Dr. Erwin Berthier researcher at the University of Wisconsin Madison and Co-Founder of Tasso, is interested in technological innovations that will enable researchers to study blood samples with more precision and accuracy.

Although sample analysis techniques have improved the ability to diagnose and even predict certain diseases, the process to draw blood has not changed for decades. Berthier and his co-founders at Tasso have developed an alternative to doing traditional blood draws.

The process used today in drawing blood  and a patient’s ability to get to the lab or doctor, can sometimes limit a patient’s access to the most effective treatments particularly in cases where frequent monitoring of a disease is required.

HIV patients need to be frequently analyzed to determine how much of the virus exists in the blood. To avoid the frequency of blood tests, most HIV patients only get their blood work screened three times a year. This can limit their access to the timely treatments.

The Tasso device called HemoLink™ uses a state-of-the-art method to get blood samples from the patient to the lab. The HemoLink is a patch that the patient applies to their shoulder. Then the patient waits two minutes while the device painlessly draws blood from the skin. Once the sample is collected, the patient removes the patch, places the patch in an envelope, and sends it to the lab by mail.

Tasso started out as an idea in Berthier’s living room with each co-founder investing $50 in seed money. The company now located in downtown Madison has acquired $2.3 million in federal SBIR/STTR funding from DARPA with the assistance of the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) located in Wisconsin.  CTC provides one-on-one assistance to early stage emerging technology businesses throughout the state.

The co-founders gained knowledge and connections from CTC staff, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp at UW-Madison, and conversations with many experts and mentors, Tasso is looking to develop relationships with larger corporate partners, including diagnostic companies and distributors.


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