Shana Kelley is launching her second company with a device that could change the way medicine is practiced and she's not even 40.

Imagine a handheld device that could test patients for disease in minutes, letting doctors know—without a biopsy or lengthy waiting period—which patients were infected with a dangerous strain of bacteria or aggressive form of cancer. For Shana Kelley, that’s the plan.

Kelley is a biochemist in the University of Toronto’s schools of medicine and pharmacy. At 39, she’s already proven her chops in the biosensing field, having founded one successful company, and is now preparing to launch another. Technology Review named her one of the top 100 innovators in 2004, when she was an assistant professor at Boston College. By 2008, just 2 years after she moved her lab to Toronto, the Globe & Mail named her one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40.” And she’s...

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