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Philly's Curbside Care aims to be the Uber of healthcare

Philadelphia’s Curbside Care has combined an old idea -- doctor house calls -- and a new one -- the Uber model -- to create technology that allows patients to schedule healthcare services when and where they want them.

Inspiration for Curbside Care came to co-founder Scott Ames when he was away from home and experienced a costly and time-consuming visit to an urgent care center. He and Grant Mitchell started the company based on the premise that "there are people out there who don't want to travel, who don't want to wait, and who appreciate transparent pricing," explains Mitchell. 

Located at the Digital Health Accelerator at the University City Science Center, Curbside Care is developing a tech platform and mobile app that allows patients to schedule house (or office or hotel) calls. Using HIPAA compliant, geolocation-based technology, medical practitioners confirm appointments and travel to deliver care, all in real time. 

"It is a bit ironic that advancement in technology is now allowing medicine to be practiced in a way that it was years ago," muses Mitchell. "But developments in technology and logistics allows for house calls to actually be cost effective. On-demand care will come in many forms in the near future, and Curbside Care's particular version addresses the need for a practitioner's physical presence. Interestingly, the home is often the best place to provide quality care as the patient can be treated in their most relevant context."

Curbside Care says its market is technology-enabled consumers, in particular working professionals, young parents and corporations seeking to add attractive employee benefits. On the provider side, the target is shift-based physicians and nurse practitioners who are seeking to supplement their income.

Curbside Care currently has a working, web-based product and is completing its mobile app. The company, which is actively fundraising, is also in discussions with several large hospital systems to utilize their practitioner bases for immediate scale. 

Source: Grant Mitchell, Curbside Care
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Tourism blooms in Southwest Pennsylvania thanks to support from The Progress Fund

As rural southwestern Pennsylvania lost manufacturing jobs in the 1990s, community leaders turned to tourism as a potential economic driver. But access to capital was a major roadblock for the region’s fledgling tourism sector, recalls David Kahley, CEO of The Progress Fund
   
"If we wanted to grow the industry, we needed to start our own bank to fund a new wave of rural-based tourism businesses," he recalls. "In 1997, Karen Post, the other co-founder, and I started The Progress Fund to make those loans. In essence, we took on the mission to grow this industry one business at a time."
   
Since then, The Progress Fund, based in Greensburg, has made 455 loans totaling $56.5 million to 276 small businesses including restaurants, outdoor outfitters, campgrounds, B&Bs, farms, wineries and distilleries. The Fund has also expanded its mission to support local food producers, trails and related real estate initiatives in order to maximize tourism opportunities. 
   
For example, when the Great Allegheny Passage was being built, bicycle tourists were finding and riding it, but visitation was restrained by the lack of high-quality services along the trail. In surveys, riders asked for more B&Bs and inns, restaurants, bike and retail shops.

"Without more of these businesses, the region was losing opportunity," explains Kahley. "So, 10 years ago, we made the trail towns along the Passage a priority. We continue to try to help any entrepreneur that wants to serve this still growing market. We also work to make the towns and trailheads more rider-friendly. We’ve improved directional and business signs, and have purchased and are redeveloping multiple properties that were eyesores at key locations."
   
"The tourism opportunities we saw years ago are still growing," he adds. "We will stay our course and grow so we have resources available for businesses that will take advantage of future opportunities. As for new focus areas, trail groups are working on a new regional network of 1,600 miles of recreational trails running through hundreds of small communities. Think of all those business opportunities and the real estate that needs to be redeveloped to support that growth. We are."
   
Source: David Kahley, The Progress Fund
Writer: Elise Vider
   

'Temple Ventures - Powered by Ben Franklin' is new tech accelerator for Philly-area startups

Temple University and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) have launched a new initiative to spur technological innovation and entrepreneurship in Greater Philadelphia.

