EAST LANSING—Quantum Medical Concepts, an early-stage investment fund in health care companies established by the Michigan State Medical Society and the Lansing business advisory firm Common Wealth Enterprises, announced new partnerships with three Michigan-based healthcare startup companies, with each receiving funding to help bring their groundbreaking healthcare innovations to market.
“It’s always exciting to find young, promising companies on the verge of bringing a game-changing medical innovation to market, and that’s exactly what we’ve found Alerje, Airway Innovations, and the Patient Company,” said Benjamin Louagie, managing director of Quantum. “QMC is thrilled to partner with these three companies and assist in their efforts to deliver products and technologies that will undoubtedly benefit Michigan patients and providers.”
Detroit-based Alerje is developing technology to help manage a growing global epidemic—food allergies. Today, more than 220 million people worldwide suffer from food allergies with food allergy insurance claims rising at an alarming rate in recent years. Alerje has developed a comprehensive food allergy management platform to help improve the quality of life for those suffering from severe food allergies. The app include resources for healthy living, offers allergen-safe recipes and provides a food label scanner. Additionally, the startup is working on a smartphone case that carries a slim epinephrine auto-injector, and when used in conjunction with the app, alerts will be sent to 911 operators, parents, spouses and other care-givers if the injector is removed from its case.
“Despite how pervasive food allergies have become, an alarming number of families aren’t prepared to address a life-threatening reaction,” said Javier Evelyn, Alerje COO. “Fewer than 40 percent of patients leave the house with an epinephrine injector, and roughly half that do have one are carrying around expired medicine. However, almost no one leaves home without their cell phone—a fact that very well could save lives when coupled with our product.”
Grand Rapids-based Airway Innovations is developing advanced airway management solutions, including TubeTrac, the oral tracheal tube holder designed to prevent unplanned removal of breathing tubes. The revolutionary endotracheal tube support system was launched to a limited number of pre-selected clinical sites in September 2020. Funding from QMC will help Airway Innovations scale their production capabilities to meet the demands of a full commercial launch.
“Unplanned extubations has always been a problem for clinicians but the consequences have become more acute as ventilator usage has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Eric VanMiddendorp, COO of Airway Innovations. “It requires significantly more force to remove a breathing tube connected with TubeTrac, which greatly mitigates the risk of injury and further complications to patients connected to breathing tubes.”
Mitigating the risk of injury to providers is the SimPull, a fully automated lateral patient transfer device developed by The Patient Company, also based in Grand Rapids. Transferring patients is the number two cause of healthcare employee injuries in the United States, resulting in over 12,000 injuries a year to healthcare providers. Done safely, the process of transferring a patient from one horizontal surface to another takes roughly 22 minutes and typically requires four to eight staff members. Alternatively, the SimPull device can be operated by one clinician and takes less than a minute to safely perform a lateral transfer.
“SimPull not only protects clinicians from injury but also removes a huge workflow efficiency bottleneck for facilities using our technology,” said Andrew Heuerman, COO of The Patient Company. “It’s a product that makes sense everywhere but one we feel will be particularly beneficial to smaller and understaffed hospitals and facilities.”
Launched in 2014 with initial funding from the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS), Quantum Medical Concepts works to fill a critical gap in the development of medical advancements in Michigan. The fund focuses on identifying medical companies with promising ideas that are not yet ready for market, and then providing the seed funding and management support necessary to successfully navigate through the initial stages of product development.
In addition to funding and support Quantum provides startups with access to MSMS’s network of more than 15,000 member physicians, who provide insight through the early development phases of new medical devices and technology.