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U Maryland-Baltimore medical device start-up raises $2.35 million, looks toward FDA clearance


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 1st, 2018

CoapTech, a University of Maryland-Baltimore start-up developing a technology enabling more efficient, less-invasive feeding tube placement in hospital patients, has raised $2.35 million in seed funding and is hopes to get FDA clearance of the device by early next year.

Major funders participating in the round included the National Institutes of Health, UM Ventures, Maryland Technology Development Corp. and the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program, as well as local angel investors.

The device is based on the work of Dr. Steven Tropello of the UM School of Medicine. Called

PUMA (point-of-care ultrasound magnet aligned), the technology allows clinicians to position and place a patient’s feeding tube using magnets, with clear visualization of paths inside the body. It provides an alternative to a typical feeding tube placement procedure, which may require specialists, greater levels of sedation and use of an operating room. The European Patent Office granted a patent for the technology in June.

CoapTech co-founder Howard Carolan said the company has been readying the PUMA device  for clinical use and introducing the concept to doctors who could adopt the technology. So far, he said, the device has received “incredible early responses” from doctors who have expressed interest in buying or using the product.

CoapTech has completed successful tests in dogs and  will soon start the first in-human pilot studies, which will take place in the U.S., and Canada, Carolan reports.

According to Tropello, CoapTech has made great progress over the past year and he is “excited to start challenging the status quo with this new technology.”

On top of its initial seed round, CoapTech may seek another $500,000 to $1 million in a “bridge round,” Carolan said. That extra money would be used to support greater data gathering and put the company in a more stable financial position as it begins looking for potential commercialization partners. The company hopes to begin selling its PUMA technology next year.

Source: Baltimore Business Journal

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