Melanie Watson

Fortitude Founder

Emerging Entrepreneur

Steuben County
Founder Profile

Melanie

Watson

Business

Blaire Biomedical

Founded

2014

Grant Date

June 2018

Idea

A handheld blood analysis tool that may eliminate the need for patients to travel to a clinic or hospital for blood testing.

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Dr. Melanie Watson’s innovations are inspired by her family and other families like hers.

Standing in a hospital elevator with her youngest daughter Claire, at the time recently diagnosed with pediatric liver cancer and wrapped in a hospital mask due to a compromised immune system, Dr. Melanie Watson decided there had to be a better, safer way for her daughter and other immunocompromised patients to get blood work done. When she realized the problem had yet to be solved, she decided to make the technology herself.

Blaire Biomedical was created by Dr. Watson to house an invention that could be life changing to patients who need routine blood testing. The company is named after her daughters and has one clear vision: To empower patients with handheld medical technology. The company is family-focused and aims to allow patients to have a choice about when and where blood tests take place.

For four years and with numerous student volunteers, Dr. Watson and her team have created eight generations of a handheld blood analysis case that would make routine blood testing safer and easier for patients like her daughter.

Currently, the product can perform multiple blood tests and will, in the future, be used to provide patients’ complete blood cell counts to physicians and doctors in real time with nothing but a small case and a cell phone app.

This technology opens the door for chronically ill patients to receive blood analysis at appropriate frequencies without traveling to a hospital or clinic where hospital-related illnesses are a threat to already-weakened immune systems.

Dr. Watson feels the rallying support of her community, both medical and entrepreneurial

Dr. Watson already has an arsenal of support from students who have worked on this project alongside her to Dr. Michael Mirro, a mentor who offers advice and support. As her business grows and she perfects the SmartMed Case, Dr. Watson is looking to expand her network.

As an innovator and a female entrepreneur in Northeast Indiana, Dr. Watson values the connections, resources, and network a partnership with Fortitude Fund will provide for her project. With the micro-grant from Fortitude, she is planning on securing the intellectual property of her project through a provisional patent.

Dr. Watson’s daughter is now 6 years old and is living a happy and healthy life.

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Business Updates

Angola startup gets first grant from Investment Fund

Representatives of Blaire Biomedical, Angola, attended a ceremony Friday to receive the first-ever grant provided by the Angola Investment Fund.

Blaire, which emerged out of Trine University, is a start-up company working to develop a hand-held device that performs multiple blood tests in real time when connected to a smart phone.

Angola Investment Fund supports Trine professor’s venture

A venture launched by Melanie G. Watson, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering at Trine University, has received a $12,500 grant from the Angola Investment Fund (AIF).

The fund’s board voted unanimously at its Sept. 25 meeting to award its first micro grant to Blaire Biomedical, which is developing a handheld device that performs multiple blood tests in real time when linked to a smartphone. The AIF funds will be used to help pay for an intern and a full patent for the device, Watson said.

HEALTH SENTINEL: Child’s trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome) condition spurs mom’s invention

Biomedical engineer Melanie Watson had plenty to grapple with when prenatal tests during her second trimester revealed her daughter, the second-born of two, had a very serious genetic condition called trisomy 18. In this condition, instead of normal two chromosomes on the 18th chromosomal pair, there are three.

Half of all babies born with trisomy 18, or Edwards syndrome, die within the first week, with many others stillborn. Only 5 percent to 10 percent live beyond age 1.

Trine professor’s project earns Fortitude micro-grant

A venture launched by a Trine University faculty member recently received a $1,000 micro-grant from the elevate northeast indiana Fortitude Fund.

Melanie G. Watson, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering, was one of 12 northeast Indiana entrepreneurs who received the grants June 14 at The Summit community center in Fort Wayne.

Contact Melanie Watson