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Emerging Medical Innovation Valuation Competition

Wednesday, April 14, 8:00 - 9:30 am CDT (UTC -5)


Click Here to Return to the ProgramSession Abstract:

The DMD Emerging Medical Innovation Valuation Competition is a way for researchers and inventors to get immediate feedback about their projects from leaders in medical technology research, engineering & development. The Competition judges will base their decision upon four questions:

1) Can the technology be built and scaled to production?
2) Are the Intellectual Property and Regulatory approach reasonable?
3) Is a viable reimbursement strategy possible?
4) What is the potential scale of and timing for return on investment?

The top three presenters will be awarded a full valuation, including a presentation and report, of their technologies from the University of Minnesota’s Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory, (regular fee for this service is $15,000). More information on the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory and the service can be found here.

Winners were announced after the Keynote Presentation Wed., April 14, 2021.


Grand Prize

John Ralston, PROTXX, Inc.

Phybrata Neurophysiological Sensor: The PROTXX physiological vibration acceleration ("phybrata") wearable sensor transforms the lives of tens of millions of people with complex neurophysiological medical conditions that can result from injuries, disease, aging, or genetic disorders, and can lead to impairments to multiple physiological systems. Current solutions for diagnosing these multiple impairments and monitoring the effectiveness of treatments and rehabilitation require multiple time-consuming tests carried out by multiple clinical specialists using expensive lab equipment. The phybrata sensor delivers an innovative solution to this problem by enabling much easier to use, lower cost, in-clinic and remote assessments and management of these multiple impairments.


2nd Place

Paul Hoogervorst, Anser Implants

The Anser Clavicle Pin: A unique CE and FDA approved technology dedicated specifically to the surgical management of midshaft clavicle fractures. It aims to improve patient-reported and functional outcomes, to reduce the re-intervention and complication rate, and to decreases healthcare costs and societal burden.


3rd Place

Austin Pfannenstiel, Founder and President, Precision Microwave

Taking Microwave Ablation Therapy in a New Direction: Precision Microwave was founded with the vision of expanding patient access to minimally invasive treatment options. Our primary technological innovation is a directional microwave ablation (DMWA) applicator which enables doctors to precisely direct the treatment zone toward the target tumor and away from nearby vulnerable healthy tissues. Precision Microwave’s disruptive technology enables a safer and more effective treatment procedure for some of the most challenging tumor locations compared to existing thermal ablation systems. We believe our new precision tool will enable thermal ablation to become the preferred treatment method for a much wider range of tumor types and locations, including applications beyond oncology and for fast and effective palliative care.


"The NeVap Aspire Subglottic Suction Endotracheal Tube"
Benjamin Wang MD, Founder Chief Medical Officer, NeVap

"REMplenish Myofunctional Therapy Water Bottle to Reduce Snoring and Tiredness"
Anders Olmanson, CEO, REMastered Sleep LLC

"GlucaNet: Mitigating Severe Hypoglycemia by Automating Emergency Glucagon Delivery"
Sean Brown, GlucaNet LLC

Presentation Abstracts:

"The NeVap Aspire Subglottic Suction Endotracheal Tube"
NeVap inc is a commercial stage medical device company, founded in 2015. NeVap has developed  infection control breathing tubes designed to remove pathogenic fluids that are responsible for Ventilator-associated, Aspiration, and Post-operative Pneumonia, problems that are currently found in over 50% of ventilated COVID-19 patients.

"REMplenish Myofunctional Therapy Water Bottle to Reduce Snoring and Tiredness"
REMastered Sleep LLC is a sleep focused wellness company dedicated to the mission of making healthy easy. Our business aims to help everyone suffering from snoring and/or obstructive sleep apnea get better sleep. To accomplish this, we have developed the first ever myofunctional therapy water bottle that fights snoring and daytime tiredness by exercising the muscles of the mouth and throat while the user drinks. Just drink 1-2 bottles of water a day for therapy - reducing the risk of snoring and tiredness is now as easy as drinking water.

"GlucaNet: Mitigating Severe Hypoglycemia by Automating Emergency Glucagon Delivery"
GlucaNet was founded with the mission to mitigate severe hypoglycemia in insulin-dependent diabetics. In pairing the most recent continuous glucose monitoring capabilities with the newest formulations of glucagon, GlucaNet is designed as a safety net device that automates glucagon injection, therefore mitigating severe hypoglycemia and easing the burden of worry diabetics and their families face regarding severe hypoglycemia.

