January 8, 2003
Purdue licenses premature infant monitor to Indy company
INDIANAPOLIS The Purdue Research Foundation has partnered with an Indianapolis company to develop and market technology discovered at Purdue University that provides doctors with a more advanced way to take the vital signs of premature infants.
A license agreement between the foundation's Office of Technology Commercialization and Theron Technologies LLC was announced today (Wednesday, 1/8) during a news conference at Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana's only comprehensive children's hospital, with one of the premier neonatal intensive care units in the country.
The agreement grants Theron Technologies exclusive commercial rights to a non-invasive device that uses optical techniques to measure systolic, mean and diastolic blood pressure; heart and respiratory rate; and oxygen saturation in prematurely born and other low birthweight babies.
"We believe this technology presents a new and more comprehensive method for the health care professional to view blood pressure and other critical blood parameters," said Dr. Ted Bailey, Theron Technologies' medical affairs officer and chief operating officer.
Leslie Geddes, Purdue's Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Bioengineering who led the research team that developed the technology, said, "The neonatologist, the premature infant physician and the small-infant pediatrician do not currently have one single instrument to measure vital signs in their patients. And they don't have a non-invasive blood pressure monitor that's accurate enough."
In the United States each year, approximately 308,000 babies born are considered low birthweight (below 5 lbs., 8 oz.). These babies make up 7 percent of births. About 45,000 American babies each year are considered to be very low birthweight (below 3.3 lbs.). These infants make up about 1 percent of births. Low birthweight and very low birthweight babies account for two-thirds of newborn deaths.
Monitoring the blood pressure of these small babies is necessary to check for indications of hypovolemia, an abnormal decrease in blood volume. Because premature babies have such small veins, doctors must use a technique called direct umbilical artery catheterization (threading a catheter through the baby's umbilical cord) to measure aortic pressure.
"Although this method is beyond criticism, it is available for only a short time after birth, before the umbilical artery starts to close," Geddes said. "The device we are developing will allow the neonatologist to monitor blood in a non-invasive manner beyond the period of umbilical artery recording. Physicians then can use the device to obtain oxygen saturation, heart and respiration rate with no added effort."
Like other biomedical engineering researchers at Purdue, once Geddes' team has published its work in a refereed journal, it works to bring the discovery to the marketplace.
"Our biomedical engineering program continues to operate on the cutting-edge of technology and life sciences research and commercialization," said Joe Hornett, senior vice president and treasurer of the Purdue Research Foundation. "Pairing an Indiana venture with a new biomedical discovery like this one is another example of Purdue's commitment to the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative."
Purdue is one of the six partners participating in the initiative, which was formed in 2002 to expand entrepreneurial capacity, business development, career opportunities and investment in central Indianas life sciences industry. The initiative works with corporate, government, economic development and academic leaders to make central Indiana a national and international life sciences center.
David Goodrich, president of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and co-founder of the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative, said, "This partnership between Purdue and Theron Technologies is a great example of how collaborations between industry and academia create innovation, economic opportunities and better health care for Hoosiers."
Theron Technologies LLC a joint venture of Barnard Life Sciences and Theron was formed to commercialize this Purdue-licensed technology.
"The combination of Therons engineering expertise and Barnard Life Sciences' management capabilities provides an extraordinary opportunity to maximize the potential of this technology," said Les Henderson, Theron Inc.'s chief operating officer and Theron Technologies' chief technology officer. "This joint venture leverages the strengths of each company and provides all of the elements needed for a successful venture."
Dr. Richard Schreiner, Riley Hospital's chief medical officer, said, "As a statewide leader in health care, Riley Hospital for Children, along with the Indiana University School of Medicine and Clarian Health Partners, is committed to enhancing the facilities, services, and health care for the citizens of central Indiana. We look forward to continued growth through partnership opportunities that the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative offers Riley Hospital for Children and Indiana."
Theron Technologies has developed a working prototype of the system and plans to demonstrate its performance in clinical trials. The company views the invention as a platform technology from which it plans to develop multiple products for several distinct markets.
Barnard Life Sciences focuses on early-stage biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, as well as companies that provide goods and services to this industry group. The company provides expertise in product commercialization, marketing, strategic business partnership development and finance, and brings value to clients by integrating corporate, research and development, and commercialization strategies.
Theron Inc. is a Carmel-based medical device commercialization company focused on acquiring technologies that have been developed at leading universities, assessing their technical viability, understanding the market for the idea, and developing a plan for maturing the technology. Theron's team consists of managers and engineers with expertise in designing, testing and manufacturing medical devices.
Geddes is the founder and former director of Purdue's Hillenbrand Biomedical Engineering Center. With 20 books, more than 800 scientific papers, and 25 patents under his belt, Geddes is an internationally recognized pioneer in biomedical engineering.
Writer: Jeanine S. Phipps, Public Relations Director, Purdue Research Park, (765) 496-3133; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Joseph Hornett, (765) 496-8645, email@example.com
Theodore "Ted" Bailey, M.D., (317) 684-9992, firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie Geddes, (765) 494-2995 (office), (765) 743-1941 (home), email@example.com
Les Henderson, (317) 574-2445, ext. 4002, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Cebalo, media contact, Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative, (317) 635-9175, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Web sites:
Leslie Geddes, Purdue's Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Bioengineering, chats with Richard and Maureen Stewart, parents of infant Eli, a patient at Riley Hospital for Children today (1/8) shortly after a news conference there announced a partnership agreement between Purdue Research Foundation and Theron Technologies LLC. The agreement grants Theron exclusive commercial rights to a non-invasive cuff device developed by Geddes at Purdue. The instrument uses optical techniques to measure systolic, mean and diastolic blood pressure; heart and respiratory rate; and oxygen saturation in prematurely born and other low birthweight babies. (Purdue News Service Photo/Dave Umberger)
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/geddes.riley.jpeg.
Leslie Geddes, Purdue's Showalter Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Bioengineering, and doctoral candidate Rebecca Roeder, test a device they invented that uses optical techniques to measure the vital signs of premature infants. (Photo/Vincent Walter).
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/geddes.monitor.jpeg.
A researcher demonstrates the monitor for premature babies. The monitor device can be placed around the arm of a premature infant to measure vital signs in a non-invasive way. (Photo/Vincent Walter)
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/geddes.finger.jpeg.