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The AACC Disruptive Technology Award will return for its second year at the 71st AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, offering several exciting venues for contestants to showcase their work in precision and personalized medicine. The three finalists will compete for the grand prize at a special session, and both finalists and semifinalists will have displays and presentations at the new AACC Innovation Zone in the Expo exhibit hall.

Ten other companies and academic research teams will give 10-minute talks on their diagnostic breakthroughs in the CLN Presents Theater within the AACC Innovation Zone. These groups were selected by the CLN Board of Editors from a field of 30 applications based on having developed important innovations that have potential to improve patient care. Organizations discussing their diagnostic technologies at the CLN Presents Theater include: Abreos Biosciences; First Light Diagnostics; Genotox Laboratories; HemoSonics; Hospital for Sick Children - CALIPER; KIT Bio; National Research Council Canada; Scanwell Health; TriCore Laboratories; and Veravas.  

AACC’s Disruptive Technology Award recognizes innovative testing solutions that improve patient care through diagnostic performance or access to high-quality testing. Selected from a pool of seven semifinalists, three finalist teams will compete for a $5,000 cash prize, following an evaluation by a team of expert judges. The team that receives the most audience votes will receive an Audience Choice Award plaque.

The three finalists include:

  • Inflammatix, developer of the HostDxTM Sepsis test. This assay evaluates patient response to better diagnose acute infections and sepsis. It measures expression levels of 29 host immune genes in combination with clinically validated advanced proprietary algorithms to inform on the likelihood of a bacterial infection, the separate likelihood of a viral infection, and the infection’s severity.
  • PixCell Medical, developer of disruptive lab-on-cartridge and artificial intelligence technology that simplifies blood tests and makes high-end advanced diagnostics accessible at the point of care. The goal is to enable widespread early detection of cancer, heart failure, and infection.
  • Singlera Genomics, whose ColonES test uses next-generation sequencing-based targeted methylation haplotyping of bisulfite-treated cell-free DNA to screen for early colorectal cancer. The assay has been shown to have 97% sensitivity for stage I colorectal cancer with a specificity greater than 99%.

All seven semifinalists will have two opportunities to demonstrate their technologies at the meeting:

  • Special Session—The Disruptive Technology Award Competition will be held on Monday, August 5, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Plenary Ballroom. At this event, the three finalists will present to a panel of judges. An announcement of the winner will take place at the end of the competition. Audience members will also have the opportunity to vote using the audience response system.
  • Innovation Zone | CLN Presents Theater—The four semifinalists and three finalists will have a kiosk at the Innovation Zone, a forum that celebrates forward-thinking innovators in laboratory medicine. Each of these seven teams will also have an opportunity to present a 10-minute lecture at the Innovation Zone’s CLN Presents Theater. Events will take place August 6 and 7.

The Disruptive Technology Award Organizing Committee went through a rigorous process to determine this year’s semifinalists and finalists. This year’s five-member panel included:

  • Dimitra Georganopoulou, PhD, committee chair and director of commercialization innovation and new ventures at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois;
  • Demetra Callas, PhD, MBA, senior director for pathology and laboratory medicine at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago;
  • Lance Ladic, PhD, director of strategic innovation at Siemens Healthcare in Tarrytown, New York;
  • Khushbu Patel, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and associate director of the Clinical Chemistry Division of Pediatric Pathology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; and
  • Vincent Ricchiuti, PhD, laboratory director and discipline director in immunology at LabCorp in Dublin, Ohio.

In addition, four individuals helped the planning committee in different stages of review and mentorship:

  • Barbara Goodman, president and chief operating officer at Cures within Reach;
  • Shannon Haymond, PhD, DABCC FACB, vice chair for computational pathology and director of clinical chemistry and mass spectrometry laboratories at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago;
  • Kapila Viges, senior associate with Illinois Ventures; and
  • Susan Evans, PhD, vice president and general manager of Agencourt Bioscience.

Committee members and reviewers divided into three groups to review the entries. “Each application was scored based on technology, business vision, market vision, clarity of presentation, and if it was a good fit for the competition,” according to Georganopoulou and Kerri Denholm, AACC’s manager for professional education.

Applications underwent multiple rounds of review:

  • Individual blind review: Each reviewer was assigned the same applications to conduct his or her own individual review.
  • Group review: Each group discussed the assigned applications and their scores against the criteria, and why a submitted technology should or should not move forward as a semifinalist. Scrutinizing each assigned application, the group selected and presented its top contenders to the planning committee.
  • Case study: The groups also presented case studies of their top choices to the planning committee. From these, the committee voted on the top seven, which were selected as semifinalists. Blind scoring took place to score the semifinalist presentations, followed by a discussion with the rest of the planning committee.

The judges who will be selecting this year’s award winner represent a mix of investors, venture capitalists, and strategic partner representatives, including:

  • Mary Amor, head of ventures and business development, Siemens Healthineers;
  • Kelly Chun, PhD, vice president and scientific director, LabCorp;
  • Terry Fetterhoff, senior director, technology management, and head of the U.S. Chief Technology Office at F. Hoffmann-La Roche;
  • Scott Garrett, senior partner, Water Street Healthcare Partners; and
  • Evan Norton, divisional vice president and director of Abbott Ventures, Abbott Laboratories.

Each of these individuals has an extensive background in emerging technologies in diagnostics, with experience in numerous other competitions like the Disruptive Technology Award.

Witness the future of personalized medicine at the 71th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Anaheim, California.