In March 2020, Arcturus (formerly Daniel) found himself alone in his Manhattan apartment wiping down the surfaces of every grocery item he’d had delivered, wondering when he’d be able to see his family again. It was the onset of the pandemic, and everyone was too fearful to get together. He knew people all over the world were feeling similarly disconnected, and he wanted to do something about it.
That’s when he reached out to Russell Hanson about developing an easy to use at home COVID test that would allow people to spend time with their families again. Russel had spent many years working with biosensors and aptamers, which are DNA sequences that can be synthesized to bind specifically to target analytes. Within a few weeks, he and the bioinformatician Bojan Losic had written a proposal outlining a general methodology for detecting COVID. They recruited George Botos, who had a track record for developing and manufacturing effective bacterial testing.
Together, the four co-founders started Aptavid. Marissa Feinberg guided the team through her "Triple Bottom Why" methodology to clarify their mission: to help humans live healthy, active and connected lives by building a global molecular diagnostics platform. And that’s exactly what we are doing!
We value integrity, compassion, transparency, and reliability.
Arcturus EdenAbout Arcturus
Russell HansonAbout Russell
George BotosAbout George
After growing up in Jerusalem and then Long Island, Arcturus Eden attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and graduated with a degree in biology. He began his career in a 2-year analyst program at Commonfund Capital in CT, then a $6B private equity fund of funds (now $15B) that exclusively manages the investments of nonprofit and educational institutions.
He then became an analyst at AGT International, a company that provided security and intelligence solutions post 9/11. He helped multiple US and international intelligence agencies and departments of defense build strategic defense assets using Israeli government owned technology, and in partnership with large US defense contractors.
During this time, Arcturus was also involved with the Arab-Israeli peace initiative Bridging the Rift, a joint project of Stanford, Cornell, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, and King Abdullah of Jordan.
In 2009, Arcturus received his MBA from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. At that time, he started an Internet software marketing company called Easy.ly, which got acquired by Aspire Rock, where he worked from 2011-2017.
With the freedom afforded to him by the acquisition of Easy.ly, Arcturus followed his passions in studying the singularity as a development in the future of technology. He became a connector in the singularity community, organizing talks for top American AI researchers and governments around the world.
During this time, Arcturus also became passionate about the potential of CRISPR gene-editing technology and started an initiative to ensure that this technology was developed and distributed fairly, with access available to diverse groups.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Arcturus guided the formation of Aptavid’s founding team with a vision to create a test that required no personnel to administer, no hardware, could be done at home, took 5 minutes to get results, and cost under $5.
As co-founder and CEO of Aptavid, Arcturus is motivated to help bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control, and build a customizable molecular detection platform in a post pandemic era, that serves one billion people around the world.
After earning his M.S. in Biology from Georgia Tech and his Ph.D. in Computational Chemistry from Boston University, Russell researched and taught biomedical informatics as a postdoc at numerous institutions, including MIT, Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, the Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Center for Biological Sequence Analysis at the Danish Technical University.
In 2014, Russell became an Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, within the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences. He worked on molecular engineering, cancer vaccines, cancer sensors, synthetic biology, molecular sensors, aptamer sensors, imaging, biophysics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, connectome imaging, bioinformatics, genomics, personalized medicine, stratified medicine, and biomarker development.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Russell and his team started writing grants for research on an aptamer test for the active virus. Their vision was to create a test that required no personnel to administer, no hardware, could be done at home, took 5 minutes to get results, and cost under $5.
Testing with aptamers, as opposed to testing for antibodies, was the key strategy that allowed the team to realize this goal. Their research into COVID-19 aptamers also allowed them to create the first at-home surface test for the virus that provides instant results.
Beyond helping to create a powerful tool to aid in the immediate pandemic, Russell’s broader commitment has been to empower individuals with precise data about their health. After working in biomedical informatics and technology for the last 15 years, Russell’s work with Aptavid--along with his research towards his second Ph.D., in Bioinformatics--continues his passion for using synthetic biology to solve fundamental problems in human health.
After graduating with an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and an M.S. in synthetic chemistry from Politechnica University of Timișoara in Romania, George Botos worked in R&D at a disinfectant company later acquired by Proctor & Gamble.
In 2001, he emigrated to Canada, and studied at the Toronto Institute of Pharmaceutical Tech, receiving a diploma in pharmaceutical R&D. He then worked at a Canadian company making disinfectants. He rose from supervisor to R&D manager to technical director, managing a team of microbiologists working on testing protocols.
George received his MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University, focusing on healthcare management. He became a life sciences market research analyst at the MaRS Discovery District, an incubator partially funded by the Canadian government to help Canadian start-ups.
After George’s work at MaRS, he used his expertise in disinfection to co-found a company that created rapid-sterilizing systems using ozone and high-frequency ultrasound for dental applications. He then worked with the University of Waterloo to help validate a new technology using functionalized gold nanoparticles to detect microbes in water.
Together they created Genemis Laboratories, which developed this technology into a water testing product for the dental market. Genemis has been doubling or tripling every year since 2014, and is now the main supplier of water test kits for the dental market in Canada. They have since expanded in the U.S. and Canada, creating products that test for bacterial contamination in commercial pools, cooling towers, hotels, and for home use.
Now as Director at Aptavid, George is thrilled to be using his expertise in functionalized nanoparticles for microbial testing, to help create one of the most important testing applications in recent memory: rapid at-home surface testing for COVID-19. He is also excited to expand Aptavid’s technology to become a universal, flexible platform for testing for all viruses in home and environmental applications.