Biosafe, MedRespond and Blue Belt Tech Split $570K

MedRespond, Blue Belt Technologies and Biosafe are the latest companies to benefit from investments by The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG), a public/private partnership founded in 2001 to grow Southwestern Pennsylvania’s life sciences industry. The organization, which helps emerging companies build sustainable business models and secure capital, has committed $570,000 to the three firms.

MedRespond was granted $220,000 to help with sales and marketing of current products, and pipeline development. The company was established to commercialize a Carnegie Mellon University patented “search” technology known as the Synthetic Interview (SI), now rebranded as the Custom Conversation, for efficient dissemination of health-related information by pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, non-profit organizations and government agencies. SI’s have been identified by Business Week as one of the “21 top technologies for the 21st century.”

Blue Belt Technologies, which is developing a solution that reintroduces robotics into the operating room to enable safer, faster and more accurate treatment of osteoarthritis and other bone-related conditions, was awarded $200,000. The company’s Precision Freehand Sculpting (PFS) system will address the challenges of minimally invasive surgery, with the goal of improving patient outcomes and lowering healthcare costs. The PFS’s first target procedure is spinal laminectomy. Surgeons’ need for accuracy, safety and reduction in procedural time, coupled with patients’ desire for a minimally invasive procedures, make laminectomies ideal for the PFS. It is anticipated that in 2008 there will be 146,000 laminectomies done in the U.S.

Finally, $150,000 went to Biosafe, which the company will put toward three new development projects: antimicrobial glass fillers for plastics; antimicrobial wipes or spray for healthcare facilities; and antimicrobial technology used for therapeutic applications such as anti-HIV gel and wound healing. Biosafe’s antimicrobial HM-4100 provides protection against threatening micro-organisms. The technology prevents bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses and algae from growing. It has applications for many common manufacturing processes, such as plastic molding, liquid formulating, spray finishing and metal coating for permanent protection.

Last month, PLSG announced two other three-way backings. One, for Separation Design Group, ThermalTherapeutics Systems and Applied Computational Technologies, was worth $450,000. And the other was for $350,000, and divided among Falcon Genomics, Glucose Sensing Technologies, and Celsense. Other PLSG investments made over the summer include iNTELOMED, a new cardiovascular diagnostic firm that in July received $100,000, and Cartesia Dx, which received $180,000 that same month.

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