Who is on the executive team and how many other students are on the whole team?
Because we’re still less than a year old, our executive team is small. It consists of my partner, Eliot Kim, and me. I am a 2nd year PhD candidate at Weill Cornell Medical College. Though S.A.L.T. is not my thesis work, I bring the scientific prowess, grant-writing and experimental design know-how as well as general problem solving skills. (We graduate students are very resilient beings!) Eliot Kim recently relocated from Silicon Valley back to his hometown of New York City. He has over 15 years of experience in the medical device start-up world and is a mechanical engineer by training, so he helps tremendously in teaching me the basics of product design. Additionally, he also has experience in business development areas – such as product development, marketing, and patent work.
Currently, we are looking into expanding the team to have someone help me out with business development. Though we’ve found a potential candidate, nothing is set in stone, so we’d love if anyone interested could reach out. We also have a scientific advisor at Montefiore Medical Center. I am the only student on the team.
What is the business?
The business is named Sodium Analyte Level Test LLC. Our acronym is S.A.L.T. so we use that name casually. Sodium Analyte Level Test is an innovative medical device a patient uses at home to monitor his/her 24-hour sodium levels in urine. Specifically, the device consists of a disposable stick that loosely resembles a pregnancy test as well as a mobile app, which reads the disposable stick and also includes demographic variables to calculate and keep track of a patient’s 24-hour sodium levels.
Why is it valuable or interesting?
Our device has relevance for several clinical populations who need to adhere to low sodium diets as a means of maintaining their health. Our device is relevant for the 78 million (or 1 in 3) Americans with hypertension (high blood pressure). Numerous studies have shown a correlation between salt intake and blood pressure. Importantly, physicians and the American Heart Association recommend low salt diets for these patients. Our device is also relevant to the 20 M individuals with Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States. Specifically, we are choosing to focus on the ~9 million individuals with diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Lastly, our device is useful for the 500,000 Americans with Liver Cirrhosis. Our device is interesting because it will be the first product on the market capable of performing a measure of 24-hour salt levels in urine. The current standard of care is the 24-hour urine collection test, which is done in conjunction with a physician and takes more than a full 24 hours to complete and analyze. Clearly, a test like this is not feasible or practical to be carried out a regular basis for patients to monitor salt intake.
When was the business created?
The business was officially created as an LLC in the State of New York in July of 2014. However, the very beginning of this work began in March of 2014 as part of a class called Bench to Bedside: Business Fundamentals for Entrepreneurial Scientists that I took last spring at Weill Cornell.
What does S.A.L.T. think about the entrepreneurship community at Cornell?
I think the entrepreneurship community at Cornell is blossoming and inspirational. Though I am at Weill Cornell, I receive multiple emails a day from the E-ship email list about the various events going on at Cornell Ithaca. From patent workshops, to business pitch competitions to office hours with the executive in residence, I am always so jealous that I am 4 hours away and can’t attend all the events!
What is S.A.L.T.’s favorite entrepreneurship resource at Cornell? ie: Popshop, professors, etc.
Unfortunately, because I’m at Weill Cornell, I have not been able to experience many of the entrepreneurship resources at Cornell. However, I have been able to experience resources available in New York City. Currently, our company is participating in the EntrepreneurLabNYC Health Tech & Bio incubator mentorship program. It’s been integral for much of our company’s growth and provides an excellent network of seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and service providers we’ve been able to connect with.
For more information about S.A.L.T. please visit their website: www.saltcounts.com.
For more information about the EntrepreneurLabNYC Health Tech & Bio incubator please visit elabnyc.com.