San Antonio — There are obvious physical difficulties that people with spinal-cord injuries face. One that may not be top of mind, but can be both physically and emotionally taxing, is the inability to control their bladders, says Pratap Khanwilkar of San Antonio’s InCube Labs.
InCube Labs is working with a researcher from the University of Pittsburgh to build a medical device that may allow those people to once again normally use their bladders—or at least to replicate normal use. The Department of Defense awarded Changfeng Tai, an associate professor of urology at University of Pittsburgh, a $10 million, four-year contract to build a device that can be submitted to the FDA for regulatory testing . The university has subcontracted InCube to help Tai do so.
“It’s very debilitating from a quality of life perspective,” says Khanwilkar, InCube’s vice president of product development and the project’s manager. “You want to restore people to their quality of life, to as normal or near normal as possible.”
The device that Tai developed is an implant, which uses electricity to trigger neuromodulators in the bladder and the urinary sphincter. Those nerves would normally interact with the brain through the spinal cord—to either tense the urinary sphincter to make it store urine in the bladder or to relax it in order to help a person urinate, as well as to contract the bladder. However, they lose that connection after a spinal-cord injury, Khanwilkar says.
InCube Labs, which has offices in San Antonio and San Jose, CA, is a medical device and drug therapy incubator of sorts, spinning out businesses based on technologies that it sees as viable products. The company was founded by inventor Mir Imran in 1995, and is now incubating six businesses in its San Antonio office, which opened in 2010....
San Antonio — Mir Imran, the founder and CEO of InCube Labs, has more than 200 patents to his name and has created more than 20 companies through InCube, a healthcare-focused research and development business that invents new technology with the goal of spinning them into separate businesses.
Maybe, then, it’s not surprising that Imran says he can’t play favorites when it comes to his inventions, which have attracted investors such as Google Ventures and buyers like St. Jude Medical in St Paul, MN. Instead, he can just list the two businesses that most recently attracted multiple millions of dollars in funding.
Fe3 Medical, an InCube startup that was developed at the company’s facilities in San Antonio, raised $11 million of Series B funding this week for a patch it has developed that the company says can deliver iron into a patient’s bloodstream thanks to an electric current generated from the patch. The company is targeting people with anemia who react poorly to iron pills or liquid supplements, which can upset the gastrointestinal system and cause anything from constipation to diarrhea....