A Stony Brook-based technology startup has been honored in a national contest for companies seeking to improve the lives of women and families, Hofstra University announced Monday.
QB Sonic is the local winner of the federal Small Business Administration’s InnovateHER competition, and it will now advance to the semifinal rounds, according to Hofstra. The university’s Center for Entrepreneurship reviewed applications from Long Island and other metro-area companies and nominated QB as its local winner.
The federal agency will choose candidates to compete for prizes of up to $40,000 at the finals in Washington, D.C., in March.
QB, based at Stony Brook University’s Long Island High Technology Incubator, was chosen for developing “a noninvasive ultrasound stimulator to maintain bone tissue in the hips of people with osteoporosis and osteopenia,” Hofstra said.
“The judges found that QB Sonic’s business plan displayed the potential of the technology to have an impact on the lives of millions of women and a strong commercialization strategy,” Mark Lesko, executive dean of the Center for Entrepreneurship, said in a statement.
The company’s chief executive is Sharon Barkume, a patent attorney who has a background in managing high-tech startup companies. Its chief technology officer is Yi-Xian Qin, a professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedics and the director of the Orthopedic BioEngineering Research Laboratory at Stony Brook University.
Qin invented the ultrasound stimulator, which is expected to be submitted for Food and Drug Administration approval in three to four years, Barkume said. The company expects it will come to market in 2022, she said.
It’s challenging to get private funding for new medical devices, since the process takes so long and involves so much risk, Barkume said. The InnovateHER honor could help in getting private funding, she said.
“Investors will see that we do have strong technology, we have a good business strategy and the work we’ve put into setting up the company to succeed came through in our business plan, and so hopefully that will help us to achieve some investments from early-stage investors,” Barkume said in an interview.
The company, which was founded last year, participates in the Start-Up NY tax-free zone for new and expanding businesses based at universities. Stony Brook University has received more than $2 million in grants to develop the ultrasound stimulator, Barkume said.
In the United States, more than 50 million people ages 50 and older — mostly women — suffer from bone tissue loss and low bone mass, putting them at higher risk for hip fractures, medical studies have found.