Medical technology company Glenveigh Medical in Chattanooga is getting nearly half a million dollars in federal grants to pay for research that officials expect will boost America's role in biomedical research.
The federal "therapeutic discovery" grants and tax credits, awarded under national health care reform legislation and announced this month, provide more than $6.7 million to Tennessee recipients whose projects show "significant potential to produce new and cost-saving therapies, support good jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The only Chattanooga-based company awarded the grant this year was Glenveigh, which specializes in maternal-fetal medicine products. The company moved from Research Triangle Park in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., to Chattanooga in 2007.
About $81,000 in grants will help Glenveigh create a device for measuring cervical dilation during labor, and an additional $156,000 will help the company develop treatment for pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition for pregnant women.
The company also received $244,479 for a device that can slow blood loss in women hemorrhaging after giving birth, said the company's founders.
The "Ebb" device, developed by Salt Lake City-based maternal-fetal medicine specialists and licensed by Glenveigh, can reduce post-partum blood loss and prevent a hysterectomy or even death, said Richard Proctor, president and CEO of Glenveigh.
"This device is going to save lives," he said.
In the United States, hemorrhage is a complication in about 5 percent of births, meaning the condition affects 200,000 mothers every year, according to the company.
Glenveigh leaders hope to get the product to obstetrical teams at Erlanger and Parkridge Health Systems soon, but already "we're getting them in hospitals across the country," said Dr. David Adair, Chattanooga maternal-fetal medicine specialist and co-founder of Glenveigh.
"Maternal mortality has increased over the last decade. The biggest single thing that is largely predictable, preventable and treatable is hemorrhage," he said.
Bridget Hayes, director of labor and delivery at Parkridge East, said the device will be a tremendous help in treating post-partum bleeding, which quickly can become life threatening..
"Overall, it will help decrease the incidence of maternal mortality," she said. "Considering it is 127,000 deaths [worldwide] that occur yearly from post-partum hemorrhage, it is a significant" risk during labor.