Visual imagery to highlight content on this page

Johns Hopkins Cardilogist Wins Grant to Develop Surgical Device

theodore abrahamPerceptive Navigation, a medical device start-up company whose chief executive is Johns Hopkins cardiologist Dr. Ted Abraham, won a highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 2 grant. Perceptive Navigation, located at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, works to commercialize the Vu-Cath, an image-guided catheter that can be used in complex surgeries. The device, which is on a needle, is used while doing medical procedures on small areas of the body.

The federal government’s SBIR program encourages small businesses to embark on research and development that has the potential for commercialization.“Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization,” according to the program’s website. “By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.”

Hopkins Happenings asked Dr. Abraham to discuss his SBIR grant. Abraham is director of Johns Hopkins Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center of Excellence and an associate professor of medicine.

Hopkins  Happenings: Tell us about Perceptive Navigation.

Abraham: Perceptive Navigation is a medical device development company that seeks to commercialize an imaging-based interventional catheter device that could be used in multiple medical and surgical disciplines. These include but are not limited to interventional radiology, cardiology, pulmonology and urology.

Hopkins  Happenings: How much is Perceptive Navigation receiving through the SBIR grant? How will the grant money be used?

Abraham:  The SBIR grant will provide Perceptive Navigation just over $1 million to refine the current prototype device and to test it in preclinical studies and initial human pilot studies.

Hopkins Happenings: What is the problem your device is trying to solve?

Abraham: In almost all disease conditions, access to tissue is often critical to confirming the diagnoses and delivering definitive therapy to a particular location. The current means of access are limited and fail in about a third of the attempts. Perceptive Navigation devices will provide a reliable, safe and economical way of accessing various tissues and organs without the need for expensive instrumentation or high-end facilities.

Hopkins Happenings: What is the next step?

Abraham: Our next critical steps are to refine our current prototype and make it production and clinical grade. This will enable us to conduct essential studies in the preclinical and clinical setting. We are also in the process of submitting our FDA application.

Hopkins Happenings: What else would you like to add?

Abraham: Perceptive Navigation estimates that we are about 18 to 24 months from a marketable device. We have accordingly expanded our team bringing on (BioHealth Innovation  Entrepreneur-in-Residence) Todd Chappell as the chief executive officer and Paul Southworth as our senior advisor. Todd and Paul have extensive experience with university-based startup-up companies and have developed successful companies and been extremely effective in taking innovative medical products to market.