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Incubator Seeks Heart, Lung, Blood Device Entrepreneurs

Smartphones in business meeting

(Rawpixel, Pixabay)

7 Feb. 2020. A business incubator in Massachusetts is seeking entrepreneurs and their companies developing medical devices for heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders. The deadline for applications for this year’s awards to take part in the Center for Advancing Point of Care Technologies, or Capcat, is 2 March 2020.

A core objective of Capcat is to encourage formation and early development of new businesses focusing on point-of-care processes. The center both identifies promising new technologies for commercialization and provides seed financing, legal assistance, and mentoring for start-ups to get their products off the ground. The center plans to makes six awards this year of up to $100,000 each for 12 months, with at least one of the grants addressing complementary and integrative health.

Capcat is part of the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, located in Lowell and Worcester, aiming to attract entrepreneurs starting-up companies creating technologies serving heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders that also reduce the amount of time patients need to spend in a hospital. The center cites data from NIH showing heart, lung, and blood diseases account for 41 percent of deaths in the U.S. and are responsible for more than $400 billion in health care expenses and lost income to patients and caregivers.

Capcat is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts campus in Lowell and the UMass medical school in Worcester, funded by a five-year, $7.9 million grant from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of National Institutes of Health, awarded in 2018. Companies currently backed by Capcat include developers of a device for people anemia to check their hemoglobin levels, a system for remote monitoring of people with heart failure, and a device to improve sleep of neonatal intensive care patients.

This year’s call for participants is seeking point of care technologies that help diagnose, monitor, better manage, or prevent a disorder among heart, lung, blood, and sleep-related conditions. Capcat also considers applications from companies in complementary and integrative health solutions, using holistic methods to manage disease such as acupuncture, meditation, music, and art therapies.

Bryan Buchholz, co-director of Capcat and and chairman of UMass Lowell’s biomedical engineering department, notes in a center statement that Capcat is a “collaboration between clinicians at UMass Medical School and engineers at UMass Lowell that helps medical device developers as they move their products toward commercialization, knowing these life-changing inventions will help so many patients and transform the industry.”

David McManus, also a Capcat co-director and professor of medicine at UMass Medical School, says applicants need not be from Massachusetts to take part, although non-U.S. applicants need to justify why the work cannot be done in the U.S. “Last year, we received 90 expressions of interest from entrepreneurs in 26 states and three countries. We were amazed by the quality of applications we received and can’t wait to see what technologies are submitted this year.”

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