Marius Florescu, MD, receives NIH accelerator funding

Marius Florescu, MD

Marius Florescu, MD

UNMC interventional nephrologist, Marius Florescu, MD has been awarded $100,000 to support the development of a device that may help patients achieve vascular access for dialysis treatment.

The award, from the Midwest Biomedical Accelerator Consortium, a NIH Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH)-led by the University of Missouri, will be matched by an additional $100,000 from UNMC.

Dr. Florescu’s invention, the BioFlow, is a coil of bioabsorable magnesium alloy. It is designed to help support the maturation of an arteriovenous fistula (AVF), which is a connection between an artery and a vein that provides the vascular access necessary for filtering the blood during hemodialysis treatment. Commercial development of the BioFlow is being led by the UNeTech Institute, UNMC’s on-campus, university-supported startup incubator.

For almost half a million Americans, hemodialysis is a life-saving replacement for kidney function, but the vascular access required for this treatment remains a major challenge. Because AVFs fail at a rate of about 50%, tens of thousands of AVF surgeries must be repeated several times, subjecting patients to unnecessary invasive surgeries and extended reliance on harmful catheters for vascular access.

The BioFlow is deployed into a vein as it is sutured to an artery during AVF surgery, holding the vein open and at an angle conducive to natural hemodynamics, which encourages the AVF to mature into a functional access site for hemodialysis. After a few weeks, at which point the AVF should be safely past the risky early phase of maturation, the BioFlow dissolves safely into the bloodstream.

“We are grateful to the NIH, MBArC, and UNMC for supporting this very important work to create a product that will make dialysis access easier to achieve,” Dr. Florescu said. “With the help of the UNeTech Institute, we are advancing the BioFlow and proving that it can improve success rates for AVF maturation.”

In addition to monetary support for early-stage product development, the accelerator consortium puts projects through a commercialization boot camp that trains academic researchers in biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship. It also connects them with subject matter experts who provide guidance in overcoming a range of potential translational obstacles — from regulatory pathways and reimbursement strategies to marketing consulting and relationships with industry partners. 

“The goal of MBArC is to accelerate the translation of academic biomedical innovations into products that improve patient and health care,” said Jaya Ghosh, PhD, MBArC lead program manager. “I am excited to work with Dr. Florescu and his team as they complete key proof-of-concept milestones in preparation for the next source of independent financing required to continue their product development efforts.”

The BioFlow has been developed in partnership with nanoMAG LLC, a Michigan-based medical device and engineered biomaterials manufacturer. nanoMAG’s proprietary bioabsorbable alloy, BioMg®, is a new platform technology that can be used in applications across a wide spectrum of medical devices. 

Steve LeBeau, president of nanoMAG, said, “We are extremely excited about our collaboration with Dr. Florescu and the team at UNMC. Commercialization of this innovative technology will have a tremendous positive impact on tens of thousands of hemodialysis patients.”

3 comments

  1. Roslyn Bernstein Mannon says:

    Congratulations, Marius. Very exciting work!!

  2. Hamid Band says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Florescu. Wish you continued success. Best. Hamid

  3. Lisa Allen says:

    Congratulations Dr. Florescu – it is well deserved!!

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