Nearly two years in the past, Andrew Rothaus ’11 B.A., recollects, he had a dialog together with his sister-in-law who was pregnant and residing in Miami, Florida, the U.S. state with highest confirmed circumstances of Zika virus. “She was nervous,” he says. Rothaus was already at work creating a brand new know-how – involving a patented, multi-armed molecule known as HAPI – and puzzled if he might use it to make a long-lasting mosquito repellent.
He known as up his former Yale roommate, Dr. Abraar Karan ’11 B.A., who’s at the moment a doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Both alums went to Harvard following commencement – Rothaus to Harvard Business School (he graduates this yr) and Karan to Harvard School of Public Health.
“He requested me if a long-acting mosquito repellent could be impactful in a worldwide well being setting,” says Karan, who has labored in practically a dozen international locations in world healthcare supply. “In basic, nobody is particular person repellents as a result of chemical substances concerned and the truth that they don’t final lengthy sufficient. The product we’ve developed addresses all these points.”
As cofounders of Hour72+, the previous roommates are creating an insect repellent that, as its title implies, maintains long-lasting efficacy, and doesn’t depend on dangerous chemical substances like DEET and pyrethrin. The proprietary molecule behind their product permits the waterproof, plant-based formulation to bond to the pores and skin briefly with out being absorbed. The startup received the Dubilier $75,000 Grand Prize on the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition on April 18.
Doing good in creating international locations is a key aspect of their enterprise. “We need to enter the market as rapidly as attainable and leverage the gross sales to enter the creating world,” Rothaus says. While they’re nonetheless deciding how the enterprise will likely be structured, they’ve introduced on specialists in each infectious ailments and social ventures to assist information their pondering, together with Marcia Castro, affiliate professor of demography within the Department of Global Health and Population on the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Muhammad Ali Pate, the previous minister of well being of Nigeria who efficiently led the battle to eradicate polio in his nation.
The Hour72+ founders consider they’ve purpose to be hopeful. Independent testing they’ve undertaken reveals that at 24 hours, their product is 99% efficient – 100% of mosquitoes didn’t chew, and 98% didn’t land. With the award’s assist, they’re planning extra testing and hope ultimately to broaden to creating repellents for different disease-bearing bugs, together with ticks and fleas.
“We need this to be safer and more practical than something that’s ever been available on the market,” says Rothaus.