The Medical Device Accelerator, sponsored by the Perelman School of Medicine and Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, in partnership with the Penn Center for Innovation and Penn Health-Tech, empowers entrepreneurs, clinicians, and researchers to create and commercialize innovative medical devices to address unmet clinical needs, improve patient outcomes, and reduce the cost of care. The program supports faculty and staff in transforming their "paper napkin drawing" to a final product ready for clinical use. We also partner with PCI Ventures to help participants make the transition from device to company after the program concludes.
Teams selected to participate in the Medical Device Accelerator receive:
Watch the video below to learn more about how the program works and reference previous winners here.
Applications are reviewed by an interdisciplinary team of medical device experts that will assist in selecting projects based on the following criteria:
High-resolution, low cost, EEG sensors
Inventors: Flavia Vitale, PhD; Nicolette Driscoll, PhD; Katheryn Davis, MD
Scalp electroencephalography (EEG) is used widely for clinical diagnostics and monitoring in patients with neurological disease, for research aimed at understanding neural circuitry, and, increasingly, for continuous at-home monitoring. Typical EEG electrodes are made with high-impedance materials such as metals and rely on conductive gels to achieve suitable electrode-skin interface impedance to record signals with high fidelity. The gels must be individually applied to each electrode by a skilled EEG technician, a process that can take more than an hour, which is limiting for patients that require rapid diagnostics. The inventors have developed a dry EEG electrode made of conductive nanomaterials that achieve equivalent signal fidelity to gel-based EEG electrodes. These electrodes can be applied without gel or a skilled technician. The inventors have also developed a high-throughput scalable fabrication process to make mm-scale dry EEGs. Additionally, the process for this platform technology can be used to produce low-cost gel-free epidermal biosensor arrays for a wide range of recording modalities beyond EEG, including muscle (EMG) and cardiac (EKG) activity sensing.
Stellate Ganglion Magnetic Stimulator
Inventor: Timothy Markman, MD
Many common cardiac conditions, including arrhythmias, heart failure, and coronary artery disease, are treated by attempting to modulate the autonomic input that the heart receives. Options to do so include medications and invasive procedures, both of which have adverse side effects and complications that limit their use. The most definitive management strategy in modulating autonomic input to the heart involves a surgery in which the chest is opened, and the sympathetic nerves innervating the heart are physically removed. While this procedure is effective, there are morbidity risks associated. Dr. Markman is developing a novel device to inhibit cervical sympathetic input to the heart. The device will produce low-frequency magnetic pulses that, with repetition, will inhibit the neural activity of the stellate ganglion, ultimately decreasing sympathetic input to the heart.
L. Scott Levin, MD; Edward Cantu III, MD; and Matthew Winterton, MD: The rate-limiting step for doing limb reattachment and transplantation is the availability of suitable limbs. We are developing an ex-vivo limb perfusion system analogous to an ex-vivo lung perfusion system that can keep limbs alive until they are reattached or transplanted.
Shu Yang, PhD and Suhail Kanchawala, MD: One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Current surgical reconstruction techniques are overly complex leading to suboptimal complication rates and poor cosmetic outcomes. We are developing a bio-absorbable material for real-time fabrication leveraging 3-D printing to improve “fit” and reduce costs.
Richard Shlanky-Goldberg, MD: Rates of enterocutaneous fistula (ECF) have increased over recent years. The mortality rate for patients with ECF hovers between 7 - 20%, and outpatient management costs approximately $500k per case. We are developing an internal fixation device that can be applied via a percutaneous technique.
Harvey Smith, MD and Matthew Winterton, MD: Spinal procedures are common and very costly. The majority of the cost can be attributed to the marketing cost of the implant itself. Vertically integrating implant fabrication can reduce the cost of the implants by 70 - 80%. We are building a pipeline for this fabrication at Penn Medicine.
