MDC Supported by UM Ventures to Develop a Novel, Low Cost Ventilator

MDC Supported by UM Ventures to Develop a Novel, Low Cost Ventilator

For Immediate Release

Baltimore MD | April 30, 2020

The Maryland Development Center is pleased to announce a partnership with UM Ventures for the development of a novel low cost ventilator. MDC’s design is based on two principles: Access to the patient’s airway without the need for intubation; and jet ventilation to provide a gentle air/oxygen mix to the patient to maintain O2 and CO2 within normal ranges.

Research by MDC co-founders Dr. Aldo Iacono and Dr. Jeffrey S. Wolf has shown low flow oxygen delivered through a small catheter into the distal airway could maintain SpO2 at normal levels for a sustained period. Based on this Iacono, Wolf, and MDC co-founder Dr. Rajabrata Sarkar and the MDC engineering team developed a novel device called EO2 for an emergency tracheostomy. Originally intended for emergency resuscitation, the EO2 device can be used to access a patient’s airway for ventilation without the need to intubate the patient. Intubation is a skill that requires training and practice. It can release aerosols with particles from a patient’s lungs that could infect caregivers. The EO2 device addresses both of these issues: automating airway access using a machine learning algorithm to locate the cricothyroid membrane and create the opening, then inserting a small cannula into the distal airway, limiting aerosols.

“I believe this is a great ventilator system as it avoids a tube placed in the patient’s mouth making the new tracheal tube system more comfortable for the patient, avoiding the need for large amounts of sedation, and allowing for speaking and communications to healthcare staff and potentially eating and drinking. There should be a cost benefit and ability to save lives by using the system in rural US locations where subspecialty care is not always offered and in countries that do not have the means to purchase high-cost ventilator systems,” said Dr. Iacono. 

“The concerns for ventilator shortages have really driven innovation. Alternative ventilatory devices that can be easily produced and delivered will hopefully prevent death from ventilator rationing like those seen in Italy,” said Dr. Wolf.

“MDC was created to advance inventions such as the emergency airway device into the marketplace. We are fortunate to be able to partner with UM Ventures, Dr. Wolf and Dr. Iacono, to develop this novel ventilation system in this critical period,” said Dr. Gil Blankenship, Managing Director of MDC.

About UM Ventures

UM Ventures was established to support the next generation of innovation and discoveries. With proper funding, these technologies will be translated into medical applications that can reach the patients and clinicians who need them now. For more information about these programs and how you can support their advancement, please contact Phil Robilotto, Associate Vice President, Office of Technology Transfer, at 410-706-2378 or

About Maryland Development Center

The Maryland Development Center is a startup studio created to commercialize intellectual property developed in Maryland’s rich research enterprises. Since its founding MDC has explored dozens of technologies, created 7 companies, and filed numerous patents. Maryland has the largest federal research budget in the United States; MDC was created to help realize some of the commercial value of the extraordinary research programs at the State’s great universities and laboratories.

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