision I could have made.”
The company eventually finished out the program with CDL-Toronto, graduating as one of the top two performers at the end of Session 4 with support from top mentors, including Pam Winsor, former CMO from Medtronic Canada, who now serves as Chair on OIA’s Board of Directors.
“The outstanding team is a major asset of OIA. When I met them for the first time, I could immediately see how they would disrupt remote treatments and prevent immune diseases through the use of AI for personalized medicine,“ said Lydia Turkié, director of CDL-Atlanta and associate director of the TI:GER program.
Hejri is preparing to defend his dissertation, graduating in July.