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Bangor company receives $1M federal grant to advance its growth

BY Staff

7/16/2018
Courtesy / University of Maine
Courtesy / University of Maine
Activas Diagnostics in Bangor has received a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further its work on a diagnostic sleep monitoring system as well as develop a plan for scaling up its commercial potential.

Activas Diagnostics in Bangor has received a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further its work on a diagnostic sleep monitoring system as well as develop a plan for scaling up its commercial potential.
"It's kind of like artificial intelligence,” co-founder Ali Abedi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, told Maine Public.
The $1 million grant comes from the Small Business Innovation Research Award from the National Institute of Health’s Institute on Aging.
According to a University of Maine news release, the home-based sleep monitoring invention developed by University of Maine researchers has the potential to help detect early symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in elders.
The two-year NIH Phase II award to Activas Diagnostics LLC focuses on bringing the spinoff company’s patented SleepMove product — a fitted mattress undersheet instrumented with 16 hybrid wireless sensors — to market as a new approach to diagnostics and monitoring in early stage neurological disease, including Alzheimer’s disease.
The company was founded by UMaine professors Marie Hayes and Abedi.
Activas Diagnostics’ SleepMove technology allows for home-based, nonintrusive recording of sleep patterns that is expected to provide a new level of accuracy for outpatient sleep recording. Adults living independently will perform a seven-day sleep study and overnight memory testing to evaluate sleep-wake and respiratory status during sleep.
The funding will focus on proof of concept — through clinical testing and device development to validate the SleepMove device’s predictive power — and developing an early stage commercialization plan.
The goal is to move the technology into clinical trials and establish approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The biotechnology innovation provides an assessment of respiratory signals and small sleep movements, including arousals, to evaluate mild cognitive impairment.
Activas Diagnostics, established in 2009 and based in the UpStart Center for Entrepreneurship in Orono, develops noninvasive wireless sensor system and software products for diagnostics of traumatic brain injury. The company started with funding from the Department of Defense, which is interested in the potential of the SleepMove technology to aid individuals with traumatic brain injury in Phase I.
Through the years, other funding sources have included NASA, Maine Economic Improvement Fund, the Maine Technology Institute and NIH.
Hayes, a professor of psychology, and Abedi have been collaborating on the technology for almost 10 years.