DeNovo Sciences LLC, a small medical device startup in Plymouth Township that is headed up by one of the state’s best-known biotech entrepreneurs, won the $500,000 first-place prize Thursday night at the second annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition at The Henry Ford in Dearborn.
DeNovo, which rents literally just a few square feet of bench space in the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center, made its first news in June when it won the Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Questbusiness plan.
In September, it made bigger news with the announcement that Kalyan Handique, a co-founder of HandyLab Inc., a University of Michigan spinoff medical device company that was sold for $275 million in 2009, had invested in the company and joined it as CEO.
The company has created a prototype micro fluidic chip about an inch square that has passed early tests to see if it can capture cells. It hopes to eventually refine the chip so that it can capture and detect cancer cells that are circulating in the blood before they find a landing site in the body and metastasize.
Most cancer deaths are caused by such metastasis.
Winning $150,000 as runner-up was Fusion Coolant Systems Inc., another UM spinoff that recently moved into an incubator for green tech companies that Focus: Hope created in a vacant building on its Detroit campus.
Fusion Coolant has patented a process for using cooled carbon dioxide to lubricate and cool cutting tools used in manufacturing, promising to reduce costs and pollution and increase tool life.
Are You A Human LLC, a company formed by UM students, won the top prize of $25,000 in the student category. The company, which is developing technology that helps verify that users on websites are humans and not automated programs, recently moved into the Madison Building in downtown Detroit and has received funding from the Frankel Commercialization Fund at UM, the First Step Fund in Detroit and Detroit Venture Partners.
Ann Arbor-based NextGen Metabolomics Inc., whose technology analyzes metabolites in the body, won the AARP Encore Award as best company founded by an entrepreneur, Robert Hodgson, who is over 50.
Mike Jandernoa won the Spirit of Michigan Award for his contributions to entrepreneurship. He is the former CEO of Allegan-based Perrigo Co., the dominant maker of over-the-counter drugs in the U.S., a co-founder of the Grand Angels angel investor group in Grand Rapids and founder of Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring.
The Accelerate Michigan competition is funded by the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. This year’s contests awarded more than $1 million in prize money, which drew 312 entrants from emerging companies and another 298 from students.