Optex Biomedical, in The Woodlands, Tex., is testing a device that could lead to more efficient blood testing. It's a probe that, when inserted into a vein, gives real-time readings of blood gas values. Intensive-care nurses, for example, wouldn't have to send blood samples to a lab and wait for analysis. The VC-backed firm expects the product to be on the market this year.

-- Leslie Brokaw