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Wayne State start-up uses light to prevent brain damage

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 7th, 2018

A Wayne State University (WSU) start-up is utilizing light to help prevent brain damage in heart attack patients.

Mitovation’s device, known as the MitoLUX, resembles a small bicycle helmet and uses a fiber-optic cable to shoot infrared light through the skull and into the brain as a method of stopping cell damage that occurs due to a lack of blood flow after a heart attack.

“It’s a really simple technology,” says Mitovation president and CEO Mark Morsfield. “The beauty is, it’s noninvasive and easy to administer. You don’t need special training. There’s no black box. You put it on and turn it on.”

Mitovation’s goal is to improve clinical outcomes of heart attack patients, shorten the lengths of their stays in ICUs, and reduce long-term disability of those affected by a heart attack-related brain injury. The start-up is currently raising a seed investment round of $500,000 to continue prototype development, expand its intellectual property, and start the regulatory approval process.

Hugo Braun, co-founder and managing partner of Ann Arbor-based VC firm North Coast Technology Investors, is on Mitovation’s board of advisors.

“We’re not an investor yet, but there’s no technology risk at all,” says Braun. “They’re taking well understood technology and trying to do something with it no one has thought of before. It works in small animals. They just need to see if it works in humans, and that’s not a very expensive proposition.”

Mitovation’s technology has received nearly $8.1 million in funding since 2006 through a combination of large and small grants, including from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense. Large animal studies of the MitoLUX device are currently being conducted at WSU and the University of Michigan, and Morsfield says human trials are expected to launch by the end of next year.

Source: Crain’s Detroit Business

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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