Four Maryland medical technology companies are getting a boost toward approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration thanks to new investments from the Maryland Technology Development Corp.
The corporation, known as TEDCO, has awarded $200,000 each to the four companies through its Life Science Investment Fund, which provides late-stage funding for entities that have already validated their technology and are ready to pursue FDA approval.
The investments come in the form of a five-year convertible note to the company.
One of the four companies is Baltimore-based Vasoptic Medical, which has developed a way of giving optical eye exams to help identify patients with diabetic retinopathy, which strike one in three people with diabetes.
The condition is the leading cause of blindness among American adults, said CEO Jason Brooke.
Vasoptic’s goal is to enable the eye exams in more primary care practices and community health clinics. Annual eye exams are recommended for patients with diabetes, but about 50 percent don’t go to the ophthalmologist, so the company wants to bring the exams to the patients instead, Brooke said.
The company, a Johns Hopkins spinoff that launched in 2012, recently completed its first clinical trial. The TEDCO funding will help support the company as it prepares to apply for FDA approval; Brooke said the company plans to make its submissions within the next 18 months but is seeking an additional $3 million to $5 million so it can expand its team and accelerate that process.
Another of the TEDCO recipients is Sonavex, which has adapted ultrasound technology to help identify blood vessels that are at risk of clotting after surgery. One of the company’s products is a simplified ultrasound monitor for use by clinicians who are not trained sonographers. The machine also provides data related to blood flow and clotting risk that traditional ultrasound technology does not, said CEO David Narrow.
Sonavex is in the midst of a $2.5 million fundraising round and has $1.8 million committed so far, including the TEDCO award, Narrow said.
The funds will help the company move from the animal testing stage — which has shown the technology to be functional and safe — to FDA approval and to pilot studies with human patients, he said. Sonavex plans to complete its initial FDA submission within 12 months, he said.
The third recipient of the TEDCO funds is AsclepiX Therapeutics, another Baltimore-based firm, which is developing a method of using nanoparticles to prevent cancerous tumors and other diseases from developing new blood – thus impeding their growth.
Rounding out the quartet is the College Park-based Gel-e, which is developing hemostatic medical devices that can be used to clot blood and stop hemorrhaging.
The four companies were chosen based on the technical merits of their products and their clear business plans, Arti Santhanam, the program manager of the Life Sciences Investment Fund, said in a statement.