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Fall 2011, Issue 13

Medical Device Startups

Because medical device inventions usually have a shorter time to market and are inherently less risky than diagnostics or drugs, devices are among the best medical technologies for commercialization through a startup company. The Office for Technology Licensing and Industry Collaboration has facilitated the formation of several medical device startups in the past few years.

MindChild Medical Inc. is focused on developing a noninvasive fetal heart monitor to make labor safer for women and their babies. Development of the technology was initiated by Tufts Medical Center obstetrician Adam Wolfberg. The company has successfully completed proof-of-concept studies and has begun a clinical trial of a first-generation fetal ECG monitor. Next-generation devices with advanced capabilities are planned.

Spinebridge Medical is developing a device to help paraplegic and quadriplegic patients who have sustained severe spinal injuries. The device, developed at Lahey Clinic, is designed to record signals from above the point of injury, convert neural data to electrical impulses, transfer data to a stimulator below the injury, and stimulate the appropriate neural “wires” to activate the muscles. The objective is to help the patient to recover some mobility.

Sarentis Ophthalmics is commercializing optical silk-based regenerative bandages for treating corneal injuries and inlays/onlays for treating presbyopia. Based on research led by engineering faculty members David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto, these “silk contact lenses” are being developed to capitalize on the outstanding optical clarity, versatility, and biocompatibility of the purified silk protein.

Strohl Medical Technologies is developing a portable device for detecting ischemic stroke. The hope is to provide an opportunity for the rapid administration of life-saving medication. A proof-of-concept trial of the device’s efficacy has been completed at Tufts Medical Center. Next steps include a full-scale clinical trial.

For more information on these and other Tufts technologies, please go to http://techtransfer.tufts.edu.



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