By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2017, The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
It’s pretty impressive when an Oklahoma startup, in this case, Linear Health Sciences, is hand-picked to be the first company to qualify for a new national accelerator program that was specifically created to bring new medical devices to market.
It is even more impressive when that accelerator program is in a major market like Atlanta.
To those who read this column regularly, that last sentence might sound a little like I’m stepping back from my normal stance — given how much I stress that Oklahoma has all the components to help a startup in bioscience or medical devices scale up and achieve a fantastic exit.
But that’s not the case.
That the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a comprehensive medical device innovation center in Atlanta, has awarded Linear Health Sciences a substantial grant to work with GCMI’s Atlanta accelerator is a further endorsement of the quality of the technologies and solutions in the medical field that we are creating in this state.
“The GCMI accelerator is sponsored by large companies that are in our industry space,” said Ryan Dennis, M.D., founder of Linear Health Sciences. “They provide grant funding to accelerate commercialization. We will have access to a large pool of resources that we might not otherwise have access to as such a small company.”
The non-dilutive funding that comes with the GCMI grant leverages the $1.2 million seed round investment led by i2E last year with participation from SeedStep Angels, the Oklahoma Angel Fund I and other Oklahoma angel investors.
Linear Health’s work with the accelerator will further testing and regulatory requirements leading to third-quarter FDA approval for Linear Health’s first product, the Orchid Safety Release Valve.
The Orchid is a breakaway valve that separates when the medical tubing in peripheral IVs, central lines, or peripherally inserted central catheters are caught or pulled too far. The Orchid valve creates a sterile seal and prevents the tubing from being pulled out. It will be especially valuable in pediatrics, where the most significant rates of dislodgment from tension occur.
“Now that we have the final product in hand and have a wealth of resources to complete the technical development, we are getting ready to gather letters of intent from hospitals that want to be early adopter sites,” Dennis said. “We are eager to work with hospitals in Oklahoma to further validate our solution.”
The uniquely Oklahoma story of Linear Health Sciences began years ago when Ryan Dennis left his family’s farm to enroll in Oklahoma’s School of Science and Math. He became a doctor, returned to Oklahoma, and invented a solution that will have a significant impact on patient care.
Dennis leveraged early seed capital from Oklahoma funds and angels by gaining grant funding and expertise from a noted medical device accelerator in Georgia. Linear Health is creating jobs in Oklahoma and is further giving back by sponsoring a new biomedical engineering program at OU involving student interns.
When we talk about the virtuous cycle of entrepreneurship and innovation, this is what we mean.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state support from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.