TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced today its Builder Fund invested $100,000 in UMBC spinout Astek Diagnostics, a medical device start-up based in Maryland. TEDCO’s Builder Fund invests in and provides executive support to Maryland-based technology companies run by entrepreneurs who demonstrate economic disadvantage.

Astek is building a platform (Eugris) that guides physicians in prescribing appropriate antibiotics for patients with bacterial sepsis in one hour. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that affects more than one million patients a year in the United States, and even more patients around the globe. Sepsis is the cause of more than 8 million deaths worldwide.

For patients suspected of sepsis or septic shock, rapid initiation of the correct antibiotic therapy is crucial: Every hour of delay increases mortality by 7-8 percent. A proof-of-concept prototype of the Astek diagnostic platform has been verified using commercial blood and archived clinical samples. The Eugris is projected to launch in the market 2023.

“With its exciting new platform, Astek Diagnostics has the potential to save thousands or even millions of lives from sepsis-related deaths,” said Jean-Luc Park, senior director of Social Impact Funds at TEDCO. “Maryland entrepreneurs who are working on ground-breaking science and tech solutions should reach out to TEDCO to connect with resource and funding opportunities. With regards to the Builder Fund, we’re looking to support hard-working innovators who are under-represented in their fields.”

Astek received funding from other programs within TEDCO as well. In addition to guidance and mentoring through the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), Astek received $165,000 in grants from the MII Technology Assessment Phase to de-risk the technology, followed by a $150,000 investment through MII’s Company Formation Phase in 2020. Astek also successfully participated in TEDCO’s SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab, which provides expert advice and proposal writing support to companies applying for federal funding, and was awarded a NSF SBIR grant for $256,000.