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Pittsburgh Partnership Backs Three Up and Comers

The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse (PLSG), a public/private partnership founded in 2001 to grow Southwestern Pennsylvania's life sciences industry, has added two local companies -- Separation Design Group and ThermalTherapeutics Systems -- to its expanding investment portfolio and contributed additional funding to a firm already under its wing, Applied Computational Technologies. The bulk of the $450,000 total investment went to ThermalTherapeutics Systems. The company will use $200,000 from PLSG to develop a prototype pump for delivering chemotherapy more effectively. ThermalTherapeutics' device will deliver both intraperitoneal chemotherapy and intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemotherapy (IPHC) to treat metastastic abdominal cancers, especially ovarian and colon cancer, regardless of primary site. Currently, there is no device on the market designed specifically for treating advanced abdominal cancers. One-hundred-and-fifty-thousand dollars went to Applied Computational Technologies, to help propel the company's ProACTive product into the marketplace. ProACTive is Applied Computational Technologies' radiation dose-calculation engine, which enables highly accurate, fast treatment planning for radiation therapy. Until now, both accuracy and speed could not be reached simultaneously during treatment planning. ProACTive's increased speed and accuracy can create highly precise, individualized treatments that will significantly improve patient quality of life and drastically reduce the likelihood of radiation destroying the healthy tissue that surrounds cancerous tumors. Separation Design Group, now backed by $100,000 from PLSG, is developing a portable medical oxygen concentrator that's more maneuverable than those currently on the market. The company is incorporating technology that causes its device to operate at faster cycle times, resulting in a smaller, lighter and more energy efficient concentrator for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Separate from the PLSG funding, Separation Design Group last week received a $418,244 competitive grant for lung diseases research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Earlier this month, PLSG announced another three-way investment -- $350,000 divided among Falcon Genomics, Glucose Sensing Technologies, and Celsense. It was PLSG's second investment in Celsense. In May, the organization committed $150,000 to the firm, which is commercializing its flagship product, Cell Sense, an MRI tracer agent that labels cells in culture. Other recent PLSG investments include iNTELOMED, a new cardiovascular diagnostic firm that in July received $100,000. The company is spending the money on proof-of-concept testing and prototype development of CVInsight, a non-invasive bedside test that measures cardiovascular stability. Also in July, PLSG invested $180,000 in Cartesia Dx, to support development and testing of a prototype for its Arthritis Imager device.

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