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NEPDC and TREAT Award $150K to Medical Device Innovators

Sep 13, 2016   |   NEPDC

Innovators addressing the unmet need for medical devices used in pediatric rehabilitation were awarded funding and assistance through New England Pediatric Device Consortium (NEPDC)'s 2016 Target Challenge.

NEPDC, Center for Translation of Rehabilitation Engineering Advances and Technology (TREAT), Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA), and the Foundation for Physical Therapy awarded $150,000 in grant funding and over 400 hours of in-kind service to the commercialization of four medical devices. All applications were reviewed through a multi-stage process by a panel of business, clinical, and technology development experts, and selected finalists were invited to pitch their strategy for developing and bringing their device to market.

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Awardees receiving grants and in-kind services include:

  • UNYQ Scoliosis Brace - UNYQ, San Francisco, CA
  • Lite Run Pediatric Gait Trainer - Lite Run Inc., Minneapolis, MN
  • PlayGait - University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Electrical Stimulation-Assisted Video Game Hand Therapy for Cerebral Palsy - Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

2016 Target Challenge partners received an overwhelming response to a request for proposals issued in May, which garnered 62 submissions from small startup companies, large businesses, hospitals, universities, and individual inventors. "Each year we see a growing number of strong applications from around the United States which highlights a community coming together to solve critical pediatric needs," said Richard Greenwald, PhD, Co-Director of NEPDC and Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth.

Identified as an underserved topic in pediatrics by clinical partners and stakeholders, pediatric rehabilitation addresses a wide range of needs at various ages. "The potential impact for the proposed device ideas that we received is enormous," said Donald Lombardi, Founder and President of the Institute for Pediatric Innovation. "The applications ranged from novel brace designs with high-tech compliance monitoring systems for infants, adolescents, or teens with scoliosis to low-tech, low-cost solutions used for in-home therapies for children with cerebral palsy."

The resources made available through these awards will support strategic commercialization efforts, making important technologies available to children sooner. "We are honored to receive the prestigious NEPDC grant to accelerate the path to market for our game-changing scoliosis brace," says Eythor Bender, CEO, UNYQ. "With the support, the UNYQ Brace will dramatically improve the lives of children with scoliosis and help the medical community set new standards of care for this condition which impacts so many young patients." Each device awarded in the 2016 Target Challenge is expected to be on the market within 18 months or near market with additional financial investments and development.

NEPDC was formed three years ago as a multidisciplinary consortium with a goal to help inventors accelerate the commercialization of pediatric medical devices through the FDA's Pediatric Device Consortia program. The next abstract deadline for grant funding is October 3, 2016, with applications due on October 24. Additionally, "we strongly encourage the clinical and caregiver community to reach out before the end of the year with pediatric needs that could become the focus for a 2017 Target Challenge," said Ann-Christine Duhaime, MD, NEPDC Co-Director.

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