Medical Startup Claims First in Fort Worth Business Contest

Myconi Technologies' device measures temperature, humidity, pressure, light, and harsh handling of pharmaceutical drugs.

fort worth business

Myconi Technologies Founder Barry McCleland holds a check for $8,000 as part of his prize for winning the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition Thursday. [Photo: Nicholas Sakelaris}

For six years, Barry McCleland has been perfecting a wireless device that could alert pharmaceutical companies of temperature changes or rough handling of drugs.

The device needed to be cheaper and last longer than its competitors while potentially saving drug companies millions or even billions of dollars a year.

The South African-born engineer founded Myconi Technologies at TECH Fort Worth, where he and his team developed a monitor that’s not much bigger than a quarter and costs about $35.

Getting a medical startup off the ground is expensive and involves years of product trials.

On Thursday, McCleland got a huge boost by winning first place at the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition. The prize package is valued at more than $33,000, including $8,000 cash, free office space, advertising, consulting, and other perks.

“There’s no other technology like this in the world.” 

Barry McCleland

“This has taken many, many years of hard work constantly 24/7,” McCleland said after his victory.

“We purposely have not tried to launch our product yet because we were still trying to finish our technology. But it’s finished and we can’t wait to launch the product. There’s no other technology like this in the world.”

Myconi Technologies beat out two other finalists in the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center’s seventh annual business plan competition, which started out with 50 other competitors. The Riley Center at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted the event for the first time. In previous years, it had been held at Texas Christian University.

MYCONI TECHNOLOGIES’ MONITOR COULD SAVE MONEY, LIVES

Myconi’s monitors not only save money, but could save the lives of patients who unknowingly take drugs that have been compromised.

The devices measure temperature, humidity, pressure, light, and harsh handling. Transmitters on the device are constantly communicating, but only send alerts when something needs to be reported. If a problem is detected, the drug company will know where, when, and how it happened during the delivery process.

“They only get exceptions,” McCleland said. “They can get it on a cell phone and it’s distributed automatically.”

Myconi Technologies products will be marketed to major pharmaceutical companies such as Merck & Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer.

“Because it’s a reusable product, it stays in the market for years.” 

Barry McCleland

One of the judges at the competition asked whether Myconi would be liable if a patient dies because the monitors fail to report that a sensitive drug has been compromised.

McCleland said the devices have redundant sensors that both send automatically while also communicating with each other.

The monitors also could be used by food delivery companies to ensure that perishable items are kept at the right temperature. Wal-Mart, for example, has 80,000 different perishable items in its inventory from meat to vegetables. 

Competitors in the market now cost $150 per device, making it expensive, especially considering the devices often aren’t retrieved.

“The logistics is a nightmare,” McCleland said. “With this, it’s really a throwaway device. If that customer wants to return it, he can. If he wants to throw it away, so what?”

If it is returned, Myconi’s device can be shipped multiple times and the battery lasts up to two years.

“Industry is always trying to reduce costs,” he said. “Because it’s a reusable product, it stays in the market for years.”

OTHER FORT WORTH BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITORS

Second place went to Enos, Inc., which manufacturers long-lasting luxury watches. The founder, Efrain Villa, took home a prize package worth more than $15,000, including $4,500 cash.

Third place went to Jollitot founder Sean Usman. The company invented a 3-in-1 device that rocks, swings, and bounces babies to calm them down. Usman’s prize is worth more than $10,000, including $2,500 cash.

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