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Third MEDLaunch Demo Day Celebrates Medical Innovations

by Maggie Rotermund on 04/24/2018
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ST. LOUIS - Saint Louis University students showcased solutions to a wide range of medical problems at the third annual MEDLaunch Demo Day. 

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The team behind the Knee Caddy, a device to hold limbs in place during orthopedic surgery.  Photo by Maggie Rotermund

St. Louis native and Square co-founder Jim McKelvey gave the keynote address at the third annual MEDLaunch Demo Day event on April 18. 

The Demo Day presentation is open to local investors and angel networks, with the goal of obtaining seed funding to progress to advanced prototyping, clinical trials and manufacturing.

Founded in 2015 by SLU School of Medicine students, MEDLaunch is a non-profit, biomedical and entrepreneurship incubator partnering with Saint Louis University and other organizations in the area. 

The program is the product of collaborative efforts between SLU School of Medicine, Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business, Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology, and SLU School of Law.

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Andy Hayden, founder of MEDLaunch, presents the business model for his team, the BarryBox. Photo by Maggie Rotermund

As a part of MEDLaunch, participants work in multidisciplinary teams under the guidance of clinical and industry mentors to improve the standard of health care in areas including surgical devices, health information technology and medical diagnostics.

Physicians share ideas for improving daily clinical practice, and teams of students tackle those ideas with an aim for creating a practical solution which will improve the practice of medicine.

2017-18 Projects

The projects for MEDLaunch's third year include a design for an orthopedic limb device, an app to improve stroke care and a care package service for older adults.

BarryBox

BarryBox is an online subscription-based gift giving service that bridges generations through personalized, customizable gift boxes. The service is aimed at those 65 and over. The gift-giver completes an online profile on the recipient, providing BarryBox with information necessary to generate the monthly box with games for mental acuity and other items. 

Team members include: 

  • Andy Hayden - School of Medicine
  • Demir Sikiric - Parks College of Engineering
  • Meredith Walker - Parks College of Engineering
Knee Caddy

Knee Caddy is a tool to be used during knee arthroscopy, which aims to eliminate the need for multiple medical devices . It supports the limb in a variety of positions with custom sterile drapes allowing each surgeon to determine how he or she would like the leg supported during surgery.

Team members include: 

  • Dominic Lusk - School of Medicine
  • Jahnu Reddy - School of Medicine
  • Tej Sura - School of Medicine
  • Nedim Hodzic - Parks College of Engineering
  • Scott Kaar, M.D., advisor
  • Christopher Kim, M.D., advisor
Phas3

Phas3, a team from the 2016-17 cycle, came back to Demo Day to update investors on their product and seek funding for the next round of testing. Phas3 addresses the barriers to recovery by providing a product that allows patients to complete Cardiac Rehabilitation remotely. Its  remote patient monitoring system will make  recovering from heart disease easy and accessible, helping Cardiac Rehab programs increase participation and decrease associated readmissions.

Siren

Siren is a software solution designed for emergency first-responders and hospital stroke units to coordinate the care of a stroke patient. An app allows first responders to check in with stroke center physicians during an initial call for stroke symptoms. This allows first responders to take patients directly to a facility capable of thrombectomy instead of stopping first at the closest medical facility, which may not be able to perform the procedure. The team hopes to get patients treatment sooner, thereby limiting damage to the brain.

The team is currently working to bring stroke-care coordination solution to hospitals and first-responders in St. Louis. 

The team includes:

  • Ari Nazarian - School of Medicine
  • Daniel Cancilla - School of Medicine
  • Romeo Scagliarini - Parks College of Engineering
  • Randell Edgell, M.D., advisor

The arc of a MEDLaunch project follows the school calendar. The MEDLaunch board will begin sorting through clinical problem submissions over the summer. Teams form at the beginning of the school year and present their projects in spring. Each team has at least one medical student, one engineering student and one business student. 

The year ends with the Demo Day presentation with the goal of obtaining seed funding to progress to advanced prototyping, clinical trials and manufacturing.


Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.