Each partner has contributed $500,000 to Temple Ventures – Powered by Ben Franklin for investment in projects generated from Temple’s discoveries in advanced technologies. Ben Franklin will manage the fund, and provide mentoring and access to networks to assist those early-stage ventures.

"For an inventor in a university, it’s critical to find the right partnership to bring his or her ideas into successful businesses," said Temple Provost Hai-Lung Dai in a statement. "Ben Franklin is an effective venture partner that provides not only investment expertise, but mentorship and strategic advice that can enable technologies developed at Temple to benefit society at large."

Over the past five years, Temple has created 13 startup companies to assist in developing university-created technologies for the marketplace. The university is expecting to significantly increase that number with the help of Temple Ventures.

The collaboration features three main components: a joint Temple/Ben Franklin Seed Fund for prototype and startup funding; new business launch resources to support the formation of the new Temple-created technology ventures; and incubation services including workspace, professional resources, and management and commercialization guidance.

The $1 million commitment is for the initial pilot, the partners say, with intent to commit an additional $1 million annually for up to five years. Temple’s contribution to the initiative will be comprised of royalty revenues obtained from the previous licensing of Temple-created technologies.

Impetus for the initiative comes from a recent report by the region’s CEO Council for Growth that urged a collaborative approach to advocacy and funding of early-stage tech firms.

Source: Temple University and BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Lehigh Valley Angel Investors pay it forward

Three early-stage companies are counting their blessings after receiving investments from the Lehigh Valley Angel Investors network (LVAI) totaling $260,000. The network itself has grown to 33 member angel investors and is hoping to exceed 40 in 2015.

Todd Welch of Charter Partners, Stuart Schooley, founder and co-owner of Dutch Springs, and approximately a dozen other entrepreneurs founded LVAI in 2010 as a way to "pay it forward" by helping entrepreneurs raise the start-up capital they need to forge successful companies.
 
"All of us are entrepreneurs and we all built our companies from the ground up," says Schooley, president of LVAI. "Now, we are interested in supporting like-minded people. Somewhere along the way, someone helped us and we want to return the favor."
 
Carmell Therapeutics in Pittsburgh earned a $50,000 investment from LVAI. The company’s proprietary technology enables the manufacturing of biologically active plastics from blood plasma for treating injuries to bone and connective tissue. Carmell’s plastics use the body’s own growth and regenerative factors to naturally promote tissue healing. The company is currently focused on the sports medicine market, with products designed to accelerate healing and produce better clinical outcomes.
 
LVAI also invested $80,000 in Bethlehem’s Cerora, Inc., a healthcare information technology company. The company’s first device under development, Borealis, is a portable electroencephalogram (EEG) brain wave biosensor that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. There are currently no easy-to-use, portable and accurate neuro-diagnostics available to physicians, nurses, first responders and certified athletic trainers. Rapid diagnosis of brain injuries and disease can lead to early and more effective interventions, yielding cost savings, improved clinical outcomes and increased patient satisfaction for people with concussions or traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurologic and psychiatric conditions. Cerora is located in Ben Franklin TechVentures and LVAI’s investment complements a total of $200,000 in funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
 
Another funded company, Thubrikar Aortic Valve, Inc. in Norristown, is a start-up medical device enterprise developing a next-generation transcatheter aortic valve implantation TAVI system consisting of a newly designed aortic valve and associated catheter delivery system. Thubrikar is preparing for human trials this year; LVAI invested $130,000. 
 
Source: LVAI
Writer: Elise Vider   

Father/daughter company Upper Desk wins acclaim for innovative smart device mounts

A Hughesville father-and-daughter entrepreneurial team is racking up awards for their line of innovative mounts for smart devices.

Roderick Phillips, an electrician by trade and life-long inventor, and his daughter Stephanie Phillips Taggart launched Upper Desk in 2013. Their first product, a portable cabinet mount, won the first place gold award for new product innovation at the 2014 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, was a finalist at the 2014 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago, and won the new product development award from the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center.

"We have been told that it is very rare for a startup company to receive awards when competing with major, established companies," says Phillips Taggart.

The motivation for the company came from wife-and-mother Debra Phillips who urged her husband to keep inventing before she died six years ago. Phillips’ inspiration was the realization that kitchen cabinets would be a perfect mounting surface if he wanted to use his computer while standing up. The company says its solutions improve ergonomics, provide a safe, study place for devices, reduce the risk of spills, and optimize the use of technology.

The ingenious mount, adds Phillips Taggart, "frees up valuable countertop space while allowing access to the cabinet. It’s perfect for Skyping, researching online recipes or streaming movies in the kitchen." Its quick clamp mechanism allows it to be easily installed or removed without tools and without marring surfaces. Besides home use, the company sees potential applications in medical, dental and industrial settings.

Based on the success of the portable cabinet mount, Upper Desk recently launched a second product, a portable table mount that secures a smart device to a desk, workbench, kitchen island or table.

Both products are made in China, says Phillips Taggart.

"We tried to manufacture in the U.S.," she explains. "However, based on U.S. manufacturing costs, it would have been impossible for a startup to remain competitive in the marketplace."

Upper Desk continues to promote itself at large trade shows; this week the team will appear in Las Vegas. And the company has several new ideas in development. 

Upper Desk products are available online through the company's own website, Amazon and other e-retailers and at select Walmart locations in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, South Carolina, Michigan and Illinois.  

Source: Stephanie Phillips Taggart, Upper Desk
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Go Green IT -- and their wunderkind CEO -- builds mobile platform for human services sector

Only in his early 20s, Nick Mudgett is already a serial entrepreneur. Now the Shippensburg University student is running Littlestown's Go Green IT, developer of a mobile-based platform for human services that boosts efficiency and eliminates paper.

"My father owns a human service company and came to me, knowing my programming experience, and expressed the need for a platform like the one I developed," recalls Mudgett.

Mudgett worked with the Small Business Development Center at Shippensburg to establish the company in July 2013. Go Green IT quickly got traction from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern Pennsylvania, winning first-place for its business plan at BFTP’s TechCelerator Boot Camp in Carlisle, and, four months later, winning a $25,000 cash prize and other spoils as winner of Ben Franklin's BIG IDEA contest

Go Green IT’s platform is intended to replace paper-based systems, which are notoriously cumbersome and often lead to billing errors, lost documentation and a high level of employee frustration.

"Our product specifically accommodates human services agencies by providing an HIPPA compliant electronic filing system and data analyzing system that automatically interfaces with state billing systems and payroll companies," explains Mudgett.

A first beta test with Focus Behavioral Health reduced over 80 percent of payroll and billing errors and cut administrative costs by eight percent. A new version of the platform, dubbed "Reliable 0.5," will be tested starting this month with two users who Mudgett expects to purchase the platform. His goal is to have 15 to 20 customers by year’s end.

Looking further ahead, he plans "to continue growing the current platform throughout the state and generate revenue. I hope to expand the platform to other fields within three years."

Source: Nick Mudgett, Go Green IT, Shippensburg University SBDC, BFTP-CNP
Writer: Elise Vider

Horsham's Clinical Ink selected for Ebola studies

A Horsham company that provides technology for clinical drug trials has been selected for multiple Ebola studies in West Africa.

Clinical Ink’s "SureSource" platform allows for real-time analysis and remote review, especially important with Ebola research since it limits the number of healthcare workers that come in contact with the virus while speeding up the analysis process.

"Conducting clinical research in this part of the world is always challenging, given the remote location of the research sites and the generally poor quality of Internet connectivity," says Clinical Ink President Doug Pierce. "The Ebola epidemic heightens these difficulties dramatically. Clinical Ink was chosen because our SureSource platform allows sites to capture the data electronically rather than on paper, and seamlessly transmit that data to the pharmaceutical company for analysis -- in real time.

"A process that typically takes weeks takes minutes using SureSource,"  he continues. "Furthermore, those needing to see the information captured by the research sites can do so remotely, wherever and whenever the need arises. With this many lives at stake, saving time has never been as important."

The clinical trials are scheduled to start in several months, Pierce reports. For now, the company is preparing the electronic forms and helping assess Internet connectivity and related IT infrastructure at the sites. Once the sites have been selected, Clinical Ink will train the users and deploy tablets to the research sites.

Clinical Ink launched in 2007 when the only way to capture data in the clinical research market was paper-based, slow and expensive. SureSource, the industry's first purpose-built platform to capture data at the point of care, has been used in close to 60 trials since 2012 for clients ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to small biotech companies to large consumer product companies.

2014 saw Clinical Ink more than double in size, both in terms of revenue and employees, and further growth is projected for this year. Besides its offices in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Philadelphia, Clinical Ink plans to open offices in Boston and at a to-be-determined European location. As for the platform, it continues to evolve and the company plans to introduce what Pierce calls "a whole host of new functionality" early this year.  

Source: Doug Pierce, Clinical Ink
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Ignite Erie seeking small business grant applicants for up to $3.9 in funds

The Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority (ECGRA) has pledged up to $3.9 million through 2017 to spark small business growth. The organization is now accepting applications for two grant programs as part of its Ignite Erie initiative.

Ignite Erie aims to spur inner-city small business development, build industry-university collaborations for business acceleration, and offer a broader spectrum of financing products for starting, growing and reinventing small businesses. 

Under its Inner-city Small Business Development program, ECGRA is committing $150,000 over three years to seed one organization with the mission, capacity and knowledge to tap into the unrealized potential of inner-city markets and entrepreneurs. 

"Small business development in impoverished census tracts is at the heart of improving commercial corridors and revitalizing neighborhoods," said ECGRA Executive Director Perry Wood in a statement. "If we can find one key organization to mastermind and drive a business-focused revitalization strategy, we may change the trajectory of Erie’s inner city and its residents."

ECGRA is soliciting grant applications from eligible organizations that can develop a cohesive strategy to revitalize the inner city one neighborhood at a time. Applicants will need to demonstrate their ability to work collaboratively with banks, developers and small-business owners to ignite commercial activities in Erie. 

ECGRA is also investing up to $750,000 over three years to create an industry-university ecosystem to support local entrepreneurs.

"Across the country, universities are collaborating with each other, startup entrepreneurs, small businesses, manufacturing, labor, healthcare and local government to create an atmosphere conducive to innovation," said Wood. "While Erie can’t boast federal labs, major research institutions or tech clusters, we are strong in applied sciences and manufacturing. Erie’s entrepreneurial spirit will be ignited when our university community comes together and leads an effort to bring the applied sciences to local industry, basement tinkerers and ambitious students." 

For this Industry + University Business Acceleration Collaboration program, applicants must have clearly established ties to local industry and collaborative university partnerships that complement their organization’s research and development strengths in service to the entrepreneur. 

Both grant programs require a 1:1 cash match. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, January 22. 

A third Ignite Erie program, launching later this year, will inject up to $3 million in mission-related investments in Erie County small businesses.

Source: Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Game On: Three PA schools collaborating on interactive media consortium

Harrisburg University of Science & Technology, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and Drexel University in Philadelphia are establishing the PA Interactive Media Consortium, with the goal of growing the high-tech sector of digital entertainment and video gaming. 

The consortium is funded by a $750,000 Discovered in PA – Developed in PA state grant to Harrisburg University.

All three schools are known for their interactive media and gaming programs. Harrisburg has its Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies (CAELT), Drexel its Entrepreneurial Game Studio, and Carnegie Mellon its Integrative Design, Arts & Technology Network.  

The consortium will unite various stakeholders around a strategic marketing and recruitment campaign promoting Pennsylvania to interactive media companies and potential entrepreneurs. It will also enable the universities to expand education, applied research and entrepreneurship programs. Each school will employ unique strategies including awarding of micro-grants to startups, employing a gamer in residence and improving startup mentoring.

According to Charles Palmer, Harrisburg’s CAELT director, the consortium’s mission "is to build a community of higher education partners and interactive development firms which will focus on the cultural, scientific and economic importance of digital media across the Commonwealth. By creating robust mentoring networks we will assist in the incubation of new companies grown from Pennsylvania’s rich pool of talented innovators."

At Drexel in Philadelphia, "this grant will help the Entrepreneurial Game Studio fulfill its mission of being a place where students can take risks as game developers and as entrepreneurs,” adds Professor Frank Lee.

Source: PA Department of Community & Economic Development; Drexel University
Writer: Elise Vider

Four northeast PA companies ring in the new year with Ben Franklin investments

Four companies in northeastern Pennsylvania are starting off 2015 with new investments from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
 
EggZack, located at Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem, has been allocated $50,000 to expand its sales efforts, adding more resellers and increasing its direct sales force. EggZack provides an automated sales and marketing system that is specially designed for companies that serve local markets. The web- and mobile-based platform automates the management of their website, search engine optimization, social media, local search, email marketing, blogs, video and directory optimization to generate more local leads. The system then makes it convenient to convert leads into sales. 
 
OPTiMO Information Technology, LLC in Bloomsburg will receive $65,000 to expand its Legal Technology Division. The company’s new eDiscovery and Forensics Managed Services wade through huge amounts of data to reconstruct electronic events, providing reliable information and evidence for legal, corporate and government agencies in a cost-effective manner. OPTiMO delivers enterprise-level information technology products and services including software related to the digital forensics, e-discovery and litigation support industries.

Orbweaver Sourcing, LLC, also at TechVentures in Bethlehem, will receive $65,000 to develop a "supplier pricing infrastructure" in a cloud-based software solution for electronic circuit board manufacturers. This feature will allow end customers and other industry participants to collect a more robust set of data from component manufacturers and distributors. Current sourcing and procurement models in the electronics manufacturing industry are highly inefficient. Orbweaver’s software platform will allow for better-negotiated terms with suppliers, thereby reducing costs and increasing productivity for clients.
 
In addition, a partnership between East Coast Erosion Control of Bernville, an established manufacturer, and Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center earned $25,000 in matching funds. The investment is intended to improve measures of back-end processes, improving customer delivery performance, reducing cost-of-goods sold, increasing efficiency and maximizing production capacity at this manufacturer of erosion control products for the construction industry. East Coast Erosion is one of the largest producers of erosion blankets in the U.S. This upgrade will allow the company to be the first in its industry to advance to this level, providing a competitive advantage and facilitating continued growth.

Source: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Writer: Elise Vider

Health care tech startups and cancer drug developer come to Philadelphia incubator

Two health care IT companies and a biotech startup are the newest members of the entrepreneurial community at the University City Science Center’s Port business incubator. 

Denovo Health (de novo is Latin for a new beginning) is an engagement platform targeting chronic diseases that have a high annual cost per patient and where even marginal improvements in patient engagement drive significant health and financial benefits.

According to their website, the company incorporates "design thinking with behavioral psychology and [uses] advanced technologies to make prescribed activity easy, enjoyable and rewarding." Using mobile apps, digital and physical world interactions and behavioral change tactics, Denovo’s products target glaucoma, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and diabetes, assisting users with tracking their medication, monitoring their condition and communicating with care providers. Competitive game dynamics, rewards and social reinforcement are incorporated to boost compliance. 

Smart Activities of Daily Living (Smart ADL) is developing a digital health technology called Smart Cup that enables patients and clinicians to unobtrusively record and monitor fluid intake for effective clinical and self-care management.
 
Oncoceutics, Inc. is a drug discovery and development company targeting the most potent natural suppressor pathways in human cancer. The company’s lead compound is ONC201, a novel small molecule that promises strong anti-cancer activity in the most challenging indications in oncology. 

Oncoceutics' application to initiate clinical trials with ONC201 was accepted by the FDA in February 2014 and a series of clinical studies at leading cancer centers is being activated. Oncoceutics has development ties with Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Source: University City Science Center
Writer: Elise Vider

New Malvern marker space aims to develop novel products using plasma and 3D printing technologies

Malvern's AmpTech Makerspace is preparing to open its doors. The plan is to focus on high-tech product development using plasma and 3D printing technologies.

"Collaborative work environments like the AmpTech Makerspace are proving to be highly productive environments for doing business in the high-tech world," says Michael Antonucci, managing partner of the 3D Printing Alliance, a sponsor. "AmpTech adds a twist -- this one involves the use of plasma and 3D printing technologies used together."

AmpTech’s primary sponsor is Advanced Plasma Solutions (APS), which specializes in non-thermal plasma technology to create products and solutions for a variety of applications. When paired with 3D printing, the two advanced manufacturing technologies have potential in a wide array of applications, including health care and medicine, energy and power, and environmental controls, says AmpTech’s organizers.

The 20,000-square-foot space at APS' headquarters houses offices, collaborative workspace, laboratories and a machine shop. AmpTech offers education, training and a wide range of support for R&D, prototyping, testing, business operations and ultimately, product commercialization. Equipment includes plasma power supplies, plasmatrons, 3D printers and plasma cutters.

Antonucci says that AmpTech is unique as "the only non academic environment where you can get access to plasma expertise, plasma devices, labs, equipment and a variety of projects ready for being commercialized.

"Amptech has hundreds of industry-focused solutions and product ideas that are well researched and represent truly game-changing new product ideas," he adds. "Most maker spaces or incubators allow you to experiment with your own ideas but AmpTech brings years of research, some patents and expertise, that together with your industry domain knowledge represent amazing possibilities."

AmpTech will also offer programming and workshops for schools and businesses, and will service as a "great place for…internal engineers, high-tech internships and vo-tech classes as well," explains Antonucci. 

Antonucci anticipates that AmpTech could run about 50 projects simultaneously; they are actively seeking investors and sponsors.

Source: Michael Antonucci, 3D Printing Alliance
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Startup Santa: BFTP-SEP brings $2.8M to 16 companies

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, aka "Startup Santa," is closing 2014 with $2.8 million in investments to 16 companies. The largest dollar share, $1.5 million, is allocated to the life sciences sector; $925,000 is going to IT companies and $400,000 to the physical sciences.

Advent Therapeutics in Bucks County focuses on providing therapies for micro-orphan applications. The company is currently working on its first product, which will address a serious disorder in newborn infants in the ICU.
 
AlphaPoint is the leading exchange technology platform provider to support digital currencies. Working with some of the top Bitcoin and altcoin exchanges in the world, AlphaPoint’s platform is faster than traditional digital currency exchanges with the ability to process nearly one million transactions per second. The company has offices in Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco.
 
Philadelphia’s Edify Investment Technologies has the potential to radically alter how typical new home construction is built, marketed and financed. Edify’s software shifts the financing responsibility of purchasing land and constructing homes from the land developer to the home buyer in exchange for a discount on the home’s purchase price, offering significant advantages for all parties within the transaction.

Montgomery County’s Core Solutions is transforming the health and human services experience by improving the provider, client and payer relationship. Its technology has the ability to simplify the end-to-end behavioral health experience, deliver integrated care coordination, improve consumer engagement and streamline accurate provider reimbursement.

Fischer Block in Montgomery County is at the forefront of the Industrial Internet, bringing an unprecedented value proposition to the electrical power industry. With a unique solution to embed millions of advanced high-speed sensors throughout the electrical grid, this widely deployed platform will become the industry standard for applying data analytics and predictive analysis techniques, and will improve energy reliability and prevent power outages at a fraction of the cost of traditional alternatives.

In Philadelphia, Infarct Reduction Technologies is developing a device, the LifeCuff, to deliver an ischemic pre-conditioning protocol. Ischemic preconditioning has been found to improve outcomes in heart attack, stroke, sepsis and other conditions. Currently the only other method of providing this protocol is manually via intensive care, surgical or emergency medical staff.

Opertech Bio in Philadelphia has developed a revolutionary approach to taste testing, a multi-billion dollar market covering the food and beverage, flavor ingredients, pet food and pharmaceutical industries. Opertech Bio’s technology can be used to discover new flavor ingredients, measure palatability and optimize flavor formulations. Opertech’s proprietary technology accomplishes the task of taste testing on hundreds of samples in an afternoon, using far fewer subjects and samples at a fraction of the cost, with greater accuracy and consistency than previously possible.

Bucks County’s OrthogenRx is a late-stage, product-development company focused on the commercialization of class-III orthopedic medical devices. Its business model is to obtain exclusive licenses for products currently on the market outside the United States and seek FDA regulatory approval through a novel regulatory pathway. OrthogenRx is positioned to be the first company to obtain approval for a generic Class III medical device using this pathway by the end of 2014. The company will launch its first product in early 2015 and file for several additional product approvals by the end of 2015.

In Montgomery County, PhotoSonix Medical is developing a treatment for dermal diseases generated by bacterial biofilm, such as acne. Biofilms, which make treatment extremely difficult, shield bacteria from attack by both drugs and the immune system, often inducing a chronic inflammatory response. Photosonix’s product, CLENS™, cuts through biofilm by combining both ultrasound and violet light, killing underlying bacteria.

Polynetworks in Montgomery Count has developed a secure, open architecture PaaS (platform-as-a-service), which allows multiple types of sensor data to be captured, processed and transmitted to multiple users in real time using any communication media. This "any data, any device, anywhere" solution is scalable to multiple applications. Potential markets include defense and law enforcement; emergency response; heavy industries such as energy, mining and construction; infrastructure security such as city, schools and hospitals; and information gathering such as news media, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and robotics.

In Chester County, Stabiliz Orthopaedics focuses on developing, refining and bringing to market innovative orthopaedic medical devices. The company has crafted a proprietary plate and screw system used for the treatment of traumatic bone fracture. By integrating biocompatible metals with bioabsorbable polymers, Stabiliz’s technology allows clinicians to customize the repair process for every patient, eliminating the need for future surgeries and reducing costs to burdened healthcare systems.

Squareknot in Philadelphia has the simple goal of allowing everyone to do more with its interactive outlet for making how-to-guides. The Squareknot platform allows users to generate step-by-step guides from scratch, or contribute to someone else’s project, or branch off in a new whole direction. 

Developed in Montgomery County, Superior Solar Design’s "SolarPower Table" is a collaboration of world class engineering and photo-voltaic science. The SolarPower Table is a highly reliable, year-round, off-grid solar energy charging station for cell phones, mobile devices and small electronic equipment.

Montgomery County's Telefactor Robotics is a research and development company focused on commercializing advanced vision systems and dexterous manipulation solutions for the first responder and military explosive ordnance disposal markets. The company’s suite of integrated technologies components add value to military and security robots, and enable new forward-looking industrial and manufacturing applications.
 
In Philadelphia, TowerView Health’s mission is to ensure that patients never miss a dose of critical medication. The company has developed a smart pill box and accompanying pre-filled medication trays that fit into the pill box like a k-cup fits into a Keurig. The pill box senses the presence or absence of medication and automatically reminds patients via text message or phone reminder when they’ve forgotten a dose. The data generated by the pill box will be accessible to clinical staff, allowing them to efficiently monitor patients.

Philadelphia’s Yorn is a unique, closed-loop platform for healthcare, business and hospitality settings, enabling patients/consumers and participants to provide feedback, in the moment, on any experience. Utilizing a unique URL through a smartphone, tablet or any web-enabled device, participants can submit comments or ask questions. 

Writer: Elise Vider
Source: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania 

 

The Millworks in Harrisburg offers 23 artist studios -- plus galleries, a restaurant and biergarten

Thirty-three artists are unpacking and settling in at 23 newly opened studios at The Millworks in downtown Harrisburg.
 
The completed spaces are a critical step in the transformation of the long-abandoned industrial building, which once housed The Stokes Millwork, into an arts, culture and food destination.
 
Construction is now underway on three galleries, an open-air biergarten, and a full-service bar and restaurant that will specialize in locally sourced food. The Millworks will also function as a live music venue.
 
Owned and developed by Joshua Kesler, the mixed-use hub is located in Harrisburg’s historic Midtown District near the Broad Street Market, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore and the Susquehanna Art Museum. Its stated mission "is a simple one: to create a regional destination which showcases Central Pennsylvania’s wonderful artistic talents as well as our region’s bountiful, sustainable agriculture. With our hyper-local approach, we look forward to being a part of Midtown Harrisburg’s renaissance, supporting local growers, local artists and local businesses."
 
Patrick Garrity, The Millworks' operations manager, says that the 160-seat restaurant and bar will open early next year.

"We are passionate about showcasing Central Pennsylvania's bountiful agriculture," he explains. "All of the dishes served at our restaurant will fully consist of local and sustainable ingredients sourced from local farms. Our menu will also change seasonally."
 
The 50-seat open-air biergarten will have a view of the restaurant, art galleries and studios. A 200-seat rooftop terrace is also planned -- it will be the city’s largest outdoor serving space. Once fully operational, restaurant and biergarten guests will be also able to watch sculptors, painters, photographers and others at work in their studios and purchase artworks at the on-site galleries.
 
Source: Patrick Garrity, The Millworks
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Bucks County biotech incubator adding capacity thanks to federal grant

The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Pennsylvania in Doylestown is expanding its space and its capacity to support more startups thanks to a new $4.2 million federal grant.

The Center, which opened in 2006 in an abandoned warehouse as a partnership between the Hepatitis B Foundation and Delaware Valley College, will add 15 laboratories, office space, increased emergency power capacity and new, high-tech freezer capacity. 

Five companies have already committed to locating in the expanded incubator space, and even more life sciences companies can be accommodated, says Operating Officer Lou Kassa. 

Those new tenants include Flow Metric, a provider of state-of-the-art flow cytometry and cell sorting services; Novira Therapeutics, a company working on a cure for Hepatitis B; Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, an organization that works to translate biomedical research into commercial opportunities; Synergy Pharmaceuticals, an enterprise developing treatment for gastrointestinal disease; and Cross Current Corp., a software developer that serves the healthcare market.

"We are extremely excited about the project and the growth is very beneficial for life sciences companies and the surrounding community," says Kassa.

The grant comes from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and is expected to generate 90 jobs and more than $450,000 in private investment.

"Recent changes and downsizing in the sciences and pharmaceutical industries in the Bucks County area, coupled with industry mergers and consolidation, have resulted in mid- and late-career separations for highly educated professionals and have created a nexus for entrepreneurship to flourish," explained the EDA in a statement announcing the grant. "The Center is recognized as a significant regional resource for biotechnology incubation and has reached capacity. It needs to expand in order to continue supporting entrepreneurs emerging from the life sciences and academic environments that are advancing innovations in pharmaceutical discovery and green sectors."

Source: US EDA and Lou Kassa, Bucks County Biotechnology Center
Writer: Elise Vider
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