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U Maryland licenses technology, invests in start-up to develop first ‘out-of-hospital’ artificial lung


By David Schwartz
Published: April 15th, 2015

University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and Breethe, Inc. announced today that Baltimore-based Breethe, an early-stage medical device company, has obtained exclusive rights to IP from UM Baltimore for the development of a wearable, portable blood pump oxygenator that will function as an artificial lung system.

The core licensed technology was developed by faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), with Breethe also obtaining important supporting technology co-owned by UMB and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) as part of the license agreement. The Breethe team plans to bring the first wearable ‘out-of-hospital’ artificial lung system to market, and UMB has made a $100,000 investment in Breethe through UM Ventures.

“The portable artificial lung system developed at UM SOM has the potential to revolutionize treatment for patients with severe pulmonary disease,” said Phil Robilotto, DO, MBA, chief commercialization officer for UM Ventures. “Breethe has quickly assembled a superior management team, and UM Ventures is excited to see the company advance this extremely promising technology to the medical market place.”

Bartley P. Griffith, MD, executive director of the University of Maryland Medical Center/UM SOM Program in Lung Healing, developed the core technology and is the company’s founder.

According to the American Lung Association, lung disease is the number three killer (behind heart disease and cancer) in the U.S., causing one in six deaths. Breethe’s technologies will address an unmet need for patients living with lung disease.

“There is growing demand for a new technology to take over the function of the human lung while allowing patients mobility,” said Griffith. “Our respiratory assist and cardiopulmonary support technology has the potential to dramatically improve patient care and quality of life by enabling otherwise hospital-bound patients to leave the hospital and resume more of their daily activities.”

Commenting on the investment in the start-up, Jim Hughes, director of UM Ventures and Vice President at UMB, added, “through UM Ventures, UMB can make investments in particularly promising start-ups driven by university-created technologies,” said. “Providing funding resources to Breethe helps the company move forward in its commercialization process, and supplements other economic support available through the state. This investment should be a win-win all around: for the company, for UMB and for fueling health-tech development within the State of Maryland.”

Source: Baltimore citybizlist

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