Last week over 250 medtech investors, medical device inventors and startup representatives from across the Bay State gathered at the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council’s (MassMEDIC) sixteenth annual MedTech Showcase. MassMEDIC, “the voice” of the Commonwealth’s medical technology sector, is the largest regional medical device association in the United States.
The event lauded Senator William “Mo” Cowan for his staunch Capitol Hill advocacy on behalf of the Massachusetts medical device industry while he represented the Commonwealth as interim United States Senator. In turn, Cowan introduced Travis McCready, the new President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Science Center (MLSC) who asserted that the MLSC will, “continue to advance the health and welfare of the life sciences industry in Massachusetts. Over 40 percent of our awards have gone to device and diagnostic companies.”
Afterward, 23 cutting edge med tech companies presented their innovative medical devices and business plans. All of the devices were standouts in the advancement of medical science and demonstrated great ingenuity among the inventors. Among them:
CranioSense has developed and piloted a non-invasive system to measure intracranial pressure, which will help clinicians detect and treat the potential deleterious effects of head trauma at an earlier stage.
Admetsys‘ artificial pancreas system attaches to a patient’s intravenous line and automatically measures the patient’s blood glucose in real time, without any blood loss. The device delivers insulin to lower high glucose levels or glucose to raise dropping levels, based on a computational model of each patient’s metabolism, an approach which, according to the company, is much more precise than relying on a nurse to perform labor intensive and human error prone tasks. Glenn Robertelli, COO of Admetsys, believes the artificial pancreas system will have a significant health economic impact because “if you can control those glucoses better, you can get those patients out of the hospital quicker. You could reduce a range of complications that cost the hospital and the system overall a significant amount of money.”
According to Dr. Jerrold Shapiro, president and co-founder of Floelle, Inc., the company’s soft urethral insert developed to treat stress and mixed urinary incontinence in women is “a non-surgical, drug free solution, for an age old problem.” The Floelle is a soft, tiny device inserted into the urethra just like a catheter. The insert’s valve closes temporarily and stops urine flow when a woman has an increase in abdominal pressure (which occurs during coughing, lifting or sneezing) thereby preventing embarrassing leakage. ““She doesn’t have to worry when she wants to hug her kids or lifts up some groceries that she will be leaking urine,” Shapiro said.
Raiing Medical presented a wearable thermometer device that transmits via Bluetooth the wearer’s axillary body temperature to a smart device every four seconds. An app alerts when the wearer’s temperature is above a pre-set threshold. This device has great potential to improve the quality and ease of monitoring fever in sick children, immunocompromised patients and persons quarantined during outbreaks of infectious diseases.
CEO and Co-Founder Jayanthi Narasimhan describes the WatchRX device as “something that the elders can have, and be free and independent.” The all-in-one watch, telephone and GPS device helps senior citizens become more compliant with their medications by providing audiovisual reminders. If the user does not take the medication on time, a designated caregiver will receive an alert through the WatchRX mobile app. The watch’s built in GPS helps caregivers track their loved one’s activities when necessary. The telephone component of the device provides a communication method for the elder to make emergency calls and to take incoming calls from caregivers. According to WatchRX Co-Founder Arun Buduri, “One third of hospital admissions in the aging population is because of non-adherance. This would help in greatly reducing that, so I think we have a huge market to look into.”
Myomo‘s MyoPro myoelectric orthosis brings hope to the millions of people with upper extremity paralysis from a neurologic disease or injury. The device is a robotic arm brace controlled by electrical impulses generated by the user’s arm muscles. When the brace’s sensors detect that the wearer is attempting to bend or move the affected arm, the MyoPro orthosis activates, maneuvering the arm in the desired direction. To date, Myomo has helped over 200 users and has been approved for use in the VA healthcare system.
InsomniSolv, Inc. has developed a set of wristbands proposed to treat people with primary insomnia. These wristbands are controlled by a smartphone app and provide a rhythmic stimulation which has a hypnotic effect on the brain which helps the person fall and stay asleep. Peter Kelley, CEO and Founder, notes, “in preliminary studies using our prototype, 7 out 8 subjects have reduced their time to fall asleep by 35 percent.”
Sharon Marable, MD, MPH, FACP is a Board Certified Internal Medicine physician who is interested in health care innovations in population health, chronic disease management and clinical quality improvement, particularly for underserved & disparate populations. Marable has also served as a medical and health policy consultant for charitable foundations, legislators and government entities. She is the Vice-Chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Diversity in Medicine and a member of the Society’s Committee on the Quality of Medical Practice. Marable’s joys outside the field of medicine include pilates, fitness, reading inspirational books and raising her godson.
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