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FSU students create start-up HTR

HTR
Award winners Sohail Merchant (left), Nicholas Vafai and Aubrey Kusi-Appiah (seated) [Photo: Michael Baggett/ FSU College of Business]

Three students at Florida State University turned their biological research into a first-place award in a business challenge sponsored by FSU College of Business and the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship.

The students, Sohail Merchant, Aubrey Kusi-Appiah and Nicholas Vafai, want to provide a more cost-effective method for high-throughput screening (HTS), a drug discovery process that accounts for the largest share of drug development.

Their idea for a startup business, to be called HTR, for High-Throughput Revolutions, won over 77 other entrants. They were awarded $20,000 and $130,000 in in-kind business services and support.

“We invented a method that uses less time, materials and less consumables to screen drugs," says Merchant, 24, a senior in biology who is headed to med school and also will serve as chief business director for HTR. Kusi-Appiah, 26, will be chief scientific officer, and Vafai, 23, chief operations officer; both are graduate students in the biological sciences department.