Jaundice-treating blanket

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May 26, 2015

MSU’s newest startup originated as a 2014 Design Day project

A new medical device that will improve the way infants with jaundice are treated is one step closer to market, thanks to a partnership between a new Michigan State University startup company and a Michigan-based medical sector investment firm.A Design Day project from 2014 is advancing toward use in the commercial marketplace. Originally developed by MSU biosystems engineering students, the wearable swaddle treats newborn jaundice.

The startup, TheraB Medical Products Inc., was developed by MSU students with the help of $150,000 in funding from Quantum Medical Concepts.

TheraB developed the SnugLit Portable Phototherapy Blanket, a wearable swaddle that treats newborn jaundice. The device allows parents to hold their newborn, rather than having him or her lie beneath special lights that treat the condition.

Jaundice is caused by a high level of pigment in the blood called bilirubin, which causes the skin to look yellow. A newborn baby's still-developing liver may not yet be able to remove this bilirubin from the blood.

TheraB’s swaddle provides the blue light needed to help the newborn break down the bilirubin molecules as the liver develops.

“The unique SnugLit swaddle design promotes parent-infant bonding while decreasing the stress to mother and baby, and allows for easier breastfeeding,” said TheraB CEO Ryan Jankovic. “Traditional treatments may include separating mother and infant treating the child on a light board, or the use of bulky non-portable blankets.”

Quantum Medical Concepts is a partnership of the Michigan State Medical Society and Common Wealth Enterprises. Through this partnership, Quantum provides early-stage investment funding to Michigan companies in the medical sector.

TheraB won TheHatching pitch competition grand prize in 2014, took first place in the undergraduate division of the 2014 Greenlight Business Model Competition and placed 4th in the 2014 International Business Model Competition. 

The project, originally called Swaddle-mi-Bili, was one of 150 innovative projects showcased at the MSU College of Engineering Design Day on April 25, 2014. It was created by biosystems engineering students Oliver Bloom, Vu Hoang, and Alexa Jones. Read more on its early development at: http://www.egr.msu.edu/news/2014/04/18/swaddle-mi-bili.

Co-founders of TheraB are Vu Hoang, Alexa Jones, and Oliver Bloom, who originally teamed up in the MSU College of Engineering.