MSU Startup TheraB Launches With Seed Funding

EAST LANSING — A new medical device that will improve the way families treat infant jaundice is one step closer to market, thanks to a partnership between a new Michigan State University startup company and a Michigan-based medical sector investment firm.

The startup, TheraB Medical Products Inc., was developed by MSU students with the help of $150,000 in pre-seed stage funding from Quantum Medical Concepts.

East Lansing-based Quantum is a partnership of the Michigan State Medical Society and Common Wealth Enterprises, a Lansing socially oriented investment firm. Quantum provides early-stage funding to Michigan companies in the medical sector.

TheraB has developed the SnugLit Portable Phototherapy Blanket, a wearable swaddle that treats newborn jaundice. Jaundice is caused by a high level of pigment in the blood called bilirubin, which causes the skin to look yellow. A newborn baby’s still-developing liver may not yet be able to remove this bilirubin from the blood. TheraB’s swaddle provides the blue light needed to help the newborn break down the bilirubin molecules as the liver develops.

According to TheraB CEO Ryan Jankovic, “the unique SnugLit swaddle design promotes parent-infant bonding while decreasing the stress to mother and baby, and allows for easier breastfeeding. Traditional treatments may include separating mother and infant treating the child on a light board, or the use of bulky non-portable blankets. The SnugLit swaddle design is a more intimate and more cost-effective method of treating jaundice.”

Jankovic also serves as a Mentor In Residence at Spartan Innovations at the MSU Innovation Center, an MSU business launchpad that helps turn MSU innovations into more than 130 discoveries into patented products, commercial agreements, and startup businesses each year.

Added Charles Hasemann, MSU assistant vice president for innovation adn economic development, who leads the Innovation Center: “Startup companies developed at MSU help us solve complex challenges, create jobs and diversify our economy. Our partnerships with investors like Quantum play an important role in our work to help make Michigan State University’s great ideas become great realities. Quantum Medical Concepts is a valued partner in launching TheraB, and in helping to bring a new therapeutic device to market.”

And Spartan Innovations executive director David Washburn said: “TheraB’s product concept has an opportunity to disrupt current practices while providing a better experience for mother and child. The investment and partnership with Quantum is a great fit for making this a reality.”

In addition to investing between $50,000 and $150,000 in startup funding in new companies, Quantum provides its companies access to more than 15,000 medical professionals, which helps to quickly identify and support medical products and companies that have a high likelihood of success.

“We believe physicians are key to the success of health care delivery, and can play an equally important role in medical innovations,” said Benjamin Louagie, managing director of Quantum. “The medical establishment is becoming more open to entrepreneurship. Oftentimes, physicians are the ones coming up with new ideas for medical devices or therapeutics. Quantum is always looking for ways to support Michigan physicians and help them better care for their patients.”

TheraB won TheHatching pitch competition grand prize in 2014, took first place in the undergraduate division of the 2014 Greenlight Business Model Competition and placed fourth in the 2014 International Business Model Competition. The product has also been featured in numerous media reports. More at www.therabmedical.com

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