Artificial heart maker gets $7.5 million grant

SynCardia Systems, 1992 E. Silverlake Road, manufacturer of the world’s only FDA-approved total artificial heart, has received a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The grant was awarded to three of its researchers to optimize the design of cardiovascular devices.

The principal investigator on the project is Danny Bluestein, professor of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University in New York. His collaborators are Shmuel Einav, also of Stony Brook College, and Dr. Marvin Slepian, professor of cardiology and biomedical engineering medicine at the University of Arizona,

Local company gains biomedical funding

Medical technology company Glenveigh Medical in Chattanooga is getting nearly half a million dollars in federal grants to pay for research that officials expect will boost America‘s role in biomedical research.

The federal “therapeutic discovery” grants and tax credits, awarded under national health care reform legislation and announced this month, provide more than $6.7 million to Tennessee recipients whose projects show “significant potential to produce new and cost-saving therapies, support good jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The only Chattanooga-based company awarded the grant this year was Glenveigh, which specializes in maternal-fetal medicine products. The company moved from Research Triangle Park in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., to Chattanooga in 2007.

About $81,000 in grants will help Glenveigh create a device for measuring cervical dilation during labor, and an additional $156,000 will help the company develop treatment for pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition for pregnant women.

The company also received $244,479 for a device that can slow blood loss in women hemorrhaging after giving birth, said the company’s founders.

The “Ebb” device, developed by Salt Lake City-based maternal-fetal medicine specialists and licensed by Glenveigh, can reduce post-partum blood loss and prevent a hysterectomy or even death, said Richard Proctor, president and CEO of Glenveigh.

“This device is going to save lives,” he said.

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Federal Grants Advance Local Biomedical Research

Many biotech companies and research projects depend on outside money to survive.”It’s a lifesaver for a company my size,” said Jon Nagy, president of Ateris Technologies in Bozeman.Ateris is making diagnostic kits that he hopes will detect when a human is exposed to organophosphate insecticides and other similar structures.”Unfortunately the only way we can really tell when a person has been exposed to these things, like an agricultural worker, is when they start showing clinical symptoms,” said Nagy.This research is big news for a heavy agricultural state like Montana and those workers exposed to these chemicals.Nagy says this will allow worker to sample their saliva on an ongoing basis to see how close they are to a clinical level of exposure.For a small biotech company, research like this can be costly. The federally funded Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project gave Nagy’s company a tax credit of $244,000 dollars in 2009.

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