BALTIMORE, April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and Breethe, Inc. announced today that Breethe, an early-stage, Baltimore-based medical device company, has obtained exclusive rights to University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) intellectual property (IP) for the development of a wearable, portable blood pump oxygenator that will function as an artificial lung system for patients suffering from respiratory failure and cardiopulmonary collapse. Faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) developed the core licensed technology, with Breethe also obtaining important supporting technology co-owned by UMB and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) as part of the license agreement. The Breethe team plans to leverage the technology to bring the first wearable 'out-of-hospital' artificial lung system to market. UMB has made a $100,000 investment in Breethe through UM Ventures.
"The portable artificial lung system developed at UM SOM has the potential to revolutionize treatment for patients with severe pulmonary disease," said Phil Robilotto, D.O., M.B.A., Chief Commercialization Officer, UM Ventures, Baltimore. "Breethe has quickly assembled a superior management team and UM Ventures is excited to see the company advance this extremely promising technology to the medical market place."
Bartley P. Griffith, M.D., Executive Director of the University of Maryland Medical Center/UM SOM Program in Lung Healing and the Thomas E. and Alice Marie Hales Distinguished Professor in Transplant Surgery at UM SOM with 30 years of experience in respiratory and heart support devices, developed the core technology and is the company's founder.
According to the American Lung Association, lung disease is the number three killer (behind heart disease and cancer) in the United States, and is responsible for one in six deaths. Nearly 400,000 Americans die from lung disease each year. Breethe's technologies will address unmet need for patients living with lung disease.
"There is growing demand for a new technology to take over the function of the human lung while allowing patients mobility," said Dr. Griffith. "Our respiratory assist and cardiopulmonary support technology has the potential to dramatically improve patient care and quality of life by enabling otherwise hospital-bound patients to leave the hospital and resume more of their daily activities."
"Through UM Ventures, UMB can make investments in particularly promising startups driven by university-created technologies," said Jim Hughes, Director of UM Ventures and Vice President, UMB. "Providing funding resources to Breethe helps the company move forward in its commercialization process, and supplements other economic support available through the state. This investment should be a win-win all around: for the company, for UMB and for fueling health-tech development within the State of Maryland."
About UM Ventures
UM Ventures is an initiative to channel the tremendous technical resources and research expertise of the University of Maryland, engaging partners in industry and social ventures to expand real world impact. By encouraging students and faculty, providing expert advice and business services, more discoveries will reach the market. By engaging directly with external partners UM Ventures brings new investment, expanded markets and more start-up ventures. Visit http://umventures.org/ to learn more.
About Breethe, Inc.
Breethe, Inc. is a product development-stage company spun out of the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2014 to develop and commercialize the world's first wearable artificial lung. Dr. Bart Griffith, M.D., Executive Director of the Program in Lung Healing at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM)/University of Maryland Medical Center, and the UM SOM Thomas E. and Alice Marie Hales Distinguished Professor in Transplant Surgery with 30 years of experience in respiratory and heart support devices, developed the core technology and is the company's founder. He has worked on the specific problem of lung failure for 20 years, utilizing substantial funding from the National Institutes of Health. Breethe closed on its first-round seed funding in January 2015. In addition to Dr. Griffith, the Breethe, Inc. Board of Directors includes a proven medical device CEO and a former senior partner of a major law firm who spent his career helping grow entrepreneurial high-tech companies.
SOURCE University of Maryland (UM) Ventures