Kolaleh-Eskandanian

“COVID-19 is presenting unprecedented challenges and my NCC-PDI colleagues and I know that supporting pediatric innovations will improve care for the patients and families we serve,” says Kolaleh Eskandanian, Ph.D., MBA, PMP, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National Hospital and principal investigator of NCC-PDI.

The National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI) announced eight winners chosen in its special COVID-19 edition of the “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” competition. Focused on innovations in COVID-19-related pediatric medical devices that will improve children’s health care, 16 finalists competed on Monday, July 20 in a virtual pitch event for a share of $250,000 in total grant awards.

The event was presented by NCC-PDI co-founders Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Hospital and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, and powered by nonprofit accelerator and NCC-PDI member, MedTech Innovator.

For safety and efficiency, the event utilized a video conference format. A panel of 75 expert judges from health care, business, investor and regulatory sectors selected award winners based on the clinical significance and commercial feasibility of their COVID-19-related medical devices for children. The competition focused on medical devices that support home health monitoring and telehealth, and improve sustainability, resiliency and readiness in diagnosing and treating children during a pandemic.

“Because of the high quality of submissions and the critical need for pandemic-related pediatric medical devices, we are excited to recognize and award eight innovations from this event’s highly competitive field” says Kolaleh Eskandanian, Ph.D., MBA, PMP, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National Hospital and principal investigator of NCC-PDI. “COVID-19 is presenting unprecedented challenges and my NCC-PDI colleagues and I know that supporting pediatric innovations will improve care for the patients and families we serve.”

screenshot of pitch competition

Vitls, from Houston, Texas, was awarded $50,000 for a wearable platform for remote patient monitoring of the vitals clinicians require to assess a patient.

Here are the 2020 “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” special COVID-19 edition competition winners and their grant awards:

  • Bloom Standard (Kaaria), Hong Kong, China – $20,000 awarded – wearable, AI-driven ultrasound for infant cardiac and pulmonary screening and diagnostics
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$20,000 awarded – transparent reusable DIY origami facemask that reveals facial expressions & improves communication
  • Hopscotch, Ithaca, New York – $20,000 awarded – gamified cognitive behavioral therapy-based computer exercises to encourage kids to stay engaged and complete treatment programs
  • Medipines, Yorba Linda, California – $50,000 awarded – monitor device that displays critical respiratory parameters analyzed from a patient’s breathing sample
  • OtoPhoto, Baltimore, Maryland – $20,000 awarded – a smart otoscope that quickly and accurately aids diagnosis of ear infections for home telehealth use
  • TGV-Dx, New York, New York -$50,000 awarded – a novel, phenotype-based test system for rapid selection of effective antibiotic regimen
  • Vitls, Houston, Texas – $50,000 awarded – wearable platform for remote patient monitoring of the vitals clinicians require to assess a patient
  • X-Biomedical, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $20,000 awarded – rugged, portable smart ICU ventilator for pediatric and adult patients

Along with grant funding, one company from the competition will be selected by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS at a later date to receive a one-year residency at JLABS @ Washington, DC, which will be located on the new Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus currently under construction. In addition to the 2021 JLABS residency, the awardee will have access to the JLABS community and expert mentoring by the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. NCC-PDI and JLABS will announce the recipient once the selection process is completed.

NCC-PDI is one of five members in the FDA’s Pediatric Device Consortia Grant Program created to support the development and commercialization of medical devices for children, which lags significantly behind the progress of adult medical devices. To date, NCC-PDI has mentored over 100 medical device sponsors to help advance their pediatric innovations, with twelve devices having received either their FDA market clearance or CE marking.