Dan Holena, MD: Patients with enterocutaneous fistula (ECF) may not be operative candidates for months or years and suffer from debilitating medical complications requiring lengthy inpatient stays. Intravenous nutrition alone costs $90k - $120k annually and is not nutritionally sufficient. Creating a device to collect proximal gastrointestinal secretions and ingested food and refeed materials distally will allow patients to eat normally and remain in a non-hospital setting.
Steve Messé, MD, David Do, MD, and James Weimer, PhD: Stroke is a significant public health issue and a leading cause of death and disability. Close to 17% of strokes occur in hospitalized patients, many of whom have recently had surgery, which dramatically increases morbidity, mortality, and cost. Although stroke treatment has advanced substantially in recent years, the identification of in-hospital strokes is often delayed. We are developing an inpatient stroke monitoring system, comprised of Bluetooth accelerometer wristbands and a tablet-based algorithm application to provide ongoing real-time information and alerts to staff regarding if and when a stroke may have occurred.
Eric Lancaster, MD: Developing a native immunoblot screening test that can be turned around within hours for autoantibodies established to associate with autoimmune encephalitis.
Brian Park, MD: Exploring solutions to automatically register 3D holographic models of patient imaging directly on top of the patients through computer vision tactics and pattern recognition.
Ari Brooks, MD; Rahul Mangharam, PhD; Han Jun Kim; Richard Sensenig; and Ezra Brooks: Measuring urine output data serves as a reliable, inexpensive and effective way to measure patient well-being. Urine output is an indicator of acute kidney injury, which occurs in 30% of ICU patients. Current urimeters are read visually and emptied manually every hour, with care team members recording data on paper. Ari Brooks, MD; Rahul Mangharam, PhD; Han Jun Kim; Richard Sensenig; and Ezra Brooks have designed a digital urimeter based on electrical continuity that calculates the total volume in the urimeter container, provides a real-time display and integrates data directly into the patient EMR.
Perry Dubin, MD, MPH: Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a hospital-acquired infection that affects 15-20% of the 3 million ventilated patients in the United States annually. VAP is associated with mortality of 30% and significant morbidity - including extended Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and hospital stays. However, clinical studies on patient recumbency have shown that recumbency at 30-45% is associated with a significant reduction in VAP. To tackle this issue, Perry Dubin, MD, MPH created Angulus. Angulus is a small 1”x2” biosensor that affixes via silicone adhesive directly to the chest of a patient. It contains a disposable inclinometer that digitally measures patient recumbency and has the ability to wirelessly transmit information to electronic health records and display data on vital sign and telemetry monitors.
James Carey, MD, MPH: Nationally, knee arthroscopy procedures are performed more than 500,000 times per year. Metallic biters are the tools currently utilized to perform the procedure. However, metallic biters are metallic and rigid, which minimizes access to the meniscus and maximizes the risk of damage to the articular cartilage. James Carey, MD, MPH is working to create a flexible meniscal biter to permit more comprehensive and safer treatment of the meniscus during knee arthroscopy procedures.
Jake Brenner, MD, PhD; Marek Swoboda, PhD; and Perry Dubin, MD, MPH: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), popularly called emphysema, causes 15 million Americans to suffer years of intolerable shortness of breath (SOB). In these patients, prior smoking changes the lung structure so that they cannot breathe when engaged in activity. Jake Brenner, MD, PhD; Marek Swoboda, PhD; and Perry Dubin, MD, MPH are working to create a wearable mechanical breathing assist device (AIR-AD) to help the 2 million Americans who suffer from severe COPD. AIR-AD is a respiratory assist device that fits like a shell over the anterior chest and abdomen and offloads the work of breathing (WOB). With each breath in, AIR-AD generates a vacuum that helps lift the chest and abdomen, drawing air in. With each breath out, AIR-AD increases pressure over the chest and helps the patient breathe out faster. By assisting with WOB, AIR-AD helps reduce the feeling of SOB, enabling patients to once again engage in life.