Local Companies Contributing their Expertise and Innovating Products to Advance the Fight Against the Coronavirus
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia, April 6 – Several local companies are deploying their technologies in medical devices and biomanufacturing to help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are proud to see our robust biotechnology industry demonstrating incredible creativity in a time of crisis that provides economic and societal benefits to the commonwealth and the world,” said Nikki Hastings, PhD, Executive Director of the CvilleBioHub, a non-profit that connects and supports the Charlottesville-area biotechnology sector. “Local companies are applying their expertise to help develop solutions for patient monitoring, personal protective equipment, rapid diagnosis and analysis of potential therapeutics and vaccines to address the challenges of COVID-19.”
Charlottesville company Caretaker Medical develops wearable devices that measures blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and other vital signs, enabling health care workers to remotely monitor patients through its FDA approved wireless monitoring system. Jeff Pompeo, president and CEO said, “Our Caretaker patient monitor provides clinicians with ‘touchless’ ICU-quality monitoring of COVID-19 patients wirelessly from safe distances using our real-time app or secure web portal. We’re seeing unprecedented demand and we’re adding a new manufacturing facility to help us address our backlog of orders from hospitals, clinics, and quarantine centers all over the world.”
Highlights of other companies addressing the pandemic include:
- Shoe company OESH and Luna Innovations are partnering to manufacture 3D printed, reusable respirator face masks, contoured to fit the wearer
- Lumacyte is applying laser force cytology on its Radiance instrument for Rapid Viral Infectivity to speed identification of vaccine candidates
- Indoor Biotechnologies is developing genetically engineered COVID 19 proteins for research, diagnostics and vaccine development
- Lighthouse Instruments laser-based Headspace Analyzers are being used by vaccine manufacturers for process characterization studies
- ArcheMedx is offering their online interactive education platform for free to deliver COVID-19 education and training initiatives to health care workers
In addition to CvilleBioHub member companies, researchers at UVA are making substantive contributions to the COVID-19 effort by developing rapid diagnostic testing (Dr. Amy Mathers), promising peptide-based therapeutics (Dr. Molly Hughes and Dr. Matthew Crawford), and improved diagnostics and vaccines (Drs. Bill Petri and Larry Lum). The UVA Biocomplexity Institute is integrating and analyzing real-time data about the coronavirus and managing a COVID-19 surveillance dashboard that is getting a million hits a day.
CvilleBioHub is an industry-led nonprofit organization providing engagement, resourcing and advocacy to strengthen the Charlottesville-area biotechnology sector. The region supports more than 65 biotechnology organizations working to improve human health through drug development, medical devices and instrumentation, clinical research, biomanufacturing and software.