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South Carolina Partnership Licenses First Technology

Illustration of lungs (Mikael Häggström/Wikimedia Commons)

(Mikael Häggström/Wikimedia Commons)

SCRA, a South Carolina state business investment organization in Columbia, and TAO Life Sciences, a medical device commercialization company in Greenville, say they completed their first licensing deal for a chest drainage tube device invented by students at Clemson University. Financial aspects of the licensing agreement were not disclosed.

Bioengineering students at Clemson University designed and created a device that helps place and stabilize chest drainage tubes. Chest tubes are used to drain fluids that build up in the chest after surgery or due to bleeding or abscesses, often as a result of trauma. Draining the fluids helps prevent the lungs from collapsing.

The insertion procedure for the tube, called a thoracostomy, is often difficult, and can cause complications. The device, called AssureFit, holds the tube in place without adhesive and reduces the risk of the tube becoming dislodged, a leading cause of complications.

The students, in Clemson’s Bioengineering Senior Design Program, teamed with pediatric surgeons from Greenville Health System to develop the AssureFit device. The program is a year-long class where the students create solutions for unmet medical needs. As a result, both Clemson University and Greenville Health System own the intellectual property rights to the invention.

SCRA, through its Technology Ventures initiative, supports commercialization of new technologies in the state, and in November 2012 announced a plan with TAO Life Sciences to select promising new medical technologies for licensing and commercial development.

TAO Life Sciences licensed the drainage tube stabilization device for further development and commercialization. The company identifies promising medical devices and takes their development from proof-of-concept to demonstration stage, with the goal of generating financial returns with 18 months.

The following video tells more about the AssureFit device.

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