Laying in the Mayo Clinic, paralyzed from head to toe on one side of his body, Bill Rader thought to himself, “If I get out of here, I have to do something better…something bigger than myself.”
Living with Multiple Sclerosis, Bill had already dabbled in medical device inventions of his own. It was in this moment, though, that he decided they were not what he was looking for, “not important enough.” As fate would have it, Bill would soon meet future business partner, Dr. Spencer Rosero. While working as a physician at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Spencer invented the core technology that would begin Efferent Labs.
Efferent Labs is Bill’s fifth, and most fulfilling, startup. Sitting down with him, it’s easy to see how invested he is in the company—and we don’t just mean monetarily. Yes, Bill and his partner have invested roughly one million of their own funds to get Efferent Labs off the ground, but the rewards seem well worth the sacrifice. “Everything going on in the medical industry right now is so game-changing,” Bill asserts, and “what Efferent Labs is doing is so important; it’s going to help people around the world use better treatment regiments, take medications properly, and, ultimately, save lives.”
“If I get out of here, I have to do something better…something bigger than myself.”
Rader says they’re starting with cancer chemotherapy treatment, because cancer is something that has affected nearly everyone in some way. Bill, himself, lost both parents to cancer within a span of 18 days just last year. Though beginning with cancer, Bill and Spencer envision their technology’s capabilities to span far beyond cancer once established.
Efferent Labs is seeking to change the way patients receive treatment. Medicine has come a long way, but parts of chemo treatment remain particularly dated. Especially troubling to Bill was the rationing of treatment. Chemotherapy is still essentially poison, and, thus, should be administered with intentional, methodically planned doses. Until Efferent Labs, chemo treatment extent was determined by height, weight, body surface area, etc. Each patient is different, though, and there is no arbitrary amount that is best for all.
Efferent Labs introduces a small device, CytoComm, which uses living patient cells to monitor treatment during chemo and other forms of treatment. A sensor is inserted into the patient, enabling doctors to constantly monitor patient progress. It’s a real-time feedback of cellular function. This technology has implications extending far beyond precision of chemotherapy regimens. Physicians and researchers alike can use this technology to perfectly tailor treatments to different patients, combat and analyze reactions to medicine, aggregate patient data, and respond to an array of medical concerns.
“The cells in your body tell you more than any instrument ever can,” Bill says. While still being tested, the Biosensor platform has garnered attention from major companies who could partner with Efferent Labs. Bill and Spencer’s business remainsin Buffalo, not far from the 43North incubator space they called home for their first year after winning. Rader paid homage to 43North in his interview, stating: “Spencer and I put tons of money into this, but 43North is what pushed us over the edge. Buffalo in general has been very supportive of the company…people are open and experiencing a lot of new stuff coming. It’s a different vibe; it’s good.” We agree that it must be pretty special given that Bill has chosen to plant company roots here, and he’s not alone. The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is the perfect place to grow a business like this; Bill said it best: “The startup community around here is amazing.” We can’t argue that.
To learn more about Efferent Labs click here.
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