Pioneering Medical Diagnostics
November 14, 2010 Leave a comment
Geoff Todd’s new company has the potential to change the face of medical diagnosis, and he’s unashamedly bursting with enthusiasm about the prospect.
His company, Trinity Bioactive, is buying a business unit from Otago University and licensing new molecular diagnostics technology from a company in Texas. Initially Trinity will focus on providing bioassays (biological tests) that quickly assess potential pharmaceutical or health products for actual health benefits.
In the longer term Trinity will develop a diagnostic product range that uses fragments of DNA to conclusively identify disease conditions. The clincher is that this can be done, not in two days, or even two hours, but only a few minutes.
“It’s almost instantaneous,” says Geoff. “The way it is done will be better than any other process currently, and will have many potential applications.”
Geoff has led two start-ups to date, but this is the first time that he has been able to be a shareholder and investor in a start-up company.
But he denies it is nervewracking, instead saying he and his partners in the business – Paul Davis, who was the head of the Otago University business unit – and Allen Goldenthall find it incredibly exciting.
“We’re a bunch of enthusiasts, who can see the potential for something big in this. We have grand plans!”
Their enthusiasm has been infectious, wearing off on a group of investors from Angel HQ, three of whom have decided to support the growth of the company.
Trinity’s first foray into the public eye is a showcase of the bioassays technology at AUSBIO, a tradefair of Biotech companies later this year. Their plans are to sell their products both in New Zealand and internationally.
Commercial use of the diagnostic technology is a bit further off – Geoff estimates it will be around three years before the technology can be developed, tested and distributed.
He says Angel HQ is an important development for Wellington and has been integral in helping get their company off the ground.
“Wellington has a low proportion of non-service companies. If we want to create more employment, if we want to keep our kids here, we must provide more options for them. We must look at companies that grow and thrive despite the exchange rate. Grow Wellington has done this by helping a business to emerge out of academia.”
Geoff says the help of Angel HQ has been invaluable, not just from a financial perspective, but to help focus on the key objectives of the business.
“The company ‘Fit to Front’, through Angel HQ, helped me clarify my key points, and how I was saying it,” he explains. “If you are pitching for investment, you have to be clear why investors should choose you, why you believe you are going to succeed. They have to believe that you have the people to make it happen.”
“Angel HQ encouraged me to be more natural and encouraged me to express my passion for my business. This is really important – for investors to believe in your product, you need to show them that you believe in it first.”