Innovation

Technologies connected to TMC institutions advance through awards and grants


By Christine Hall | September 28, 2018

Two companies affiliated with Texas Medical Center member institutions recently experienced advancements for their medical device products.

PolyVascular Corp., an alum of the Texas Medical Center’s TMCx medical device accelerator program, was one of six medical device companies to capture top honors and a $25,000 award during the annual “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” competition sponsored by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System, a Washington health care institution. The contest was hosted at Children’s National’s Sixth Annual Pediatric Device Innovation Symposium in Philadelphia on Sept. 23.

Led by Henri Justino, M.D., director of the Charles E. Mullins Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at Texas Children’s Hospital, PolyVascular’s winning device is a minimally-invasive pediatric pulmonary valve replacement approach for young children with congenital heart disease.

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This year’s children’s medical device contest focused on products addressing cardiovascular care, a significant-yet-unmet need in pediatric health care, especially among younger children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 40,000 babies are born annually in the United States with a congenital heart defect and more than 1 million children nationwide have the condition. The competition was part of the annual Children’s National symposium to foster innovation that will advance pediatric health care and address unmet surgical and medical device needs among children.

In addition to financial support, PolyVascular will have access to consultation services for all phases of its pediatric device development—from ideation through marketing—to help the startup get its device to market faster.

Meanwhile, Innovative Biochips LLC was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II grant of $1.5 million to support continued research and development for its automated yeast dissection system. The company previously was awarded a $225,000 Phase I grant from the NIH and the second round of funding is based on milestone achievements.

The company is a spin-off of research led by principal investigator Myeong Chan Jo, Ph.D., and Lidong Qin, Ph.D., founder and scientific advisor, who both work in the Qin Lab in Department of Nanomedicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute. Weiwei Dang, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine, is the academic collaborator for this STTR project.

This technology is capable of trapping up to 8,000 single yeast cells and tracking the whole lifespan about 500 yeast cells for 16 different strains in three days of culturing. The automated dissection system will provide unprecedented efficiency in conducting aging research using the yeast replicative aging model and enables researchers to take advantage of powerful yeast genetics.




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