Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Funds for Universities & Companies

The Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky Steve Beshear recently announced six new awards for $556,137 to go to state universities. Researchers at the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Kentucky State University received the funding to focus on priority projects. The awards were made under the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation’s Kentucky Commercialization Fund. The goal for the researchers is to eventually help commercialize promising emerging technologies.

One of the awards went to help develop a wireless device to alert parents and care providers. The device operates by monitoring sudden increases in body temperatures that go beyond a predetermined threshold in children due to infections, seizures, or a particular therapy. Another research project will work on a urine-based diagnostic test to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea in individuals and will be used as either a clinical diagnostic test or as a home test kit for rapid screening.

Two high tech companies were also awarded a combined $275,000 in funding from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Cabinet for Economic Development’ High-Tech Investment Pool. The pool is used to build technology-based and research intensive companies and products. The companies Xhale, Inc., and Connected Patients LLC received up to $175,000 and $100,000 respectively to expand their companies.

Xhale is developing technologies that can analyze a person’s breath and other types of vapors for use in pharmaceutical, health monitoring, and be used for diagnostic applications. The products include breath-based therapeutic drug monitoring and devices to replace current blood and urine tests. This technology has additional applications in the medical home, law enforcement, and in industrial diagnostic markets.

The company has produced the HyGreen wireless sensor system for hospitals to use to monitor staffers to see if they are washing their hands properly. In addition to their hygiene monitoring system, the company is developing and commercializing other breath-based technologies such as Self-Monitoring and Reporting Therapeutics or what they are referring to as SMART drugs. This is a technology that produces breath-detectable versions of therapeutic drugs to enhance both safety and efficacy in clinical trials as well as in therapeutics.

Other technologies under development include a breath-based monitoring system for propofol (the most commonly used IV-based anesthetic agent) as well as a new breath-ethanol monitoring technology.

Connected Patients is further developing user friendly bed mounted computer terminals for use in hospitals. The ConnectME touch screen enables patients to access the internet, use email, and find information on their medical condition. Plus entertainment content is available along with a built in camera to permit online video communications.

The technology also enables hospitals to capture electronic data such as patient satisfaction surveys, patient meal orders, and the staff can use the terminals to access EMRs, to place medication orders, and to order treatments.