Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
"The Pre-Seed Workshop is the best approach I have seen to the challenging issue of determining if academic researchers have an idea that can become a commercially successful venture."

Sean Boykevisch
Senior Licensing Associate
Stony Brook University, Long Island

Existing Service Business Uses PSW to Investigate a Product Idea

“We were a service company with no experience in product development,” recalled David Pawlowski, PhD, Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP). Dr. Pawlowski was an idea champion at Pre-Seed Workshop Buffalo, representing CUBRC as the inventor of the technology.

While collaborating on a project between CUBRC (which focuses on research, development, testing, and systems integration) and the federal government, an idea emerged that later became a patented product that could isolate protein and nucleic acid from biological samples. Yet with a product, rather than a service, in mind, no one had experience in bringing a product to market. Thus, Dr. Pawlowski attended PSW to learn about commercializing products and testing markets external to the federal government. “The main thing we learned was that investors and scientists think completely differently about products, where they need to go, and certain markets they may or may not succeed in,” he said. While CUBRC thought the product would be suitable for the education and research field, investors were looking more at the medical diagnostics field.

After the workshop, CUBRC probed both fields. “More of the interest did come from the diagnostic field in the context of a low resource setting,” said Dr. Pawlowski. “Our product is power-free, so people were most interested in using it in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, or Southeast Asia. However, we also garnered interest from a number of companies that package high school level science kits.”

As a not-for-profit organization wanting to stay actively involved in developing their product idea, CUBRC is working with its wholly-owned subsidiary Avarint to see the product through to market. This allows close control over the rights and ownership of the technology, which would not be possible if licensing it to a third-party product development company.

Currently, the product is proceeding forward through internal funding. “We did win a few UBCAT awards, but we declined them due to the terms.” CUBRC is working with a subcontract company based out of New Jersey to work on scale-up manufacturing. “Before PSW, we were doing everything by hand,” said Dr. Pawlowski. “It was impossible to work on the product in a cost-effective manner. Our contractors helped us develop a plan—a cost analysis—to hit our price point.” It was through PSW that Dr. Pawlowski made this connection. Regarding other connections made at PSW, “I continue to communicate with my former PSW team members on multiple early stage projects under development at CUBRC and Avarint,” he said.

Want to learn more about Pre-Seed Workshop alumni, their experiences, and progress? Check out our Alumni Stories by clicking here.