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Chemistry StartUp: Vizma.AI

Vizma.AI is a startup that originated from chemistry research at NC State University. The company comprises a team of dedicated life science professionals who possess extensive experience in developing successful products and companies in biotech, medtech, and diagnostics.

Recent Vizma.AI Wins

Vizma.AI has recently appointed a new CEO, Carlos Dedesma, PhD, MBA, who left his position at Google’s Alphabet to join the company full-time. This decision comes after Drs. Dedesma and Thomas Theis from chemistry at NC State had been in talks for several years. The two first met in 2015 when Dr. Dedesma was leading Hyperfine [Nasdaq: HYPR], a different MRI company that commercialized portable MRI scanners and was keeping up with the latest MRI physics innovations that could provide signals to inform treatment decisions. Dr. Dedesma’s interest in this scientific field led him to Dr. Theis. Together, they envisioned a future where advances in chemistry would make the hyperpolarization of injectable agents “easy.” They were both enthusiastic about the clinical impacts this could have.

Recent SBIR Wins

NC State University and Vizma.AI have been awarded two NIH SBIR grants to support product development:

  1. Non-invasive molecular imaging tool for rapid, longitudinal assessment of localized
    metabolic disruptions in animal research and care   1R43OD034168-01
  2. Automated microfluidic hyperpolarization reactor for neurometabolic imaging 1R43MH129007-01

Publishing the First-Ever in vivo SABRE Imaging 

The heteronuclear SABRE method was initially introduced in 2015, by Theis, Chekmenev and co-workers and it quickly caught everyone’s attention as a potential way to make simple hyperpolarization feasible. The team at NC State-Vizma.AI has built upon that fundamental science to make SABRE suitable for laboratory animal proof-of-concept imaging. The images obtained from the experiment were shared in their recent publication.


Vizma.AI’s founders have received warm support from North Carolina’s ecosystem and financial backing from multiple organizations along their journey:

  • 2020 NC Translational Research Grant, NC Biotechnology Center, $100K (for the Theis Lab at NC State University)
  • 2021 NC IDEA award, $50K
  • 2022 NC State University Spark Plug, $10K
  • 2022 NC State University Daugherty Award, $25K
  • 2022 One North Carolina Award, $75K
  • 2023 NC Biotechnology Center, Strategic Growth Loan, $250K
Two of Vizma.AI’s founders at the 2023 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) meeting.
Vizma.AI is powered by people, including an incredible set of founders and advisors who were recently hosted at the lab.
At Vizma.AI, if they can’t buy it, they make it.