Few classes offer real opportunity for students to make a difference, but Dr. Andrew DiMeo’s Senior Design course has proven time and time again that it does just that. During this course, teams of students develop new and innovative products after shadowing medical professionals and studying real-world biomedical needs. This month, one of those teams saw their class project launch commercially: local company 410 Medical has launched LifeFlow, a rapid infuser used in the resuscitation of critically ill patients. Denise Witman, Laura Rucker, Ashley Hayes, Alex Eller, and Lizz Davenport comprised the 5-woman team that shadowed Dr. Mark Piehl (WakeMed Hospitals) in order to develop the first prototype. Once done, Dr. Piehl accelerated development of a commercially viable version, which cleared the FDA in 2016 and has since been used in a variety of local hospitals and doctor’s offices. As a result of the positive feedback from these local institutions (the product has been described as “amazing” by users), 410 Medical is expanding their market nationwide.
Not unexpectedly, the launch has attracted the attention of University leaders and news outlets alike. “It’s not every day that we get to celebrate the launch of a product that is truly going to save lives,” said Kelly Sexton, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Technology Commercialization and New Ventures at NC State University, “We are launching, supporting and funding companies that improve our lives and support economic growth here in NC.” NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson took the opportunity to highlight Dr. DiMeo’s role in championing the University’s Think and Do attitude, calling the achievement “outstanding.” In the news, MedGadget and PR Newswire have both run articles about 410 Medical and its life-saving LifeFlow technology.
BME would like to congratulate 410 Medical on their successful launch, and in particular the students who made it possible: Denise Witman, now a product manager at Ottobock Health Care in London; Laura Rucker, an R&D Engineer at Cook Medical; Ashley Hayes, an R&D Engineer at Cook Medical; Alex Eller, an associate product manager at Bioventus; and Lizz Davenport, a Postdoc at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas.
We would also like to offer a huge congratulations and thank you to Dr. DiMeo, without whom these great student-lead innovations would not be possible. In the words of Chancellor Woodson, “You make the difference!”
Update July 2017: 410 Medical has gained its first major investor in the Triangle Venture Alliance, a local group that is dedicated to supporting companies founded by faculty, students, alumni, staff, or parents of triangle institutions.