Accuo

Contact: Karun Kannan <kkannan1@jhu.edu>

Accuo's mission is to develop an intuitive, accurate, and affordable method to reduce uncertainty and risk associated with lumbar punctures by bringing ultrasound to the fingertips of physicians with our novel needle integrated probe. Our probe delivers ease of use and depth independent imaging while maintaining high resolution. With the use of our device, we hope that physicians can mitigate many unnecessary complications and consequent procedures associated with lumbar punctures, and deep needle placements in general.

Sustained delivery multidrug formulation for postoperative management of ocular surgery

contact: Maziar Mohammadi <maziar@jhu.edu> 

Background: After every ocular surgery, patients are required to use antibiotics to avoid infection for a week and steroids to avoid inflammation for a month. One of the side effects of steroids is elevated ocular pressure and is managed by using an ocular pressure reducing agent. The majority of ophthalmic drugs are marketed as topical formulations, which have several limitations including irritations and allergic reactions, patient noncompliance and poor treatment outcomes. 

Technology: Our proprietary technology is a multidrug formulation engineered to be in liquid form at room temperature for ease of delivery and gels into a sustained delivery formulation upon injection in the vitreous cavity. The formulation is biodegradable and slowly releases the drug molecules required for the postoperative treatment. An advantage of the technology is the ability to finely tune the drug release dosage and duration to meet the clinical requirements. 

Potential for commercialization: The cost of using eye drops in the postoperative treatment period for the ocular surgery is $200. The technology could be applied for the post operative treatment following any ocular surgery, but if we only consider the case of cataract surgery, given close to 4 million cataract surgeries are performed annually in the US, the annual total market size for this technology is approximately $800M. 

I have experience of drug formulation development for small and large pharmaceutical companies. Please feel free to reach out to me if you want to join my team!

Emergency alert wearable

Contact: Neha Thomas <neha.thomas@jhmi.edu>

A small device that can be hidden discreetly inside jewelry or watches that pairs with smart phone to send emergency texts to predetermined contacts when activated by user.

AuryzoN

Contact: Angelo Leto Barone <aletobarone@jhmi.edu>

AuryzoN is a medical device to allow ear and nose reconstruction in patients who are either born with microtia (a condition in which one ear is missing) or who have undergone trauma to the ear or the nose. In essence, one the cartilage is harvested from ribs, we can reproduce the ear or nose cartilages efficiently by using our device instead of having to carve the cartilage manually. 

Checkup

Contact: George Pottanat <gpottan1@jhu.edu>

One of the most important challenges to solve in the healthcare industry is patient medical adherence/ compliance. Medical adherence/ compliance is the ability of the patient to follow the doctor’s instructions and follow through with their treatment plan. According to the Drug Trend Report of 2016 by Express Scripts, the estimated direct and indirect costs of nonadherence totaled $337 billion in 2013. The costs of this include approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10% of hospitalizations. 

While this is a large scale problem and includes a plethora of diseases, the goal of my future startup will be to primarily assist those who are suffering from diabetes (subject to change based on demographic which needs more help). According to the CDC, almost 10% of Americans have diabetes and 1 in 4 don’t even know they have it. During the year 2012, the CDC stated that 1.7 million people ages 20 or older were diagnosed with diabetes.   
While there are many technology solutions which passively address the problem with mobile applications and special programs to help the patient stay on track, there are very few solutions which involve a hybrid approach to patient care. When we look at data with successful clinical trials, the drug and the strict monitoring throughout the trial were key to patient care. Many software solutions don’t give the user a human resource to aid in their compliance. My goal is to bring "OnStar" for medical adherence with a modern interface like fitbit or any fitness tracker.

This niche goal of creating a more modern platform/support system for patients suffering form chronic diseases; our first target will be diabetes.

If there is a group member interested in a more niche chronic disease group, please feel free to message me at gpottan1@jhu.edu .

GABA-PAMs for the treatment of visceral pain 

Contact: Michael Wormald <mwormal1@jhmi.edu>

The GABA-A receptor is a well known target in pharmacology.  There are a large number of GABA-A receptors present in the enteric nervous system; however, their function is less understood compared to their CNS counterparts. We believe that GABA-A receptors have a role to play in alleviating symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and irritable bowel disease (IBD). Both of these disorders are associated with significant visceral pain. As a result many patients take pain medication. However, NSAIDs are not recommended due to negative effects on the GI tract and 5-13% of IBD patients use opiates chronically which can lead to dependency and addiction. Our hypothesis is that the visceral pain associated with IBS and IBD is due in part to a hyper-excitable enteric nervous system. Treatment with a peripherally restricted GABA positive allosteric modulator will lead to reduced pain without the central nervous system depressive effects of drugs such as benzodiazepines. 

