Frustrated by the challenges of giving her young son his daily asthma treatments, Sarah Cota came up with an idea. Why not ease the burden of using a nebulizer by taking away the mask and using it while the child is sleeping?
That’s the idea behind the JettPak, the flagship product being developed by Bend, Oregon startup JettStream Inc. It’s a hands-free, mask-free add-on for nebulizers currently on the market. Intended to deliver medication to the child while he’s sleeping, the base of the device can slide under a pillow or mattress. The JettPak has an adjustable arm that delivers the medication next to the child’s face. According to a July blog post from Jim Harrer, an entrepreneur and chief operations officer of the company, it will retail for about $200.
Cota didn’t return a call last week, but she told the Cascade Business News earlier this month that the estimated launch date for the device was spring 2013. Right now, the startup is raising money for the launch; it’s already secured $115,000 in debt and equity, and could raise up to $750,000, according to a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. As the company’s website notes, it has already done lab testing that shows the device delivers the same doses of medicine as a nebulizer alone, and it’s planning to do a clinical trial with 50 devices at Bend Memorial Clinic.
Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease and affects nearly 5 million U.S. children. In addition to quick-relief medications, long-term control medications taken daily are often prescribed. Many of these medications can be used with a nebulizer for asthma sufferers who are too sick or young to use an inhaler effectively. But some children show resistance to these administration methods, as detailed in Cota’s blog.
She’s working with a former product development executive, Matt Smith, and Harrer to bring the device to market.
Companion to the device is JettEducation, an online database being developed for parents, and JettCommunity, a digital support community.
[Photo from Flickr user sdminor81]