business incubator working to improve the lives of patients with heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders is expanding its reach to the next generation of pioneering biotech and medical-device entrepreneurs.
Heart, lung and blood diseases account for 41 percent of deaths in the United States and lead to more than $400 billion in health-care expenses and lost income to patients and caregivers, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
The Center for Advancing Point of Care Technologies (CAPCaT) assists inventors developing new technologies and medical devices designed to help patients with these conditions manage their well-being wherever they are. The goal is to improve quality of life and reduce the time patients spend in the hospital. CAPCaT is seeking more entrepreneurs to join the incubator in this work.
Innovations supported by CAPCaT are devices and technologies well on their way to going to market. Products already being developed at CAPCaT include a product to help critically ill infants sleep better, an online education program for patients to manage hypertension and a portable device that can evaluate how the user’s platelets are performing. 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 country in the National Institutes of Health Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network, which was created in 2018 to help revolutionize patient care.
Supported by a $7.9 million grant from the 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. CAPCaT is driven by the talent and aspirations of participating entrepreneurs; the expertise of scientists, business developers and legal analysts; and the resources available at UMass Lowell and UMass Medical School in collaboration with industry partners.
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 this impact.
“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 Prof. Bryan Buchholz, co-director of CAPCaT and chairman of UMass Lowell’s Biomedical Engineering Department.
Successful applicants will receive seed funding and the support of M2D2’s medical, business and legal experts as well as those in the private sector and from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
“Last year, we received 90 expressions of interest from entrepreneurs in 26 states and three countries. We were amazed by the quality of applications we received and can’t wait to see what technologies are submitted this year,” said Dr. David McManus, CAPCaT’s co-director and professor of medicine at UMass Medical School.