Professor Anja Boisen is developing a miniaturized tabletop device that can perform therapeutic drug monitoring on a single drop of blood in a matter of minutes. The research group will be working on a solution available at point of care without the need for specialized personnel and at a fraction of the currently available cost.
PI Anja Boisen
Anja Boisen has more than 20 years’ experience in sensor development and has managed several larger national and international projects. She is heading the IDUN center of Excellence and has co-founded four spinout companies from DTU. Anja is among others the vice-chair of Innovation Fund Denmark, which supports entrepreneurs, researchers and businesses to develop innovative and viable solutions to society’s challenges.
Co-PI and Senior Scientist Kinga Zor has a strong background in project management and coordination, analytical chemistry and sensor development in highly interdisciplinary research environments.
When you establish a company, you think you will focus on one thing, but you quickly realize that you need to pivot several times. That is certainly something you can use in research as we should probably pivot more than we sometimes do. Another important learning from the business world is that you don’t need to have a perfect system or solution before you start testing your hypothesis. Just build a simple prototype and start testing, go back to adjust, and then test it again.
I don’t know how it started, but I have always been in environments where commercialization was a well-known path to choose. I did an industrial Ph.D. in nanotech, and when I got my first research grant, there were several people around me starting businesses, so I decided to start a company, Cantion with one of my Ph.D. students. We received a sizeable seed funding from NKT that back then in the early 2000s invested quite a lot in life science start-ups. I think that experience and my industrial Ph.D. opened my eyes to commercialization from the very beginning.
I work with sensors, so I am excited about some of the new fast diagnostics tools on the market. I recently visited BluSense Diagnostics that came out of my group. Today, they are 60 people, and they have developed a fast and affordable technique to test for the Sika virus and Dengue fever. More recently, they have also developed an antibody test for Covid-19, that can deliver the result within 12 minutes.
It is always a lot of small coincidences that lead to innovation and novel ideas. It is an interesting challenge to keep things simple, repurpose existing technologies and develop affordable systems.
“Anja Boisen is both an accomplished academic and a serial entrepreneur with a strong track record in bridging the world of engineering with life science applications. Her team is developing a new tabletop device to monitor levels of therapeutic drugs in single drops of blood in the clinic. This technology will find uses in fields such as pediatric oncology where the correct dosing of drugs is critical to avoid toxicity”
Markus Herrgard, Chief Technical Officer, BioInnovation Institute.