Two companies with ties to the Texas Medical Center took top prizes recently at the Fifth Annual Pediatric Device Innovation Symposium organized by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System.
Taking home $50,000 each were Houston-based CorInnova Inc., a soft robotic, non-blood-contacting biventricular cardiac assist device for the treatment of heart failure in children, and Melbourne, Australia-based NAVi Medical Technologies, a device to provide accurate information about the localization of an umbilical venous catheter (UVC) used in critically-ill newborns to reduce the risk of catheter malposition.
CorInnova resides in Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS, while NAVi is part of the current TMCx medical device accelerator. Both programs are part of the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute.
“CorInnova is excited to win the award, confirming that our device’s advantages for adult cardiac assist patients are even more important to the pediatric population,” said William Altman, president and CEO of CorInnova. “This $50,000 award will fund work to downsize our device and then do proof of concept testing in smaller animals, jump-starting our efforts to obtain grant and philanthropic funding for pediatrics.”
Meanwhile, being part of the TMCx program and the pediatric competition has allowed Shing Yue Sheung, co-founder and COO of NAVi , to broaden his network, he said.
“We came from Australia to expand our network, and the Texas Medical Center gave me the opportunity to get know the network in Houston,” Sheung said.
The “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” competition, sponsored by the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI)—an FDA-funded consortium led by Children’s National and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland—received 98 submissions from five countries. Four companies were awarded $50,000 each and two were awarded $25,000. The six winners were selected from a field of 12 finalists.
During the competition, a question-and-answer session followed a five-minute pitch from each finalist. Sheung said the work he has done at TMCx helped him get through the Q&A.
“Along with help from the other startups here, I am asked difficult questions in TMCx every day, which help to validate our product, so it prepared me for the judge’s questions,” he said. “As a startup in the early stages, sometimes you don’t know if you are on the right track. Having this positive result shows that we are doing something good here, and it keeps me motivated and excited about what we are doing.”
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Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Stanley Nelson. Stanley served from 1949 to 1952.Stanley, from Otwell, Indiana in Pike County, joined the Army in 1949 and completed training at Fort Knox. He was sent to Japan and in 1950 was assigned to the 8th Engineer Combat Battalion, 1st Calvary in Korea during the Korean War. On February 14, 1951, Stanley was defending the flank of advancing soldiers near Chipyong in modern-day South Korea. He was wounded by small arms fire in the right shoulder, right foot, left leg and left foot. Stanley was left incapacitated and was captured by the enemy.Stanley endured torture and difficult conditions while held prisoner and was left to die. However, American forces discovered him and evacuated him for medical treatment. The lower part of Stanley’s leg was amputated the following month and he recovered at Percy James Army Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was medically retired on January 31, 1952.Thank you for your service, Stanley!
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