University of Washington healthcare IT and tech spinoffs drive medical innovations to improve health outcomes

Written by CoMotion Staff / March 27, 2020

The University of Washington has spun out many successful startups in biotech and health IT. From C-SATS, the ongoing surgical skill development platform acquired by Johnson & Johnson, to Universal Cells, acquired by Astellas Pharma, whose proprietary Universal Donor Cell technology makes stem cells compatible with everyone.

Below are highlights of four UW health IT and healthcare tech spinoffs who are going strong, and whose innovations have been commercialized with the support of CoMotion, the University of Washington’s collaborative innovation hub.

T4M (TransformativeMed)

T4M (TransformativeMed), in use at more than 130 hospitals and health systems, optimizes the electronic health record (EHR) with workflow-integrated apps and a specialty-specific user interface that extends EHR functionality to fit clinical processes. Their Core Workflow Manager — a desktop and mobile app geared toward streamlining patient care — allows doctors and clinicians to schedule multidisciplinary rounds, simplify patient handoffs, and make timely discharges.

In response to COVID-19, T4M is rapidly developing a free COVID-19 screening and tracking tool. Now the official record of truth for UW Medicine, the tool will become available to their clients and beyond on an expanding basis. Learn more on this dedicated page on their website. Over the years, T4M benefitted from CoMotion’s patent management, licensing and tradeshow support. The technology was developed under the guidance of company founder and principal investigator Eric Van Eaton, a surgeon at Harborview Medical Center, and led by CEO Doug Cusick, alumni of the UW School of Pharmacy.

Format Health

Format Health is a resuscitation company focused on the quality of patient care in cardiac arrest events by creating and optimizing intuitive digital health solutions for providers. Their RevivePro system, available for demo, is a hand-held platform for guidance and documentation in cardiac arrest events. Paired with their CodeBlue IQ Data Analytics & Reporting System, they provide state-of-the-art solutions for cardiac arrest care and management. RevivePro offers users an intuitive and easy-to-use interface with cognitive aids (prompts, alerts and timers) to improve team performance and produce a better record.

The technology was developed under the guidance of Brian Ross, anesthesiologist at the UW Medical Center and UW professor emeritus of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. The Format Health team has taken advantage of many of CoMotion’s services from participation in customer development/marketing training and our biannual DubPitch event, to funding, IP strategy, and patent filing support. Format Health is led by CEO and former entrepreneur-in-residence, Brian Howe.

Proprio

Proprio is a proprietary system built to harness the power of machine learning (ML) and computer vision to help surgeons navigate in 3D. They enhance human capabilities with greater insight, pinpoint accuracy and better outcomes. Proprio permits teams to see through obstructions, magnify in and out without losing depth of field or surface detail, align tools with precise pre-operative plans, and collaborate with colleagues anywhere in the world. See coverage about Proprio in Seattle Business Magazine about how virtual reality is transforming the delivery of healthcare.

The principal investigators are co-founder Josh Smith, Zeutschel Professor in Entrepreneurial Excellence, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, and who leads the Sensor Systems research group at the UW, and Sam Browd, UW professor of Neurological Surgery and adjunct professor of Medical Bioengineering and neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Harborview and UW Medical Center. Heading Proprio’s engineering efforts is computer vision PhD James Youngquist, while founder and CEO Gabriel Jones is an alumni of the UW Foster School of Business MBA program. The project leveraged multiple CoMotion resources and services including funding via the Innovation Gap Fund, patent filing and licensing. Proprio has raised $7M in seed funding from investors including Intel, HTC, The Venture Reality Fund, Presence Capital, L2 Ventures and Acequia Capital, and are in late-stage development, preparing for FDA submissions.

KitoTech

KitoTech Medical’s product microMend® is a unique new alternative to sutures, surgical glues and common adhesive strips for closing the skin surface as well as protecting the incision site afterwards. microMend consists of an array of tiny metal staples attached to an adhesive backing that achieves similar holding strength to sutures with the ease of applying a bandage, and provides a cost-effective, time saving, and easy-to-use option for closing lacerations, skin tears, surgical incisions, and other wounds.

The technology was developed by Marco Rolandi while Assistant Professor at the UW Department of Materials Science & Engineering. CoMotion connected the team with entrepreneur-in-residence turned KitoTech CEO, Ron Berenson, leveraged our funding and grant resources, and received support for developing IP.

On the horizon

Other UW innovations in the health IT or healthcare space on the horizon include the nascent CoughBox, a device that tracks respiratory symptoms for clinical trials, led by principal investigator Matt Whitehill, research assistant and current doctoral student at Shwetak Patel’s Ubicomp Lab in the Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. See coverage via KING5 about their work and requests for volunteers to help train their app by submitting digital coughs and other sounds, or go to the UbiCompLab Cough Study page directly to participate. Another is Downstream Therapeutics, a drug/device combo that will reduce cell injury after restoration of blood flow for better patient outcomes. It is led by principal investigators Alberto Aliseda, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Adjunct in Neurological Surgery and Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Graham Nichol, UW Professor of Medicine, Adjunct Professor in Emergency Medicine. Both of these innovations took part in CoMotion’s most recent Idea To Plan training. Hear what UW researchers have to say about their experience with Idea To Plan in this video.

If you are University of Washington faculty, post doc, grad student or staff and would like to know how to take your research from idea to impact, or just have an idea, contact CoMotion to begin your journey and be among the inventors who keep the UW at the forefront of life-changing innovations.