Device firm plans to miniaturize its new breathing tube monitor for neonatal ICU

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SonarMed's Airway Monitoring System

With a new CEO at the reins and its first customer on board, Indianapolis medical device startup SonarMed is focused on expanding sales of its endotracheal tube monitoring device, miniaturizing the device for use in newborns and raising $1 million.

When MedCity News first covered SonarMed in the summer of 2010, former CEO Andy Cothrel was anticipating a fourth-quarter launch of the AirWave device. Then a press release the following March indicated the launch had been pushed back to sometime in 2011. But new CEO Tom Bumgardner was happy to report that the company secured its first customer for the device in March and will be launching it into a group of surgical centers in Houston soon.

The AirWave air monitoring device uses audible waves to gather and deliver real-time data on the position of a breathing tube and whether it’s being obstructed. The device comprises a disposable adapter, which contains acoustic sensors, that’s attached to a hand-held monitor that interprets signals from the adapter and displays information about the tube’s positioning. It’s intended to help reduce endotracheal tube-related risks and complications.


Bumgardner said the device is being used in the adult operating room, specifically in surgeries where the anesthesiologist can’t see a patient’s breathing tube well, like spinal or shoulder surgeries. He said hospitals have also expressed interest in using it in the adult ICU for ventilated patients that are being transported throughout the hospital.

The company’s next step is to use a grant it’s secured from the National Institutes of Health to miniaturize the device to be used in the neonatal ICU, since babies are especially prone to complications while using a breathing tube, Bumgardner said. Preclinical trials are slated to begin in July, with clinical studies in the fall if all goes well.

Founded in 2005 with technology developed at Purdue University, SonarMed has received financial support from NIH and the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund. Investors include Spring Mill Venture Partners.

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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