Speaker Bios:

John Ralston, PhD, CEO and Founder, PROTXX Inc.
Dr. Ralston is a pioneer in the integration of clinical grade wearable sensors and advanced data analytics into non-invasive precision healthcare tools. At PROTXX he is focused on improving the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of complex medical conditions in which multiple physiological systems are impaired (central nervous, peripheral nervous, sensory, musculoskeletal, cardio/neuro-vascular). He is currently collaborating with healthcare delivery and research teams working to improve patient care for neuro-disruptive medical conditions (concussions, stroke, invasive neurosurgeries) and neuro-degenerative medical conditions (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathies). John earned B.Sc. degrees in Physics and in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and the MSc degree in Management of Technology from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Paul Hoogervorst, Anser Implants
Paul has a wide variety of orthopedic expertise, having completed three orthopedic fellowships in different subspecialty areas. Dr. Hoogervorst is an alumnus of the UMN's adult reconstructive fellowship, a sports medicine fellowship at SOAR, CA, and a research and trauma fellowship at UCSF. This broad range of experiences allows Dr. Hoogervorst to provide exceptional, well-rounded, expert care to patients and families. He's particularly interested in adult reconstructive surgery, including joint preservation and primary and complex revision arthroplasty, orthopedic trauma and peri-prosthetic fracture care, and sports-related injuries.

Austin Pfannenstiel, Founder and President, Precision Microwave
Austin founded Precision Microwave (PM) in 2017 after serving as the Entrepreneurial Lead during a National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program where his team's customer discovery efforts demonstrated a compelling clinical need for a directional microwave ablation applicator. His subsequent efforts at PM have led to successful completion of an NSF Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I grant and award of an ongoing NSF Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant. PM's NSF grants have totaled $1.2M in non-dilutive funding and enabled PM to demonstrate proof-of-concept of its DMWA technology through an animal study published in a leading peer-reviewed clinical journal. Austin has 5+ years of experience in MWA device design and experimental evaluation and is a co-inventor on four patent applications in the field. Prior to founding PM, Austin served eight years in the United States Navy as a submarine officer and nuclear power instructor. He has a BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering and MBA from Kansas State University.

Benjamin Wang, MD, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of NeVap
Dr. Wang founded NeVap in 2015 after seeing too many critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation contract super-imposed pneumonia. Prior to starting NeVap, Dr. Wang has spent time as an entrepreneur, medical device consultant, public speaker, and board member for non-profits. In his role at NeVap, Dr. Wang is in charge of business development, clinical study design, and new products. NeVap stands for Never Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia and is focused on developing and commercializing medical devices that reduce the incidence of serious infections in the most vulnerable ventilated patients. NeVap's first product the Aspire Subglottic Suction Endotracheal tube, is FDA/CE mark cleared and being sold to hospitals in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Follow-on products include the Secure-Swap Breathing tube holder and the Aspire Directed Ventilation Endotracheal tube.

Anders Olmanson, CEO, REMastered Sleep LLC
Anders is a passionate medical innovator who aspires to make healthy easy through technological innovations to improve healthcare outcomes and quality of life for patients. While conducting clinical immersion during his Master of Science in Medical Device Innovation studies, he witnessed the refusal of continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) therapy by a severe obstructive sleep apnea patient, even after the health risks were explained. This was eye opening and with further research learned that 80% of obstructive sleep apnea patients are undiagnosed and 40% of patients are non-compliant with the gold standard treatment, CPAP. This inspired him to embrace an entrepreneurial pathway to establish REMastered Sleep LLC to research and develop alternative solutions to this important problem. In addition to earning an MS in Medical Device Innovation, Anders has spent 4 years as a mechanical engineer working on implantable drug infusion pumps with Medtronic and 9 months studying health systems throughout Asia and Africa in order to learn novel approaches to healthcare innovation around the world.

Sean Brown, MD Candidate 2021, Founder and President of GlucaNet LLC
Sean founded GlucaNet LLC in 2020 after imagining a better solution to severe hypoglycemia for the past two years. He was originally introduced to diabetes after working two summers at a Type 1 diabetes camp during his undergraduate schooling. This work experience provides him with insight regarding the difficulties and danger severe hypoglycemia poses for insulin-dependent diabetics. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Science-Business, will graduate from Creighton University School of Medicine in May 2021 and will begin his internal medicine residency at Albert Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx this July. Sean would like to thank Marissa Koscielski, her associates at Enlighten Mobility, and everyone who has been supportive and generous with their time and efforts to bring GlucaNet to this point thus far.

Competition Judges:

Mike Finch, Children's Minnesota & Instructor, Medical Valuation Lab, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Randy Nelson, RS Nelson Consulting
Paul Gam, President & CEO Zurich Medical
Tanner Fuchs, Senior LDRP Associate, Medtronic
John Heinbigner, Senior Manager, Strategy & Transactions, EY
Naomi Walsh, Technology Licensing Officer, University of Minnesota
Mary MacCarthy, Venture Center Program Manager, University of Minnesota

Related Sessions:

Three-in-Five Competition
Student Design Showcase