The EDC is open to for-profit New Jersey enterprises, operating fewer than four years, which offer new technologies and are likely to benefit from the EDC's three-year tenancies. With some 45 companies in residence, EDC's goal is to reduce risk for fledgling entrepreneurs, ultimately creating businesses that will generate jobs and bolster New Jersey's economy.
The EDC has graduated more than 60 companies, with products in biotechnology, information technology and other fields. Several ventures merit a closer look.
Almost daily, the Menssana Research laboratory receives samples of human exhalations to analyze. Just as a Breathalyzer can detect drunk drivers, a Menssana process can detect illness. It's the same concept, though far more sensitive, says inventor Michael Phillips, MD, of Fort Lee. Samples are captured in activated carbon, sealed in small steel cylinders and then mailed to the lab for analysis. Menssana has identified distinct patterns made by more than 200 different volatile organic compounds exhaled in every breath. Phillips has proved that these patterns vary with illness and can diagnose disease.
In February 2004, the federal Food and Drug Administration approved the marketing of Menssana's Heartsbreath test. The test helps determine if patients with heart transplants are showing signs of rejecting the new heart. The FDA said the test may be used as an adjunct to biopsy. The Heartsbreath test is less expensive than a biopsy and non-invasive. Phillips has also published research showing that the breath-test concept works to diagnose lung cancer, breast cancer and tuberculosis.