As a key U.S government initiative, the highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program aims to stimulate scientific excellence and technological innovation by funding new ideas and supporting the nation’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Hospi Corporation’s Macy Catheter® is a rectal medication administration device and an innovation that has benefited from the SBIR program. Invented by 20-year veteran hospice nurse Brad Macy, the Macy Catheter is designed to provide a simple, discreet and comfortable way to deliver liquids and medication to patients who can’t swallow. The device is particularly relevant for the millions of patients near end-of-life and in hospice care. The Macy Catheter leverages the benefits of the rectal administration route – which is effective absorption of many medications and water.
In recent years, funding for new technologies in the medical device field has been limited. That’s exactly why Hospi co-founders pursued SBIR grants upon establishing the company in 2012. In an effort to create an optimized rectal medication administration device, Hospi applied for and received a Phase 1 SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF SBIR project has been directed toward developing an optimized design and prototype of the device, emphasizing key attributes such as clog-resistant ports. Hospi also received a Phase 1b continuation grant to develop an accessory for the Macy Catheter: a system to prepare suspensions from pills. Creating suspensions from pills and tablets is presently cumbersome for caregivers and can result in large particles in the suspension promoting clogging of the delivery system. With the NSF’s support, Hospi created a prototype of the LiquiPill™ system to help the caregiver more easily prepare and administer suspensions that do not clog feeding tubes, the Macy Catheter, and other similar devices.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), through the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) complemented the NSF’s support with another SBIR grant. The NIH awarded Hospi a Phase 1 SBIR grant for the development of a biocompatible version of the Macy Catheter suitable for safe use in humans. This effort has been directed toward device optimization for biocompatibility, development of instructions for use of the device, and verification of device usability.
Due to the successful execution of the SBIR funded efforts, Hospi has leveraged venture financing to support commercialization efforts, including an application to market the rectal medication administration device – which will be known as the Macy Catheter– to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Hospi Corporation also plans Phase 2 proposals to further research rectal absorption of medications and to support the development of new product features to facilitate use in applications beyond hospice and palliative care settings.