CLEVELAND, May 15 JumpStart Inc., the Northeast Ohioventure development organization that accelerates the growth of innovativeearly-stage businesses and ideas, has announced an investment commitment of$350,000 in CerviLenz(TM), Inc. The Cleveland-based company is commercializinga patented, Federal Drug Administration cleared medical device that allowsobstetricians to easily measure cervical length in pregnant women, which hasbeen established by the National Institutes of Health as an effectivepredictor of preterm birth risk.
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According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,patients at high risk for preterm births have been difficult to identify andhave accounted for more than $2 billion in annual healthcare costs.
"Until recently, the causes of preterm birth have been poorly understoodwith few existing treatment options available," said Kevin Mendelsohn, theJumpStart Entrepreneur-in-Residence who will be working with the company. "Butthe recent emergence of progesterone as a therapy to substantially reduce therisk of preterm birth has presented a significant opportunity for CerviLenz.Its medical device provides obstetricians and gynecologists a cost effectivealternative to screen women for preterm birth risk and determine whether theyare suitable candidates for the therapy or to consult with a high-riskpregnancy specialist," Mendelsohn concluded.
CerviLenz is led by Board Chairman Dr. Michael Ross, a Maternal-FetalMedicine specialist and Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor-UCLAMedical Center, and Chief Executive Officer Dean Koch, an industry veteran whohas spent the past 10 years with Adeza Biomedical, the first firm in thepreterm birth arena. Together, Dr. Ross and Mr. Koch bring extensive clinicalexperience and highly relevant sales and marketing experience in the pretermbirth market.
"Preterm birth has a profound effect on babies and their families alike.CerviLenz provides an opportunity for improved management of this significant,unmet medical need, and I am personally committed to help reduce its incidencein the United States and abroad," said Koch.
According to Koch, more than one in eight pregnant women will delivertheir baby preterm, which is defined as delivery before 37 completed weeks ofgestation, and most often as a surprise to both the women and theirphysicians. The rate of preterm birth in the United States has increased over30 percent since 1980; however, new research with progesterone is predicted toreverse this trend.
"In published work from the National Institutes of Health and others,progesterone therapy has been shown to reduce preterm birth risk, particularlyin women with a short cervix," Koch continued. "Translating suchgroundbreaking work from the research setting to the real world will presentmany challenges. The CerviLenz device will help physicians, midwives andnurses to easily and cost effectively identify pregnant women at high risk ofpreterm birth and get them the care they need to reduce the risk of deliveringtheir baby early."
The company is utilizing JumpStart's investment to help complete clinicalstudies, conduct additional market research, and engage in pre-launchmarketing efforts.
This is JumpStart's 40th investment in its 29th company. Other healthcarecompanies in JumpStart's portfolio include AcelleRx Therapeutics, AnalizaDx,CardioInsight Technologies, Great Lakes Pharmaceuticals, Synapse Biomedicaland Telerad Express.
About CerviLenz, Inc.
CerviLenz(TM), Inc., headquartered near Cleveland, Ohio, is a manufacturerand marketer of a patented, FDA cleared device to predict preterm birth riskin pregnant women by accurately measuring cervical length. Preterm birth(delivery prior to 37 completed weeks of gestation) affects almost 13 percent