By Aaron Curtis
LOWELL — Heart, lung and blood diseases constitute 41% of deaths in the U.S. and lead to more than $400 billion in health care expenses and lost income, according to numbers released by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
A press release issued by UMass Lowell and the UMass Medical School states a business incubator working to improve the lives of patients with such diseases is expanding its reach to the next generation of pioneering biotech and medical-device entrepreneurs.
The Center for Advancing Point of Care Technologies, or CAPCaT, aims to help inventors develop new technologies and medical devices designed to help patients with these conditions manage their well-being, the release states. The goal is to improve quality of life and reduce the time patients spend in the hospital.
CAPCaT seeks more entrepreneurs to join the incubator, the release states.
“CAPCaT is an exciting 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,” said professor Bryan Buchholz, co-director of CAPCaT and chairman of UMass Lowell’s Biomedical Engineering Department.
Innovations supported by CAPCaT are devices and technologies well on their way to going to market, according to the release.
Products already being developed include a product to help critically ill infants sleep better, an online education program for patients to manage hypertension and a portable device able to evaluate the user’s platelets. The center also seeks to support technologies that promote holistic methods of managing diseases, including devices that measure stress levels or promote mindfulness.
CAPCaT is one of four centers across the U.S. operating within the National Institutes of Health Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network, created in 2018 to help revolutionize patient care, according to the release.
Supported by a $7.9 million grant from NIH, CAPCaT is part of the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2), operated by UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School in Worcester to help biotech and medical-device startups bridge the gap between idea and market.
M2D2’s support of medical-device startups in Massachusetts has contributed $42 million in direct economic impact with a total positive effect of $75 million, according to the UMass Donahue Institute. Expanding CAPCaT is expected to increase the impact.
Successful applicants will receive seed funding and the support of M2D2’s medical, business and legal experts, along with those in the private sector and from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, according to the release.
Dr. David McManus, CAPCaT’s co-director and professor of medicine at UMass Medical School, said they received 90 expressions of interest from entrepreneurs in 26 states and three countries last year.
“We were amazed by the quality of applications we received and can’t wait to see what technologies are submitted this year,” McManus said.
Entrepreneurs working on inventions close to being tested in clinical settings are encouraged to apply to the center. For more information, email Mary Dubuque, project coordinator for CAPCaT, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application deadline is March 2.