On September 22, 2020 the NIH’s NIDDKD, (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), announced the award of an STTR grant to Cerovations to fund development of an innovative medical device to reduce the risk of contamination, and subsequent peritonitis, associated with peritoneal dialysis. The project is titled ‘Contamination resistant interconnection for reducing peritoneal dialysis-associated peritonitis -DK126586’. Nearly half a million people in the United States are on dialysis, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Roughly 85% of them travel to a clinic for their treatments. Dialysis patients who travel to clinics are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and getting seriously ill with it, said Dr. Anjay Rastogi, director of the UCLA CORE Kidney Program.
The Cerovations’ project is based on a University of Minnesota invention which Cerovations licensed. The inventor, Ibrahim Yekinni, was a member of the University’s Medical Device Fellows program. Tom Viker, Cerovations VP of Research and Development, is the project’s Principal Investigator. Tom, who is also a graduate of the Fellows program, will be working closely with Ibrahim to refine and evaluate the peritoneal dialysis device. Ibrahim observed, ‘During the course of the Fellows’ program, I became interested in finding an elegant, low-cost solution to reduce contamination that could be built directly into the device, and that could also help patients in the under-developed parts of the world.’ Tom added that, ‘This program holds great potential to help thousands of people around the world each year. The design of the interconnection system has progressed considerably and could potentially be ready for clinical evaluations as soon as 2021.’
Cerovations is a Twin Cities-based early-stage technology accelerator. Cerovations in-licenses promising early stage intellectual property and works with inventors and investigators to apply for NIH small business innovation grants to fund the development projects required to de-risk the technology. Cerovations earned a separate NIH SBIR grant in 2019 for a neurosurgical device to reduce the rates of obstruction in hydrocephalus patients.