PATERSON, NJ - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded additional federal funding to CircuLite Inc. in Teaneck, which develops medical devices to improve the treatment of chronic heart failure. The $385,798 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, part of the HHS Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program, will fund the development of a miniature heart assist system designed specifically for infants and small children awaiting heart transplantation.
"Stimulating technological innovations among small businesses is an important step towards rebuilding our economy," said Rep. Pascrell. "By investing in medical research, we are making a commitment to protecting the health of all Americans while creating good jobs in our communities. I will continue to fight to ensure that small businesses like CircuLite have the federal resources they need to advance innovation in the medical field so we can continue to foster the health of our communities and our economy."
To date, the need for mechanical circulatory support systems for infants and small children with congenital and acquired cardiovascular disease has largely been unmet. In the United States, hundreds of infants and children die each year while waiting for a donor heart. The three rounds of HHS funding will enable CircuLite to redesign and miniaturize its SYNERGY system, which effectively treats adults with chronic heart failure, in order to accommodate the smaller anatomy and special needs of infants and small children. This latest grant funding will be utilized specifically to optimize CircuLite's Nano Pump, which is one component of the company’s Infant Circulatory Support System.
“The continuing support from government to fund a special circulatory support system just for children is gratifying, not only for us as a company, but more importantly, for the families with children that desperately need this technology,” said CircuLite CEO Paul Southworth.
This is the third HHS grant that CircuLite has received to support development of pediatric systems, with the first grant of more than $3 million awarded in 2009. Rep. Pascrell recently announced a second NIH funding initiative focused on development of a miniaturized controller module and external components for the CircuLite pediatric systems.
The SBIR program was created by the "Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982", to ensure that small businesses received a greater share of federal research and development awards. The objectives of the SBIR program are to stimulate technological innovations by small businesses; use an increasing number of small businesses to meet their R&D needs; increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from R&D awards to small businesses, and; foster and encourage the participation of small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses and small business located in HubZone areas.
Since the implementation of the SBIR program, HHS has received approximately 89,265 Phase I proposals and funded 20,120, with awards exceeding $2.4 billion. For Phase II awards, of the SBIR Program, HHS has received approximately 17,031 proposals and funded 6,951 with awards exceeding $5.7 billion.