The entrepreneurial spirit that had gone dormant resurged and propelled him to start his first venture i-STAT Corporation, in 1983. Founded in New Jersey, the company moved its biochip design and manufacturing to Ottawa, Canada, and soon became a pioneer in mobile blood testing. Lightweight and portable, the i-STAT delivers lab-quality diagnostic results in minutes from the biochip-based analyzer. This garnered much attention, even in the conservative medical markets monopolized by MedTech giants. In 2003, when i-STAT was acquired by Abbott, Lauks was already some years into launching his next start-up, Epocal. A perfect confluence of nanotechnology and biotechnology, the company, expanded the “lab-on-a-chip” concept to an innovative smart-card-based blood-diagnostic tool for critical care. Imagine the impact a wireless device that tests a blood sample in minutes for the same cost as an old-fashioned lab-test would bring. This market opportunity in streamlining patient-testing workflow and accelerating clinical decision-making prompted medical solutions giant, Siemens-Healthineers, to acquire Epocal in 2017.
Through his state-of-the-art innovations, Lauks’ start-ups have attracted a symposium’s worth of doctors, scientists, software developers, engineers, and other savvy professionals worldwide. The right blend of technology and business strategies has earned the start-ups successful exits for all shareholders.
But innovative minds never sleep. Riding on the wave of a winning streak, Lauks is leveraging his subject-matter expertise towards the development of a third-generation, acute care, point-of-care product.
QUESTAT: A Venture to Drive Innovations in Near-Patient Testing
The instant availability of results for immediate and informed decisions about patient care will ensure a paradigm shift in earlier diagnosis, communication of diagnosis, and disease management. It offers the potential for improved outcomes, including patient satisfaction and cost-effectiveness. The transition toward reducing healthcare inequalities by being accessible to certain hard-to-reach environments cannot be overlooked. Joining Lauks in this venture is Questat’s president, Dr Anca Varlan, who has been a principal scientist at both i-STAT and Epocal.
I’ve always believed in patient-side acute-care testing, and Questat is committed to delivering high-quality products and services patients and providers can rely on for consistently accurate and actionable information
“I’ve always believed in patient side acute-care testing, and Questat is committed to delivering high-quality products and services patients and providers can rely on for consistently accurate and actionable information,” says Lauks.
To keep the flywheel spinning and ensure competitive viability, Questat is now at the de-risking stage of the technology development to mitigate the potential technology pitfalls, a necessary step to attract funding. This includes developing superior performance capabilities while addressing expansion potential in the marketplace. For the next stages (proposed for the coming years), Questat plans to continue development and initiate technology transfer to manufacturing, clinical testing, and regulatory submissions, culminating in product launch. To that end, they have raised series A funds and will be approaching the financial community to raise series B.
Even though Questat has kept the strategies and specifics of their new product under wraps, the management is working at full speed to build the team and recruit qualified professionals with strong technical competence. “As a third-generation, acute care, point of-care company, working in the single-drop-blood testing arena, our goal is to satisfy multiple acute care medical markets and support customers across the globe,” says Anca Varlan, President, Questat.
It’s no exaggeration that Lauks turns innovative ideas into gold. However, in all his endeavors, the goal is simple to make a significant impact on acute patient care