LOWELL, Mass. – Four medical-device startups were recently selected as the winners of the 2014 Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) New Venture Competition.
Designed to showcase innovative ideas coming out of early-stage medical-device companies, the third annual competition focused on joint reconstruction, sports medicine and trauma. Eligibility for this year’s contest was expanded to include startups not only in Massachusetts, but around the world. The 15 finalists – who presented to a panel of distinguished judges from Smith & Nephew, UMass and MassMEDIC – included entrants from Ireland, South Africa and North America.
M2D2 leverages the engineering, business and clinical strengths of world-class researchers and resources at UMass Lowell and UMass Worcester to provide affordable and confidential services to medical-device inventors and startups, as well as offering business incubator space on the UMass Lowell campus. M2D2 recently received a $4 million grant through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center that will help it double the size of the incubator, as well as enhance programs linking startups with established medical-device makers.
First place in the competition went to Sano LLC of Wellesley Hills, creator of a one-step, point-of-care diagnostic that measures enzymes to help determine how to treat chronic or other non-healing wounds.
Second place went to Benevolent Tech for Health (BeTH) of Boston, which has introduced the first-ever shape-capturing prosthetic device, designed to adapt to natural body volume fluctuations, reducing the chance of tissue damage and sores, as well as decreasing fabrication time and clinical visits for fittings. One in 200 Americans lives with an amputation, BeTH estimates, and more than 100,000 procedures are conducted annually resulting from conditions such as diabetes and Peripheral Vascular Disease.
Third place was awarded to Guided Surgery Solutions of Wellesley, developer of the ThinLayer Drill Guide System, which uses 3D imaging to improve accuracy in the placement of dental implants. More than 2.8 million implants were placed in the U.S. in 2012, according to the company.
Fourth place was presented to ProDural of Cork, Ireland. ProDural is a visual device for use in signaling needle entry into the body’s epidural space with a visual indicator and haptic feedback. Each year, more than 800,000 epidurals are administered to mothers during labor in the United States, the company said in its entry.
“The level of this year’s competition has reached an all-time high. All of the companies that competed realized value from the coaching, feedback and exposure to potential investors that they received,” said Stephen McCarthy, director of M2D2 and a professor in UMass Lowell’s Department of Plastics Engineering. “Since its inception, M2D2 has helped 54 medical-device startups raise more than $45 million from investors and through federal grants.”
The winners of the competition will share $50,000 in in-kind services including facilities, engineering, legal, business and medical assistance from M2D2 and this year’s sponsors, Smith & Nephew, the global medical technology business, and Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP law firm.
“UMass Lowell and M2D2 are committed to the growth and success of the medical-device cluster in Massachusetts. We believe that events such as the New Venture Competition support the entrepreneurs and startups that will help build this cluster,” said Steven Tello, UMass Lowell’s associate vice chancellor for entrepreneurship and economic development and co-director of M2D2. “This year, the competition drew startups from across the country and the world. If we can help attract and nurture these companies in Massachusetts, we can bring more professional jobs to our state. We are grateful for the participation of these entrepreneurs and for the support of our event sponsors.”
The 15 finalists presented their concepts to judges at M2D2’s Innovation Hub business incubator on the UMass Lowell campus and the winners were announced recently at an event at Nutter McClennen & Fish’s Boston offices.
M2D2, the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center, is a joint initiative of the Lowell and Worcester campuses of the UMass system. Its aim is to help new medical device entrepreneurs develop products every step of the way, from proof-of-concept to commercialization. Its affiliated faculty and staff have has assisted more than 100 start-up companies and entrepreneurs since the program kicked off in the spring of 2007.
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 17,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, engineering, education, fine arts, health, humanities, liberal arts, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu