For Immediate Release
February 27, 2003
Bio•Track awarded grant to assist the special forces
RICHMOND, Va. – Bio•Track, LLC, a biomedical product development company located at the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, has received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a state-of-the-art, one-handed battlefield tourniquet and breathing tube that can be used in remote locations by Special Operations Forces.
Bio•Track (http://www.bio-track.com/) will team with Virginia Commonwealth University’s Reanimation Engineering Shock Center (VCURES) to evaluate product requirements, identify technologies and develop prototypes for lightweight, durable medical devices appropriate for untrained personnel in austere, remote conditions. These devices include a one-handed tourniquet and an airway management device.
"The state of the art for tourniquets used to treat the wounded in forward-fighting forces has not changed much since World War II," said Mark Licata, a biomedical engineer and president of Bio•Track. "With our country’s increased use of Special Forces far removed from traditional battlefield medical care, these devices will help save lives."
The prototypes will be developed utilizing feedback from the highly trained Special Forces Medics at the Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center in Fort Bragg, N.C. The Center was established in 1996 by the Department of Defense to consolidate and standardize medical training and enhance medical skills among all military branches of Special Operations Forces, using the latest training techniques and technological advances.
"The increasing role of the Special Forces requires development of medical tools to meet unique needs," said Kevin R. Ward, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine and physiology at VCU, director of research in the VCU Department of Emergency Medicine and associate director of VCURES (http://www.vcures.org). "Despite the use of tourniquets for hundreds of years as a temporary life-saving tool on the battlefield, current tourniquets used by the military in many instances are not adequate and, many times, simply are homemade by the soldier or medic. In terms of airway devices, there have been few devices created solely to function in the austere out-of-the-hospital environment."
The Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant is given for projects that serve a specific need and have the potential for commercialization in the private sector and/or military markets. The DOD currently is funding entrepreneurial projects that could assist Special Operations Forces operating in remote locations for extended periods without access to conventional military medical support.
The second phase of the SBIR program can award up to $500,000 and involve field demonstrations of prototypes and assessment of products in preparation for Federal Drug Administration approval applications.
VCURES is a multidisciplinary effort among clinicians, basic scientists and engineers at VCU to improve survival from the disease state called shock. VCURES has a unique research and education program concentrating on combat casualty care called Operation Purple Heart (http://www.vcu.edu/vcures/purpleheart.htm).
Virginia BioTechnology Research Park
Phone: (804) 828-6884
Phone: (804) 828-9329
Web site: http://www.bio-track.com/
Kevin Ward, MD
Virginia Commonwealth University
Phone: (804) 225-4861
Web site: http://www.vcures.org/