Medical-tech accelerator doubles startup members

SHARE Medical-tech accelerator doubles startup members

Matter, the biopharma and medical-tech business accelerator, has picked 10 more startup companies to move into its Merchandise Mart space in early 2015. The new member companies, to be announced Tuesday, will double the number of startups announced Oct. 28.

The 25,000-square-foot accelerator has room for more member companies, Melissa Lederer said. Because most of the startups average from one to five people, Matter is continuing to review applications and accept new members, she said.

Among the 10 new members, two aim to save money for families and health care providers.

Quant HC, founded by Skokie native Dr. Dana Edelson, has created an algorithm that sifts through a hospital patients’ vital signs, lab results and other data to alert medical staff when the patient’s condition is subtly deteriorating. Such slow deterioration can often be missed and can lead to a patient’s heart stopping unexpectedly, said Edelson, who is the medical director of rescue care and resiliency at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The startup’s system will be used at the University of Chicago, she said. Besides helping save patients’ lives, the goal is to lessen hospitals’ expenses by keeping more patients out of intensive care.

Quant HC intends to install its system at 7 percent of the country’s 6,300 hospitals within five years. The company could have revenue of $20 million a year and employ between 20 and 50 people to do IT work and to work with doctors and nurses on using the system, said Joe Luminiello, Quant HC’s chief commercial officer.

A second company, Janus Choice, has developed an algorithm that matches people who are leaving a hospital for rehabilitation or other care with the best rehab and extended-care centers for their needs.

Darryl Palmer, chief technology officer of Janus Choice, co-founded the company. | Richard Chapman/Sun-Times

Darryl Palmer, chief technology officer of Janus Choice, co-founded the company. | Richard Chapman/Sun-Times

Today, patients or their families have to figure out which centers accept the patient’s insurance and provide the necessary care and social setting, said Darryl Palmer, the company’s chief technology officer who co-founded Janus Choice with Alexandra “Sasha” Goodwin. The startup’s executives also include Mitch Kirby, Jonathan Park, Steven Pasalich and videographer Dan Hatton.

Janus Choice intends to sell tablet computers loaded with specialty software for $3,500 apiece to hospitals, so counselors can show patients their choices before they leave the hospital or let family members see the list via a free web portal, Palmer said. The patients also can watch videos of each rehab center or follow-up care center.

The system also helps patients figure out how much of their Medicare or Medicaid money is being used so they don’t run out before their rehab does.

Janus Choice’s system will be tested by three hospital networks in the Chicago area by spring, with the goal of 20,000 patients locally having used the system by June, Palmer said. By the end of 2015, the company expects to be used in 15 hospitals in the Chicago area and have a staff of eight people, including software engineers, account managers and customer service representatives, he said.

The other startups:

  • Cypris Medical: Aiming to replace an almost 100-year-old needle holder that delivers sutures during cosmetic surgery. The company touts its needle holder as more accurate, less invasive and easier to use than the old version.
  • Diagnostic Photonics: Bringing to market a handheld, high-resolution imaging system for cancer surgery.
  • Fibroblast: Developing an automated platform for physician referrals.
  • Foundry Health: Creating a clinical trial management system.
  • Gradient: Developing a catheter-based technology to treat pulmonary hypertension, a fatal condition affecting 500,000 patients a year worldwide.
  • REAL Dietitian: Connects patients to phone and video appointments by providing access to a nationwide network of specialized dietitians.
  • Shamrock Structure: Providing drug discovery services with the goal of quickly identifying new drugs.
  • Sugarsnap: Setting up a video education platform for medical specialty societies and academic medical centers to update clinicians on current standards of care.
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