Ricovr, founded by Dr. Himanshu Bhatia and CBS’12 alumni Piyush Sadana, is transforming the Point-of-Care diagnostics with the next generation patented technology. Their first device is the most sensitive saliva-based Rapid Testing device for THC (psychoactive component of Cannabis).
CBSACNY: Why Cannabis testing?
Piyush Sadana: Cannabis usage in the U.S. and other countries has significantly increased because of legalization. This has led to an increase in workplace accidents and higher drug testing & insurance costs for businesses. Employers, law authorities, and medical professionals need a device to test THC (Psychoactive component of Cannabis) on the spot.
Himanshu Bhatia: The growing application of Cannabis in various medical conditions such as rare and severe epilepsy, chronic pain, and to reduce nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy has also increased the demand for Cannabis globally. This has also created an unmet need to test the levels of THC to find the appropriate dosing for these conditions as well as to check for the adherence of de addiction programs.
CBSACNY: Your device seems like a breath analyzer for Alcohol. How are you different?
Himanshu Bhatia: We are using oral fluids to test drugs of abuse. THC is a complicated molecule and difficult to accurately detect with breath. As per published research, Saliva is the best non-invasive medium for accurately measuring smoked or edible THC.
CBSACNY: Who will use this device?
Piyush Sadana: Device is quite easy to use and affordable. We are initially targeting employers in construction, manufacturing, transportation, and retail industries as they will immediately save significant cost related to lab-based random and on-incident drug testing and improve employee productivity.
CBSACNY: What other products are in the pipeline?
Himanshu Bhatia: We are currently focused on launching the THC testing device by Q1 2021. in the next couple of years, we plan to add other drugs of abuse and alcohol testing to the same platform. In the long term, technology has strong potential for screening heart disease, cancer, and infectious diseases including COVID.
CBSACNY: What is the impact of COVID on your business?
Himanshu Bhatia: In the last couple of months, there has been renewed interest in healthcare technologies, especially point-of-care diagnostics. Even adoption of saliva as a test medium is expediting. For example, companies are looking for alternatives to breath-based testing for alcohol to avoid spread of infection.
CBSACNY: Are you guys funded?
Piyush Sadana: We recently closed a $1.1M seed round, which was led by a Silicon Valley-based VC fund. Prominent leaders from Healthcare, Diagnostics, and Investment Banking industries also participated in the round.
CBSACNY: Did you tap any CBS resources to scale the business?
Piyush Sadana: We have been incredibly lucky to have the support of CBS ecosystem. Surya Mohapatra – Executive-in-Residence and Kevin Quinn -Entrepreneur-in-Residence of CBS have been great mentors and are on our Advisory Board.
Abbreviated bios and contact info for the founders:
Co-Founder & COO
Serial Entrepreneur | Investment Banker | Product Manager | Engineer
Ex Norges Bank Investment Management, M&T Bank, Gallop.AI, Heckyl
B Tech – Civil Engineering, GB Pant University, 2000
Dr. Himanshu Bhatia
Co-Founder & CEO
Serial Entrepreneur | Scientist | Physician | Medical Device Portfolio Manager
MD, University of Pune
MS, University of Texas (Biochemistry)
MBA, University of Rochester