Making labor safer for women and their babies

On December 7, 2015, MindChild Medical announced that it had received ISO 13485:2003 certification for the design, development, and manufacturing of its Meridian family of noninvasive fetal monitors. This noninvasive device will help make labor safer for women and their babies.

MindChild is a privately funded medical device company co-founded in 2008 by Adam Wolfberg, formerly of Tufts Medical Center, Gari Clifford, formerly of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and James Robertson and Jay Ward of E-TROLZ, Incorporated.

MindChild’s principal technology platform, the MERIDIAN monitor, is designed to report fetal heart rate data that equals what can be obtained from a fetal scalp electrode, which is currently the gold standard.  The fetal electrocardiograph (ECG) metrics generated by the new MERIDIAN device will give obstetricians a deeper understanding of fetal and maternal health.

Physicians monitor fetal heartbeat to determine if the fetus is in distress. More than 85% of the 4.1 million live births in the U.S. in 2011 were attended by fetal monitoring during labor and delivery. The current technology for monitoring during labor is invasive, sometimes requiring the attachment of electrodes to the fetus’s head.  Scalp electrodes connected directly to the fetus during the late stages of labor and delivery are associated with an increased risk of infection.

The MERIDIAN fetal heart rate monitor is a totally noninvasive technology that reports ECG signals obtained from electrodes embedded in a belt placed around the mother’s abdomen. Earlier, easier fetal ECG monitoring means better care for women and their babies and fewer unnecessary C-sections.

Collaborate-Optimize-Leverage (COOL)

The formation of MindChild Medical involved a complex pooling of intellectual property from several institutions. Tufts Tech Transfer led the IP assembly effort through an innovative approach dubbed collaborate-optimize-leverage (COOL).

Most entrepreneurial endeavors are fueled by teams of people rather than individuals. Tufts Tech Transfer builds value into licensing agreements by fostering partnerships across institutions. MindChild was created by leveraging an existing scientific collaboration to pool IP from a consortium involving Tufts Medical Center, MIT, E-Trolz, and two French research institutes.

One advantage of this COOL partnership is that each licensing entity obtains a portion of the revenue generated from IP owned by the other four members of the consortium. The collaboration increased the overall value of the MindChild license and improved the likelihood of a return of revenue to each member of the consortium. For MindChild, the consortium allowed management to concentrate on product development and fundraising rather than on individual licensing negotiations with multiple entities. Under this COOL approach, Tufts Tech Transfer assumed a greater management responsibility on behalf of the consortium and successfully closed the negotiation with the start-up.

In the words of Jay Ward, executive vice president of MindChild, “Tufts Tech Transfer is a vital partner for MindChild Medical. Their professionalism, creativity, and enthusiasm for start-up company formation and IP licensing has allowed our company to rapidly advance new fetal monitoring technologies. We appreciate their continued support.”