Five Proposals Receive Seed Funds to Develop Medical Devices for Children

Published on in CHOP News.

The Pennsylvania Pediatric Medical Device Consortium (PPDC) has announced its latest round of seed grants to companies developing medical devices for children. The Consortium chose five projects from nine finalists in a competition to receive seed grants of $50,000 each.

The devices are a telehealth tool to track newborn development, a wearable phototherapy device, a portable oral aspirator, a novel endotracheal tube, and a one-step adrenal crisis management device.

Funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and based at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the PPDC provides know-how and seed funding to help innovators translate promising ideas into commercialized medical devices for use in children. The PPDC is a collaboration involving CHOP, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and sciVelo of the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Pennsylvania.

The new round of awards is the eighth by the PPDC, following seed grants announced in February 2015January 2016January 2017October 2017July 2018May 2019, and February 2020.

“This round’s sponsored device projects represent a range of clinical disciplines and will provide novel solutions to unmet needs in pediatric healthcare,” said Robert J. Levy, MD, attending cardiologist in the Cardiac Center at CHOP, the William J. Rashkind Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cardiology at CHOP and the Consortium’s Principal Investigator. 

Neoneur LLC of Pennington, NJ is creating the Neoneur, a telehealth-enabled device that provides objective measurements of infant oral feeding capability and developmental status. An infant’s feeding skills consist of patterns driven by the brain to enable adequate nutrient consumption and respiratory protection at the same time without hindering growth. All infants must have feeding skills to thrive, but currently clinical observation is the only means to assess them. The Neoneur will enable the ability to monitor feeding and skill development for at-risk infants both in the hospital and through telemedicine at home to enable earlier discharge, decrease readmissions, and aid in early identification of developmental issues.

TheraB Medicala pediatric startup out of Michigan, is developing SnugLit, a wearable infant swaddle that treats neonatal jaundice with phototherapy. Neonatal jaundice affects 2.4 million infants in the United States and as many as 20 million globally. The most common treatment involves light therapy systems, which require constant monitoring by nursing staff and cause prolonged separation of mother and child. With SnugLit, babies no longer have to be separated from their parents during phototherapy, but instead can receive complete treatment in the arms of their caregivers.

Tychermont Products LLC of Philadelphia will receive support for the OrVac™, a portable oral aspirator to assist patients with pediatric dysphagia and other swallowing disorders. To date, these patients do not have a way to self-suction oral waste without assistance. The OrVac™ returns control and independence to the patient by providing a portable, non-invasive, and user-controlled device to evacuate oral liquids.


Tychermont OrVac device

The University of Illinois at Chicago, in partnership with Olifant Medical Inc, will receive support for Dr. Girish Deshpande’s work on the SecureTube™, a new endotracheal tube with several features designed to mitigate various factors that lead to unplanned extubations in pediatric patients. Unplanned extubations can lead to significant complications, especially in young infants, who could suffer cardiac arrest requiring CPR and may need an emergency re-intubation. Unplanned extubations are also associated with increased respiratory tract infections, increased length of ICU and hospital stays, and an overall increase in healthcare cost. The unique two-port design of the SecureTube™ and its specially designed holder will standardize the way endotracheal tubes are secured to the patient. It will replace the currently used Y-adapter and bite-block and will eliminate the use of tape that will minimize, if not eliminate, the unplanned extubations and associated complications.

SOLUtion Medical LLC of Philadelphia is developing the TwistJect™, a device that enables caregivers to manage children during an adrenal crisis. Adrenal crisis is a life-threatening condition resulting from insufficient levels of the hormone cortisol. Children and adolescents experience some of the most severe morbidities of all patients who experience adrenal crisis due to the difficulties in managing adrenal insufficiency in younger populations and the difficulties in providing rescue injections. The TwistJect™ is a one-step delivery device that reconstitutes hydrocortisone sodium succinate and removes all entrapped air in one user step.

Applications for PPDC funding opportunities are accepted from throughout the U.S. The Consortium also accepts applications year-round for in-kind services and expert advice.