Three Michigan Medical Startups Receive Early Stage Funding

East Lansing-based Quantum Medical Concepts, a collaborative that provides early stage investment funding to Michigan medical companies, has announced partnerships with three health care startups. Each will receive funding to bring health care innovations to market.
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Alerje app
Quantum Medical Concepts invested in Alerje, a platform to help people manage food allergies. Pictured is the Alerje app. // Photo courtesy of Alerje

East Lansing-based Quantum Medical Concepts, a collaborative that provides early stage investment funding to Michigan medical companies, has announced partnerships with three health care startups. Each will receive funding to bring health care 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 Co.,” says 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’s Alerje is developing technology to help manage food allergies, which affect more than 220 million people. The startup has developed a food allergy management platform.

The app includes resources for healthy living, offers allergen-safe recipes, and provides a food label scanner. The startup is also working on a smartphone case that carries a slim epinephrine auto-injector that, when used in conjunction with the app, alerts 911 operators, parents, spouses, and other caregivers 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,” says Javier Evelyn, COO of Alerje. “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.”

The second company is Grand Rapids’ Airway Innovations, which is developing airway management solutions include TubeTrac, an oral tracheal tube holder designed to prevent unplanned extubations, or tube removal. The system was launched to a limited number of clinical sites in September 2020. Funding will help the startup scale production 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,” says 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.”

The Patient Co., also in Grand Rapids, has developed the SimPull, a fully automated lateral patient transfer device. Transferring patients from one horizontal surface to another is the second cause of health care employee injuries in the U.S., resulting in more than 12,000 injuries a year. It takes about 22 minutes and four to eight staff members to transfer a patient. The SimPull can be operated by one clinician and takes less than a minute to perform a lateral transfer.

“SimPull not only protects clinicians from injury but also removes a huge workflow efficiency bottleneck for facilities using our technology,” says Andrew Heuerman, COO of The Patient Co. “It’s a product that makes sense everywhere but one we feel will be particularly beneficial to smaller and understaffed hospitals and facilities.”

Quantum Medical Concepts launched in 2014 with initial funding from the Michigan State Medical Society and looks to fill a gap in the development of medical advancements in Michigan. It focuses on identifying medical companies with promising ideas that are not yet ready for market and providing them with seed funding and management support.

Quantum also provides startups with access to the society’s network of more than 15,000 member physicians, who provide insight through the early development phases of new medical devices and technology.

The organization is a partnership between the society and Common Wealth Enterprises.

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