Esculon LLC, based in Lincoln, has received a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and $97,500 matching funding from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) to develop an innovative product for post-op surgical care.
Last year, the company also received a $50,000 prototype grant from DED to launch the product’s design.
The medical device is a small-bore chest tube that is inserted into patients who have undergone cardiothoracic surgery to ensure proper post-surgical drainage.
Approximately 750,000 major cardiothoracic surgeries are performed yearly. Existing chest drainage systems, which have not been updated in decades, have been known to be ineffective at draining fluid, sometimes leading to major post-surgical complications, life-threatening conditions, longer hospital stays and increased health care costs.
This new device is designed to minimize any potential injury to surrounding organs that may occur with larger tubes. It also is expected to facilitate proper fluid drainage thereby promoting full healing and recovery in less time.
“The medical technology industry provides high-quality jobs, such as those in research, development, and manufacturing, but most opportunities are clustered on the coasts,” said Evan Luxon, President and CEO of Esculon LLC. “As a native Nebraskan, I am excited for Esculon to play a part in growing the state’s nascent medtech ecosystem, thanks in part to funding from NSF and DED.”
Founded in 2015, Esculon is the eighth spin-out of TheraNova, a San-Francisco-based medical device incubator with a track record for creating companies that address large markets with unmet clinical needs. Esculon plans to leverage TheraNova’s proven model and medtech expertise throughout the development and commercialization stages of its product.
The Business Innovation Act provides funding to help Nebraska businesses develop new technologies that lead to quality job opportunities across the state. Competitive grants provide funding and technical assistance for research at Nebraska institutions, new product development and testing, and help expand small business and entrepreneur outreach efforts. The SBIR/STTR Initiative supports applications to the federal Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program with a Phase 0 Planning Grant and subsequent Phase I and II match for successful applicants.
The NSF SBIR/STTR program goals are to transform scientific discoveries into tangible societal and economic advancement by helping support private sector commercialization of technological innovations. Through the program, startups and small businesses realize greater opportunities and incentives to take on cutting-edge, high-quality scientific research and development.