Johns Hopkins spinoff designs a better vascular access port for kidney dialysis patients

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Hemova MedicalFor the more than 870,000 patients in the U.S. being treated for end-stage renal disease, hemodialysis treatments become part of a daily or multiple-times-a-week routine. In order to perform dialysis, clinicians must create long-term, high-flow access to a patient’s blood vessels. But current access options, like arteriovenous fistulas, arteriovenous grafts and central venous catheters, can cause infections and clotting problems that require their removal or replacement.

A group of former graduate students and staff members at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have designed an access port they think could extend the longevity and safety of access sites while preventing stenosis and infection.

The Hemova Port being designed by Hemova Medical sits just underneath the skin and attaches to the femoral vein, where blood flows between 800 and 100 mL/min. It also has an integrated cleaning loop that allows for the systems to be flushed with a saline solution after use to prevent infection. Its first intended use is for long-term vascular access for chronic hemodialysis patients who have exhausted access sites suitable for fistulas or grafts.

“Rather than having [a] system that’s constantly exposed to blood, where you’re permanently altering dynamics of flow in the blood, we have a system that is only interfering with the flow of blood during dialysis sessions,” said Hemova’s Managing Partner Brandon Doan.


After two years of prototyping and revision, Hemova has moved into large animal trials and is beginning talks with pilot manufacturers, anticipating an IDE filing in 2015.

The company is working off winnings from business plan competitions and about $100,000 in nondilutive academic funding, but Doan said more funding will be necessary as the company scales. Meanwhile, the team is also on the lookout for partners in the vascular access device market as it heads into the Mass Challenge accelerator program this summer.

[Image credit: Hemova Medical]

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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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