Goddard Labs, a Calverton-based startup that has developed breakthrough food and water testing technology, has been named Best in Show of the Mid Atlantic Bio Angels’ 1st Pitch Life Sciences competition.
Although the physical prize isn’t much — a polo shirt and a press release — the bragging rights are gold plated and the connections may one day be worth even more: MABA members are active investors from Delaware to Massachusetts with deep backgrounds in biotech, pharma and health care.
Goddard Labs is developing a low-cost, disposable, handheld sampling device that collects pathogenic bacteria from produce or water samples and rapidly subjects them to molecular diagnostic testing. Standard food safety testing currently involves culturing, which relies on collecting and growing live bacteria in a food sample. Results can take days, even weeks. Goddard Labs’ HARVEST technology reports back within hours.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that food-borne pathogens cause illness in 1 of every 6 Americans each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths and more than $100 billion in economic loss. By reducing the time needed for test results and increasing testing frequency, Goddard Labs hopes to significantly lower these numbers.
“We developed HARVEST to empower producers and distributors to perform more frequent testing of their products,” said Noel Goddard, the company’s founder and CEO. “Increased testing lowers their risk, while providing improved consumer safety and confidence. Everyone wins.”
The company has received funding from Accelerate Long Island and the Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund and is in the process of locking up its intellectual property before heading to market.
“Goddard Labs is addressing an area of high market need — something they managed to clearly and effectively communicate to the 1st Pitch audience,” said Yaniv Sneor, president of Blue Cactus Consulting and a co-founder of MABA.
The 1st Pitch event allows three finalists to present a 15-minute pitch, followed by 15 minutes of questions. Unlike other pitch competitions, in which the presenters are asked to leave the room while the judges debate, presenting companies at 1st Pitch are invited to hear the panel constructively critique the company’s presentation, business model and perceived viability in the market.
Only then do winners get the polo shirt.
Goddard Labs is the second local company to win the competition this year. Gerard Honig, CEO of Symbiotic Health, which is commercializing research from the Feinstein Center at North Shore-LIJ, won the February running of the event.