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2 medical devices, a wound-healing therapy and an example of good design win top MassChallenge prizes

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Hemova Medical

A Johns Hopkins University medical device spinoff designing a safer vascular access port for kidney dialysis was a top winner of this year’s MassChallenge awards.

Hemova Medical was the one healthcare-related company among five $100,000 winners at Wednesday’s awards ceremonies. Founder Brandon Doan told me this summer that the company was testing its device in large animals and was eyeing an IDE filing in 2015.

MassChallenge’s four-month accelerator program runs from June to October and offers 128 companies each year work space, mentorship and support. It’s funded by sponsors like Verizon, Fidelity and Microsoft and does not take equity in companies. And instead of giving startups funding upon admittance to the accelerator, it awards $1 million to select companies at the end of the program.

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The $500,000 reserved for runners-up was divided between 10 companies who each received $50,000. A few health-focused companies won this prize: A Little Easier Recovery, which makes specialized garments for women undergoing breast cancer treatment; Keraderm, which uses a tiny skin cell culture to create skin-cell-coated sheets for wound healing; and Thompson SCI, developer of a device-based therapy for spinal cord injury.

Sidecar prizes included $400,000 from the Center for Advancement of Science in Space and a chance to use the International Space Station National Laboratory to develop products. Four life science companies shared part of this award: Neural Analytics, maker of a noninvasive tool for measuring intracranial pressure and prosthetic device maker Benevolent Technologies for Health, which were not part of the 26 finalists, as well as hydrogel company Quad Technologies and virus traps developer Vecoy Nanomedicines.

The John W. Henry Family Foundation gave $50,000 to startups with a big social impact, including A Little Easier Recovery and Little Sparrows Technology, which makes a portable, affordable device to treat babies with jaundice. Perkins School of the Blind awarded an additional $15,000 to A Little Easier Recovery.

Applications for the next class of startups will open in February.

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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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