To this end we have developed and patented a small molecule LI-633 that 1) potently interacts with the GABA receptor, 2) is specific to its target, 3) has good drug-like properties, 4) good pharmacokinetics and bioavailability, and 5) importantly has low brain penetration. Furthermore, this compound has repeatedly shown efficacy in an IBS pain model.

If you are interested in helping move this potential pharmaceutical through the next stages of commercialization, please consider joining my team.

Nanoparticle probe for MVECs (team is full)

Contact: Paul Lee <pclee001@gmail.com>

Background : Non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and chronic kidney disease, are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Without a definite cure and due to the multi-causal nature of these diseases, modern medicine is limited to early prevention and the consequent treatment of symptoms. However, rare cases of remission without relapse can occur in response to exercise, diet, and mechanical stimulation-based therapies. This suggests that chronic pathophysiology occurs when inflammation persists in response to an unaddressed insult, and elucidation of these pre-symptomatic inflammatory sites may lead to novel diagnostic methods and therapies. Currently, there is a lack of technology to effectively locate these sites. 

Description of Idea: To address current limitations in vascular targeting nanoparticles, I am designing a nanoparticle probe that primarily targets microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) based on the surrounding flow properties and the accessibility to cell surface biomarkers hidden by the endothelial glycocalyx layer. The probe serves as a diagnostic tool to locate and investigate the earliest signs of chronic low-grade inflammation. If an imbalance due to cellular injury or other insults persists in the same region, it can be suggested to compromise other systems or regions in a gradual successive manner, becoming a precursor to chronic pathophysiology. Associating changes in regional microcirculatory status to perturbations in the microbiome, connective tissue, and organ systems, prior to the development of symptoms in chronic pathophysiologies, may elucidate the gradual successive mechanisms behind pathophysiology, or vice versa, the improvement of various chronic diseases. If the general location of low basal chronic inflammation or high risk regions is identified early, it allows time for site-specific therapeutic interventions when conditions are more easily reversible. We speculate that imaging distributive patterns of microvascular inflammation can be used in the presymptomatic detection of a variety of chronic diseases. In addition to microcirculatory diagnostics, the design may have broad applications in the fields of theranostic nanomedicine, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering.

Portable device for prevention of barotrauma and volutrauma (team is full)

Contact: Bryan Marascalchi <bmarasc1@jhmi.edu>

Bag valve masks (BVM) are used to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients. If the bag is squeezed too lightly, the patient’s lungs don’t fully expand and will notreceive adequate oxygenation. Alternately, if the bag is squeezed too hard, the lungs are over-stretched (called volutrauma from too much volume and/or barotrauma from too much pressure). Volutrauma and/or barotrauma can lead to adult respiratorydistress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS: a condition that requires prolonged mechanical ventilator support in the ICU and is associated with poor survival (e.g., 50%), and significantlyincreased care costs of up to $30,000 per day for weeks. Lung volutrauma from large volumes of air into the lungs can “pop” or collapse the lung (called a pneumothorax), withpublished reports of BVM causing pneumothoraxes. In fact, one study presented a case where a large volume of air in the lungs caused a fatal amount of air to enter the pulmonary arteries and heart.

Therefore, it would be advantageous to provide a device for the prevention of barotrauma and volutrauma.

My device is a portable electronic device consisting my of a touchscreen, flow meters, battery, etc. I've created a working prototype that is near a minimally viable product.

I have extensive experience with medical device prototyping and the surrounding commercialization. 

Increasing Sialylation in Recombinant Proteins (TEAM Is full)

Contact: Christopher Saeui <chris.saeui@gmail.com>

Many of the top selling drugs on the market are recombinant proteins that include biologics such as antibodies. Biologics are expected to comprise a market value of over $400 billion by 2025. What is often overlooked is the fact that many biologics are actually glycosylated, and the type of sugars that are incorporated onto biologics can have profound impacts on the PK/PD, efficacy, and immunogenic properties of these therapies. For example, EPO, which is one of Amgen's top selling drugs, has a half life that's nearly doubled if one can increase sialylation on EPO. Antibodies that are currently being used or investigated for immunotherapy against cancer are glycosylated - by increasing sialylation it might be possible to regulate immunogenic effects or even radically alter efficacy of these types of mAB therapies. An important feature about glycosylation though is that it is extremely difficult to control since there is no known sugar code that one can manipulate like there exists for DNA and proteins. The Yarema lab has molecularly engineered a special sugar molecule known as N-AcetylMannosamine (ManNAc) which is the precursor for sialic acid. By using our specially designed ManNAc molecules, it may be possible to increase sialylation of recombinant glycoproteins or to install unnatural chemical handles (such as azido groups) into therapeutic proteins of interest. In one case study we have performed, not only were we able to increase sialylation of EPO by about 40-50%, we were able to increase the total overall production of EPO. Finally, glycoengineering chemical handles like azido groups into antibodies also provides a flexible platform by which a manufacturer can generate antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) of virtually anything they choose by using a series of well known reactions called ‘click chemistry’.