Author: Brian Conlin

Startups

Video: LifeSprout Bringing Soft Tissue Reconstruction Alternative to Market

Video: LifeSprout Bringing Soft Tissue Reconstruction Alternative to Market

 
In 2017, more than a quarter million women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and many will have lumpectomies and mastectomies to remove their tumors and some surrounding tissue.

Though cancer-free, patients who undergo these procedures often have visible defects, even after painful reconstructive surgery, which uses soft tissue taken from another part of the body.

Unsatisfied with current practices that call for invasive reconstructive procedures, Sashank Reddy and Justin Sacks, two plastic surgeons at Johns Hopkins, teamed with Hai-Quan Mao, now the associate director of the University’s Institute for NanoBioTechnology, and Russ Martin, a postdoctoral fellow in Mao’s lab, to create something better.

LifeSprout - FastForward 1812 - Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures

The team developed a nanofiber-hydrogel composite material that immediately restores three-dimensional volume, feels like your body’s own soft tissue and can promote tissue regeneration over time. Importantly, while the material retains the shape and structural integrity of native tissue, it can be administered in the office through a simple injection.

Soon after, they co-founded LifeSprout and began working with Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV) to help bring their novel technology to patients faster. LifeSprout aims to develop a suite of products to address soft tissue needs in the aesthetic and reconstructive markets.

The startup is soon to be a tenant of the FastForward 1812 innovation hub and has taken advantage of the Cohen Translational Engineering Fund and the Louis B. Thalheimer Fund for Translational Research.

(Click here to learn more about JHTV translational funding opportunities.)

The video below tells LifeSprout’s story through the eyes of Kundry Grove, a breast cancer patient who underwent reconstructive surgery.

 

Meet the Entrepreneur

Meet the Entrepreneur: Intelehealth’s Neha Goel Increasing Global Access…

More than 400 million people around the world lack access to basic health care because they live in rural underserved communities with no doctor nearby. This leads to people delaying care, traveling long distances to reach a physician and spending large amounts of time and money to get the care they need.

Intelehealth, a nonprofit in the Social Innovation Lab at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, is developing low bandwidth telemedicine technologies to improve access to primary health care for these underserved populations.

Its co-founder and CEO Neha Goel, a Ph.D. candidate in Health Informatics at The Johns Hopkins University, is an experienced entrepreneur in the health care sector. She founded Global Protect Dental in 2011 to introduce cutting edge dental technologies to dentists in India, and led the company as CEO until 2015.

In between her studies and entrepreneurship, Goel took time to answer our questions about Intelehealth, her Baltimore support system and her favorite places in the city. Take a look!

In a few words, what does your company do?
Improve access to comprehensive primary healthcare through telemedicine.

(Editor’s note: Check out the video below to learn more about Intelehealth.)

What are your goals, and how will you get there?
Our goal for the coming year is to improve access to health for a quarter million people by partnering with grassroots-level health organizations and setting up telemedicine programs.

Why have you chosen Baltimore as your startup’s home?
Because of the incubation support we have received at Johns Hopkins as students. Also the proximity to the global health policy makers, funders and health organizations that are based in Washington, D.C. make it a great place to grow a nonprofit focused on global health.

What opportunities make it a good place for growing a business?
It’s heartening to see the startup ecosystem growing in Baltimore. The access to some of the leading health systems in the world make it a unique place to have a health-tech startup. When you add translational programs like the Maryland Innovation Initiative, TEDCO’s Propel Baltimore Fund and accelerator programs, it makes for a nidus for innovative businesses.

In terms of startups and innovation, what’s one thing that separates Baltimore from other tech hotbeds?
I would say it’s unique in that so much innovation is happening at different universities like Johns Hopkins, the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Investment in these universities is fostering strong on-campus startup ecosystem.

If you could give your past self one piece of advice for creating a startup, what would it be?
Fail fast. An entrepreneur lives in a world of failure. Get comfortable with it, learn quickly and learn when to let go of a bad idea.

What book are you currently reading?
To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy.

What innovator do you look up to? Why?
I think the most impactful innovations of our time cannot be attributed to just one person – innovation is a team sport. For example, an innovation team I look up to is that of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Jony Ive. For an idea to be successful, it really needs a team of very smart people who have bought into a common vision and who work well together. At Intelehealth we’re all about team-based innovation.

It’s after a long day of work, and you don’t feel like cooking. What is your go-to Baltimore restaurant?
Oh my gosh, there are far too many! Food is a religion. Golden West Cafe, The Helmand, Thai Arroy, Ban Thai, One World Cafe, Saigon Today and, for dessert, Marie Louise Bistro.

What’s your favorite nonwork-related thing to do in Baltimore?
Do Yoga and meditate. There are a lot of great meetups and places in Baltimore. I lead a meditation meetup every Saturday in Canton and have met the most incredible people!

Want to learn more about the Social Innovation Lab? Click here!

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