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April 1, 2020
Daily News, Health Technology Management, HTM Professionals, Individual Contributor, Manager or Director, Medical Device Manufacturers, Medical Device Manufacturing
Thirty startup companies pitched their innovative ideas for pediatric medical devices during the annual “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” competition on March 23. The event was organized by MedTech Innovator, a nonprofit accelerator, in partnership with the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Medical Devices (NCC-PDI).
The pitch event was originally scheduled to take place in College Park, MD, but was conducted virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
“There is a pressing need for more medical devices created especially for children, so we are proceeding with the semifinal pitch event in a virtual format to safely accommodate innovators and judges and maintain the schedule,” said Kolaleh Eskandanian, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National Hospital and principal investigator of NCC-PDI, in a press release. “Given the high quality of submissions received, we want our finalists to have the benefit of the pediatric accelerator as well as adequate time to prepare for the finals. We are grateful to everyone involved for being flexible so that this important work can continue.”
Up to 10 finalists will be chosen from a pool of semifinalists from this and other regional pitch events to compete for $250,000 in grant awards at the 8th Annual Pediatric Device Innovation Symposium on Oct. 4 during the MedTech Conference in Toronto, Canada. The symposium will be hosted by Children’s National Health System.
Semifinalist Stacie Ruth, cofounder and CEO of AireHealth in Orlando, FL, pitched the company’s portable nebulizer and connected app for “the nearly 29 million kids in the United States that need to use nebulizers to care for their respiratory condition.” She explained how the companion app connected to the nebulizer allows an additional level of control and information to help children and their parents manage pediatric asthma.
Another semifinalist, Katherine Hu, cofounder CEO of Pediafeed in Baltimore, MD, said her company hopes to “revolutionize the pediatric feeding space with a novel gastrostomy tube designed specifically for neonates and infants that mitigates tube displacement for the 1.4 million children born in the U.S. each year that need assisted feeding.”
“The pediatric medical device space is incredibly challenging,” said Paul Grand, founder and chief executive officer of MedTech Innovator, during an introduction to the virtual semifinalist pitch event. “The money and support for developing pediatric medical devices isn’t always there, the market is smaller, and so is the patient population. These pitch events give startups an opportunity to showcase their ideas and get the funding and exposure they need to deliver their products to the pediatric patients who need them.”
With 42 devices from pitch alumni currently on the market, it looks like the events are having the desired effect.
NCC-PDI is led by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Hospital and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, and is partnered with MedTech Innovator, BioHealth Innovation, and Archimdedic.