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Stanford Nonprofit Focuses on Government for COVID-19 Tools

A professional network of physicians, scientists and entrepreneurs has formed the StartX Med COVID-19 Task Force, a collaborative group focused on government outreach and fast-tracking urgent technology.

by / May 18, 2020
The Hoover Tower at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Stanford University_Shutterstock

In the spirit of teamwork against a common threat, a group of Stanford University scientists, physicians and professor-entrepreneurs have mobilized their nonprofit StartX to help governments with prevention, diagnostics and treatment of COVID-19.

StartX Med, the medical division of the professional network that connects Stanford entrepreneurs with colleagues, investors and mentorship programs, is calling the new initiative the StartX Med COVID-19 Task Force. According to news releases, almost 100 StartX Med members involved with innovations related to contact tracing, telemedicine and treatments are now working together on outreach to put those tools in the hands of government agencies, regulatory bodies and health-care systems. In March, they offered more than a dozen examples of what their members are either offering or working on, including:

  • Testing results in under 10 minutes for drive-through testing, nursing homes and ER rooms
  • Applications and hardware to diagnose respiratory problems
  • Treatments for sepsis and antibiotic resistance arising from COVID-19 complications
  • Software applications to remotely monitor quarantined patients and exposed health-care workers
  • Forms of testing that can identify type and severity of infections
  • Software to optimize hospital operations and track supply chains
  • An easy-to-deploy centrifuge system for collecting and preparing samples
  • A handheld device that can measure temperature, lung sounds, airway pressure, pulmonary function, heart signals and blood oxygen
  • A free, virtual COVID-19 evaluation tool for hospitals trying to preserve clinical resources for patients who need in-person care

Besides outreach, the task force is trying to connect StartX Med companies working on COVID-19 solutions with venture capitalists devoted to that cause.

Therapeutics companies involved with StartX are also fast-tracking clinical trials for new antiviral drugs for COVID-19 and an often-associated complication, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

In a public statement about the task force, StartX CEO Joseph Huang reiterated the need for collaboration over bureaucratic silos.

“As the number of positive cases continue to soar in the outbreak of COVID-19, there is an imminent need for reducing barriers companies are experiencing with therapeutic medical breakthroughs needing to be deployed,” Huang said. “We’ve always said that our community of industry leaders can achieve more as a group than as individuals, and this is a prime example of how quickly StartX companies and the Stanford entrepreneurship ecosystem can mobilize and come together in times of crisis.”

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Andrew Westrope Staff Writer

Andrew Westrope is a staff writer for Government Technology. Before that, he was a reporter and editor at community newspapers for seven years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.


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