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October 1, 2013

Otomagnetics Receives Inaugural Rybski MedTech Award

Award Recognizes Promising Entrepreneur

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) announced that Otomagnetics – a start-up firm that has developed a “magnetic syringe” that directs therapy to hard-to-reach locations – has been awarded the inaugural Virginia Shimer Rybski Memorial Award, recognizing the potential of a promising entrepreneur or entrepreneurial company.

Otomagnetics, a University of Maryland-College Park start-up, is commercializing a platform technology to minimally-invasively direct therapeutic payloads to hard-to-reach anatomical targets. The first target for the company’s proprietary magnetic delivery system is the middle and inner ear, to treat conditions such as sudden hearing loss, tinnitus and middle ear infections. Other potential markets include drug delivery to the eye, the dental market, and neuro-degenerative diseases.

Otomagnetics was chosen to receive the first-ever Virginia Shimer Rybski Memorial Award since “the company focused on a specific clinical issue with a significant unmet need,” said award judge Dr. Jeffrey Hausfeld, chairman and founder of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs. “We appreciate the science of non-invasively directing bio-compatible nano-particles and payloads through tissue in order to bring therapeutics to hard-to-reach targets such as the inner ear. The judges appreciated the fact that this is a novel, platform technology and that Dr. Shapiro did an excellent job at conveying the promise of a very useful clinical device that will hopefully improve patient care and outcomes.”

The technology was developed by a team of researchers led by Dr. Benjamin Shapiro at the Fischell Department of Bioengineering and the Institute for Systems Research, at the University of Maryland at College Park. Financial support was provided by the State of Maryland including the Technology Development Corporation and Maryland Industrial Partnerships, as well as from the UK-based Action on Hearing Loss and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC.

“Our goal is to move our magnetic delivery technology from the lab to the market so that it can help patients,” said Dr. Shapiro. “To have a panel of experts, from clinicians to investors and regulatory advisors, see the potential of our approach and award us the first-ever Virginia Shimer Rybski prize, that is a distinction and an honor for us. It will certainly aid our efforts to develop this technology.”

The Virginia Shimer Rybski Memorial Award was created to encourage the enthusiastic pursuit of business excellence in the medical technology industry in memory of the late entrepreneur and patient care advocate Virginia Rybski, president and CEO of Regenesis Biomedical and a member of AdvaMed’s Board of Directors and the Association’s Emerging Growth Company Council Executive Committee, who passed away earlier this year. 

The award will be presented each year to a single presenting company or entrepreneur. This year’s award includes:

  • A $10,000 grant to be applied towards expenses required for commercializing an innovative medical technology;
  • Complimentary membership in AdvaMed for two years; and
  • A complimentary full-access pass to AdvaMed 2014 in Chicago, Illinois, October 6-8, 2014.

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AdvaMed member companies produce the medical devices, diagnostic products and health information systems that are transforming health care through earlier disease detection, less invasive procedures and more effective treatments. AdvaMed members range from the largest to the smallest medical technology innovators and companies. For more information, visit www.advamed.org.