Functional Fluidics

Focusing on red blood cell work, a Detroit-based company is revolutionizing the healthcare space with help from the MEDC

Functional Fluidics is emerging as a beacon of innovation in the healthcare technology industry. Based in Detroit, this global health company specializes in red blood cell health that leverages healthcare data and technologies to accelerate the development of life-changing therapies, support clinical trials and bridge the gap between clinical research and patient care. Their mission is to make red blood cell health an achievable endpoint to improve the quality of life for humanity, starting with sickle cell disease. 

Pediatric ICU physician Patrick Hines was inspired by a patient who told him how much she appreciated how his blood work tests helped her healthcare team improve her quality of life, but also challenged him to make this technology accessible to patients all over the world. At the same time, investments in pharmaceutical companies that developed red blood cell therapies for sickle cell disease increased and the success of clinical trials and the deployment of FDA-approved drugs was dependent on the ability to define red blood cell health on a population scale. The desire to improve patient care and utilize the platform technologies that Dr. Hines and his team developed led to the founding of Functional Fluidics. 

Functional Fluidics turned to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) when Dr. Hines and his team sought out additional resources to accelerate their growth, while also maintaining their base of operations in Michigan. The MEDC helped the company by connecting them with the right network and in turn, granting them access to the right investors and information about other programs such as Michigan Rise. Through this, the company was able to make investments in lab technology, later helping them to secure their largest contract to date with Pfizer. 

For other small businesses, Dr. Hines recommends that business owners “pursue a business venture that focuses on doing something they absolutely love.” He elaborates that the passion for healthcare helped him and his team get through the inevitable difficult days when the path forward was unclear, but emphasizes to “enjoy the journey and the destination will take care of itself.” 

Moving forward, Functional Fluidics plans to focus their growth in two areas: capacity expansion and patient network. The company plans to develop their red blood cell work further and seeks to expand their operations with clinical sites in the U.S. and in Sub-Saharan Africa, where there are 15 million people living and dying with sickle cell disease. The company will continue to work with the MEDC to access capital resources and build a talented workforce. Dr. Hines hopes to make Michigan the gold standard for innovations in red blood cell health. 

Functional Fluidics has been named a 2024 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch by Michigan Celebrates Small Business, the largest small business award program in the state of Michigan. Dr. Hines and his team will be honored and recognized during the annual Awards Gala held in May during Small Business Month, joining one of the most prestigious cohorts of small businesses in the nation.

Learn more about the small business services and resources available from the MEDC.