David Scholl says it took his company more than 10 years before it sold its first product. But what he describes as "care and nurture" within the Ohio University community appears to have paid off.
Founded at OU in 1983 with about a dozen employees, Scholl's Athens-based Diagnostic HYBRIDS has grown to 225. Scholl, president and chief executive officer, cites a 75 percent increase in jobs over the past four years.
Among the products powering growth are those related to thyroid conditions. For example, in 2000, the company partnered with OU on a $1 million grant from the Ohio Third Frontier's Action Fund, luring scientist Leonard Kohn to Ohio to support development of early detector of Graves' disease.
"About 32 million people have the disease, and there are 300,000 to 400,000 new cases diagnosed per year in the United States," Scholl says. "We began commercialization of that product in 2001, and it's been selling to the point where we decided to make a refined version, which the FDA approved in May."
The new test cuts the typical results time from three days to one. Diagnostic HYBRIDS is counting on a new web-based education and marketing effort -- and direct mail to doctors -- to raise awareness and drive earlier treatment.
The firm won a $5-million Third Frontier Award last year to further develop viral diagnostic and treatment capabilities. More recently, Diagnostic HYBRIDS licensed a test to detect recurring thyroid cancer. And it just won FDA approval for FastPoint, a test that detects two common influenza strains in less than 30 minutes.
Source: David Scholl, Diagnostic HYBRIDS
Writer: Gene Monteith