Contributor: Markayle Tolliver

World Business Chicago salutes #WomensHistoryMonth by highlighting entrepreneurs and founders in the Life Sciences and Healthcare, one of Chicago’s fastest growing sectors experiencing tremendous innovation through tech. Today, we highlight Anna Lisa Somera, the CEO and co-founder of Rhaeos, a wearable technology company that has developed FlowSense, a noninvasive thermal sensor for use in the monitoring of ventricular shunt function. 

Anna shares more insight on her company and their mission —- 

“Rhaeos, Inc. is a VC backed, clinical stage medical device company developing FlowSense, a platform technology and a noninvasive wireless, wearable skin patch that can assess and monitor fluid flow peripherally throughout the body for hospital and home use. The company is initially targeting hydrocephalus, a life threatening condition caused by an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Implantable shunts, the gold standard treatment, often fail, leading to multiple trips to the emergency room and repeat surgeries. There is no technology available today that can easily assess CSF flow in shunts wirelessly, bedside, and without capital equipment and FlowSense addresses this unmet need. Rhaeos has come a long way since transitioning out of Northwestern University a few years ago and has received >$8M in financing, FDA breakthrough designation, multiple patent issuances and reimbursement codes. We have also published our clinical work in leading journals and are on track for initial market entry later this year.”

Anna tells us how she got interested in the life sciences sector. —

“My journey to healthcare innovation is a long and winding one. I knew I loved science early on when I competed in science fair competitions starting in second grade. I ended up doing so well in competitions year after year even through high school where I was awarded a number of prizes and a college scholarship for my work. I continued my interest in science in college and then later in graduate school. The interest accelerated when I started a dental device company during business school based on technology coming out of the university, which today is selling products globally. That spark turned into a flame and now a wildfire in healthcare innovation as I went on to work in venture capital and serve as senior management in a number of medical device companies. Everything I did over the past couple of decades with startups led me to Rhaeos where I apply things I learned along the way.”

Anna shares advice to women starting their careers in life sciences and healthcare innovation —- 

Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith and jump into the unknown. The path you are on may not be the one you were destined to be on. Before Rhaeos, I had been working with a number of startups in Chicago and could have done that for the rest of my life, but I dropped everything when I came across the Rhaeos technology. The more I learned about it, the more I knew that it was something I had to build a business out of. Fast forward a couple of years and here we are with 12 employees testing our devices at some of the biggest named hospitals in the country. I’m glad that I had the courage to jump.” 

For more information about Anna Lisa or Rhaeos please visit

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