Using patient engagement to improve outcomes for newborns, mobile health apps to assess pupil size and reactivity in different clinical settings and a rapid method for predicting pharmaceutical compound activity and toxicity. Those are among the medical device and health IT groups that are part of a National Science Foundation-backed program called i-Corps to develop the lean startup model in the life science space. The Washington, D.C. chapter kicks off this week.
Groups taking part in the program are challenged to develop a better sense of what the market appetite for their product is and how their marketing pitch and product can be tweaked in response. That insight comes from phone calls. Lots of them — they are expected to do least 100 or more interviews over a seven week period. they also receive coaching and insights from entrepreneurs who run the program.
DC I-Corps is part of the national network of five groups around the U.S. The other groups are located in the Silicon Valley, New York, Atlanta, and Ann Arbor. More than 200 teams have gone through the I-Corps program to date.
University of Maryland College Park, George Washington University, and Virginia Tech jointly run the program. It includes teams from Children’s National Medical Center, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, the George Washington University, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, and regional entrepreneurs from the Emerging Technology Center, Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) and bwtech@UMBC.
The organizers maintain that I-Corps teams completing the program have greater success with securing NSF SBIR Phase I grants — 60 percent compared with one in six award rate, according to a program statement.
A second DC area I-Corps group for National Institutes of Health researchers will begin on November 4, assuming the partial federal government shutdown is history by then. It will be run by the NIH Office of Technology Transfer and BioHealth Innovation Inc.
Here’s a sample of the healthcare and device technologies involved in the program, which runs through November 19.
Children’s National Medical Center
ChronoKair has a mobile device application for smartphones and tablets covering a patient’s hospital course. It’s led by Kelly Swords, a urologist and pediatric urology fellow.
Shoulder and Hip Arthrography Robot is a small and lightweight robot for shoulder and hip medical procedures. The group is led by Reza Seifabadi, a fellow at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.
Smartpupillometer is a smart phone application for measuring pupil size and reactivity in different clinical settings. The group is led by Mariana Mafra Junqueira, an anesthesiologist and pediatrician, and a fellow at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.
Emerging Technology Center
Tutela Industries has developed an interactive patient engagement platform that employs a patient engagement approach with the ultimate goal of improving short and long-term outcomes for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. It’s led by Karen Alder.
University of Maryland, College Park
Myotherapeutics is developing a clinical assay for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Eva Chin, an assistant professor, leads the group.
George Washington University
Key Orthopedics has a 3D-printed polymer device for growing stem cells in bone and cartilage tissue and is led by Benjamin Holmes, a Ph.D student.
NanoChon is producing joint injury therapeutic technologies for extended and sustained biologic delivery. It’s led by Nathan Castro, a Ph.D. student.