Company: CellScape Corp, Newark, CA, USA
Entry Submitted By: Lazar Partners
Company Description: CellScape Corporation is an innovative molecular diagnostics company developing a more comprehensive and safe prenatal testing solution for women. Founded by Karen Drexler in 2008, our vision is to make comprehensive prenatal genetic testing available to every woman without requiring an invasive procedure that might put the fetus at risk.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Consumer Services –11 to 2,500 Employees
Nomination Title: Karen Drexler, Founder & Executive Chair
Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):
We are submitting both Karen Drexler and Bhairavi Parikh for Female Entrepreneurs of the Year for Consumer Services (11-2,500 employees) as they are co-founders of CellScape. Karen and Bhairavi founded the Company with the vision of providing a kinder, gentler, and more comprehensive prenatal testing alternative. Though more than 50 companies have tried and failed to isolate fetal cells from maternal blood, CellScape has pioneered a unique process in which a simple blood draw can yield pure fetal cells. CellScape’s Clarity Prenatal Test screens for genetic abnormalities across the whole fetal genome using chromosomal microarray technology, thus providing a more comprehensive noninvasive prenatal screening option compared to the current the gold standard of invasive testing. CellScape’s test will transform prenatal genetic testing by allowing doctors to assess more abnormalities noninvasively and therefore earlier and more safely.
In the past year, CellScape filed three patents (two of which are pending, one of which has been published), completed a Series B financing, taken crucial steps toward expanding their lab facility in Newark, California with the aim of CLIA-certification and commercialization in 2014. The Company has roughly doubled their employee count over the past year.
In addition to board roles where she provides CEO mentoring and strategic direction, Karen also supports women entrepreneurs through her work with Astia and Springboard Enterprises. Currently, Karen is also the Chairwoman of the Board for Hygieia, Inc., a disease management company focused on improving outcomes for patients with diabetes. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Directors for diaDexus, a public company with cardiovascular risk assessment diagnostics where she chairs the Compensation Committee. Among her previous accomplishments, Karen was President, Chief Executive Officer and a founder of Amira Medical, an innovative glucose monitoring company that was purchased by Roche Diagnostics in 2001.
Bhairavi has deep domain expertise in the development of medical biosensors, optics and trace gas analysis with numerous published articles and issued patents. She is named as co-applicant on five issued U.S. patents, one of which was assigned to CellScape on April 23, 2013. She has also played an integral role on two pending and six published U.S. patents for CellScape.
Before cofounding CellScape, she founded Apieron Biosceinces, a company that developed a diagnostic product to measure exhaled nitric oxide concentrations in the airway as a non-invasive marker of inflammation for management of asthma patients. As the company’s CTO, she was instrumental in helping the company to raise $40 million in venture financing, develop a commercially viable product and achieve FDA clearance. Bhairavi was also responsible for new technology evaluation and development at Natus Medical where she worked with products designed to assess newborn wellness through measurement of various analytes in blood and breath samples. Bhairavi also led the instrumentation team for medical device clinical studies while at the University of Massachusetts Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):
Prior to founding Amira, Karen held a number of management positions in operations, marketing and development at LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson Company. She was with LifeScan from pre-commercialization through the sale of the company and growth to a $1B business. Karen is an inventor on 12 issued U.S. Patents. Karen holds a B.S.E. degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and an M.B.A. degree from Stanford University.
Bhairavi has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from a joint program with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and University of Massachusetts Medical Center. She also earned an MS in Biological Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a BS in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire.