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UMB invests $100K in Harpoon Medical

The University of Maryland, Baltimore has invested $100,000 in Harpoon Medical, a medical device company based in Stevensville.

The money comes from UM Ventures, which is an initiative of UMB and the University of Maryland, College Park to commercialize new technologies and increase collaborations with industry.

UM Ventures recently established an investment fund that aims to speed up “technology transfer” — the act of turning university research into viable products and bringing them to market. The award to Harpoon Medical is the first equity investment made by UM Ventures, and it completes the company’s $3.6 million Series A financing.

In addition to equity investments, the UM Ventures fund will also provide loans to startup companies coming out of the two universities to establish headquarters in the state.

Harpoon Medical is working to commercialize a minimally invasive, image-guided surgical tool for beating heart mitral valve repair. The technology was developed in the Division of Cardiac Surgery in the School of Medicine at UMB.

“We have been working with UM Ventures since Harpoon was formed and are honored that they chose to make their inaugural investment in our company,” CEO Bill Niland said in a statement.

Traditionally, open-heart mitral value surgery is a complex operation that takes three to six hours. Harpoon Medical’s tool would make it possible to do the procedure in one hour and would reduce the recovery period from several weeks to several days, company officials say.

Harpoon Medical licensed the technology from UMB, and the company recently was awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

“In just over a year we have formed a company, licensed innovative technology from UMB, secured the first of what will hopefully be many patents and raised the funds necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of the device in the clinic,” Niland said in the statement.

“The support we received from UM Ventures and UMB has been instrumental in that process and we would not be where we are today without their assistance.”

About Alissa Gulin

Alissa Gulin covers health care, education and general business at The Daily Record.