Allisa Song wants to normalize the concept of the med school entrepreneur. To be sure, student entrepreneurs are fairly common; many MBA candidates launch companies in school all the time. “But I think the concept of a medical student entrepreneur is relatively rare and fewer and farther in between,” says Song, an MD candidate at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and CEO of medical device startup Nanodropper. “I’m trying to show that it’s doable.” Her company’s namesake device, the Nanodropper, is a fairly low-tech medical product, but Song believes it’s poised to significantly bring down health care costs. The device is an adaptor that attaches to eye drop medications. Most of those bottles, Song says, distribute way more medication than the human eye can absorb—up to five times as much. It’s not quite as big of a deal for, say, Visine drops, but it’s a big waste for glaucoma medications, which can cost up to $500 a bottle. The Nanodropper sells for $14.99 online and through more than 700 locations including clinics, hospitals, and small retail stores. Song says that running a company while completing her studies actually makes her a stronger medical student. “I can appreciate the system-level perspective it takes to give good care and to give very pragmatic care.”
Nanodropper made history in 2021, becoming the first MN Cup grand prize winner from the student category.