BOSTON -- Entrepreneurs developing new technologies to treat blood clots, congestive heart failure, incontinence and more were the big winners at the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center $200,000 Challenge, an annual pitch competition that showcases cutting-edge innovations in the medical-device and biotech fields.
The center, known as M2D2, is a partnership between UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School that assists inventors and startups with all aspects of the process behind moving new products and technologies from concept to commercialization.
Now in its eighth year, the challenge drew entrants from around the world and recognized winners on Wednesday, April 10 at an event held at the Boston offices of Mintz law firm.
Nineteen finalists, chosen from a field of 143 entrants, had competed in the challenge's pitch-off on Wednesday, March 27 at UMass Lowell; two weeks later, 12 of them were awarded shares of a $200,000 purse of sponsor-provided, in-kind services, including lab and office space, and engineering, product development, legal, regulatory, clinical and business assistance.
In a change from previous years, the winners were grouped into tiers for first, second and third places.
"The judges agreed that this year's finalist field was the strongest ever, making it nearly impossible for them to rank the winners one through 12. By grouping them in tiers, we feel we're recognizing every winning innovation in the most appropriate manner - and acknowledging that the difference between two great ideas may be by just a small degree," said Mary Ann Picard, M2D2's director of operations.
The winners are:
- UroMonitor, from Cleveland, received the Hologic Award for a device to simplify and improve diagnosis and treatment of stress urinary incontinence;
- Respirix, from San Francisco, received the Boston Scientific Award for a non-invasive cardiac monitor for congestive heart failure patients;
- Endovascular Engineering, from Ann Arbor, Mich., received the Johnson & Johnson Award for a novel platform for mechanical thrombectomy in stroke;
- EnClear Therapies, from Cambridge, received the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Award for a treatment device to stop progress of neurodegenerative diseases;
- ARO Medical, from North Andover, received the MPR Award for a minimally invasive treatment device for orthopedic surgery.
- Neurovascular Diagnostics, from Buffalo, N.Y., received the Ashai Intecc Award for an RNA expression diagnostic to detect biomarkers of unruptured intercranial aneurysms;
- EnLiSense, from Allen, Texas, received the Amgen Award for a clinically relevant wearable electrochemical biosensor system;
- BuzzArk Simulations, from Chennai, India, received the Deshpande Award for a virtual reality simulation of natural orifice surgery procedures.
- UroRelief, from San Francisco, with a non-invasive device for treatment of overactive bladder;
- NPT Rapid Testing, from Lowell, with a novel diagnostic for accurate and early detection of bloodstream infections;
- Kinnos, from Brooklyn, N.Y., with an innovative infection control device;
- Dynocardia, from Lowell, with a wearable cNIBP (continuous non-invasive blood pressure) monitor for outpatient monitoring and hypertension management.
"The quality of the medical devices and technologies presented in this year's competition was exceptional and inspiring. We are grateful to our sponsors for their support in helping these early-stage medical device, diagnostic and biotech startups bring their ideas from concept to commercialization," said M2D2 Founder and Director Stephen McCarthy, who also serves as director of UMass Lowell's Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology Program.
"The innovations presented at this pitch contest are reshaping the quality of care as they transform the medical and biotech marketplace. Over the past eight years, the M2D2 $200,000 Challenge has become a vital showcase for the pioneering work being pursued all over the globe. I can't wait to see what's next," said M2D2 Co-Director Nate Hafer, director of operations at the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science at UMass Medical School.
The M2D2 $200K Challenge is made possible by the generous support of these sponsors:
- Asahi Intecc
- Boston Scientific
- Deshpande Foundation
- Johnson & Johnson Innovation
- Massachusetts Life Sciences Center
- MPR Product Development
- R&Q Regulatory & Quality Solutions
M2D2 is a lifeline for the state's smaller medical device companies, offering inventors and executives easy, affordable, and coordinated access to world-class researchers and resources at the Lowell and Worcester campuses of the University of Massachusetts.
M2D2 leverages the engineering, business and clinical strengths of the UMass campuses in Lowell and Worcester to provide fee-based services in the areas of business planning, product prototype development, and clinical pathway assistance.
M2D2 is proud to be the only BARDA DRIVe accelerator in New England. BARDA's DRIVe aims to empower people and give them a greater role in their health outcomes. The initiative, launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is seeking better ways to detect threats, point-of-use indicators, biological and physiological sensing technologies.
Thanks to a recent $7.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), M2D2 is also playing a large role in the development of CAPCaT, a new Center for Advancing Point-of-Care Technologies focused on heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders.
Contact for M2D2 business information:
Mary Ann Picard, M2D2 Operations Director
Contact for media inquiries:
Nancy Cicco, UMass Lowell media relations
Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu or 978-934-4944