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$2M federal grant awarded to chemical risk assessment startup founded by IU professor

Dream Tech LLC helps commercial, regulatory clients evaluate chemical toxicity

For Immediate Release Aug 4, 2020

A two-year, $2 million Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will allow startup Dream Tech LLC to better help companies, regulatory agencies, and nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations evaluate chemical toxicity.

Dream Tech founder Kan Shao, an associate professor in the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, said many industrial sectors evaluate chemical toxicity during product safety assessments.

Kan Shao
Kan Shao

“These include but aren’t limited to chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, consumer products and pesticides,” he said. “Regulatory agencies at federal and state levels, scientific consulting companies, and research institutions also conduct chemical toxicity evaluations.”

Dream Tech uses a Bayesian benchmark dose modeling system, known as BBMD, to evaluate chemical toxicity. It is a more advanced approach than traditional methods and includes a series of advanced statistical algorithms and analyses.

“The BBMD system is the only one that can analyze all three major types of dose-response data: dichotomous, categorical and continuous,” Shao said. “It is the only one that provides fully distributional estimation for important quantities in support of probabilistic risk assessment. It also is the only one that can integrate prior toxicological information to facilitate present dose-response assessment.”

The STTR Phase II grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will allow Dream Tech and the Computational Risk Assessment Lab at IU to develop a more comprehensive and reliable modeling and library system to support chemical risk assessment.

“The proposed work in Phase II will make the BBMD system even more adaptable to meet diverse needs in practical risk assessment by adding the functionalities to analyze more wide-ranging types of dose-response data from various studies,” Shao said. “These novel and unique improvements could make it the first system that provides comprehensive and effective solutions to practical dose-response assessment.”

Dream Tech previously had received a one-year STTR Phase I grant worth $245,130 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. That center and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are part of the National Institutes of Health.

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