2011 Accelerate Michigan Grand Prize Winner
Founded – 2010
Location –Plymouth, MI
Employees – 11
Total Fundraised – $10M+
Celsee Diagnostics (fka DeNovo Sciences) won the 2011 Grand Prize award at Accelerate Michigan with their microfluidics technology that detects circulating tumor cells in epithelial – breast, lung & prostate – cancers.
The Celsee Diagnostics founding team came together over a cup of tea at a dinner party. Priya Gogoi, Saedeh Sepehri & Chris Seiman were all medical researchers brought together over the unifying idea that they wanted to make an immediate impact. The team originally developed their microfluidics technology to detect malaria in response to a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation challenge to improve medical conditions in emerging nations. They soon realized that their device could be applied to a multitude of medical services and focused their attention on detecting cancers that develop out of epithelial cells, which make up 80-90% of cancers.
Although the team had a strong medical background and a seemingly novel technology, they lacked the business acumen to scale Celsee Diagnostics in a meaningful way. In an effort to learn business development strategies, the founding team volunteered for the inaugural Accelerate Michigan in 2010 where they were exposed to a range of companies. As timekeepers & presentation loaders, the team was able to absorb and synthesize the business plans in a way that paid dividends in the future. They took their learnings from their volunteering experience and applied it to their pitch in 2011, which allowed them to take the Grand Prize Award of $500,000.
Celsee Diagnostics’ participation in Accelerate Michigan enabled the company to secure their first investor and invest enough money into R&D to develop three core products used for the research market. The company recently closed on a fundraising round that will enable them to undergo FDA trials so that their medical devices can be approved for clinical use.