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Medical device developer receives $1M in federal funding

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Indianapolis-based FAST Diagnostics, a developer of a method to quickly measure kidney function, announced today that it has received $1 million in federal funding.

The company, housed in the Indiana University Emerging Technologies Center downtown on West 10th Street, will use the grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop its technology.

The federal funding follows a $2 million grant the company received last year from the state’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.

“We are excited to advance our whole product development, move into pre-clinical trials and know that we are closer to eliminating some human suffering and improving [acute kidney injury] patient outcomes,” FAST CEO Joe Muldoon said in a prepared statement.

Incorporated in 2006, FAST represents speed, but the name actually stands for functional assessment and surveillance technology.

The current accepted method to detect kidney injury is to measure creatinine, a compound in the muscles and blood that is passed in urine. It typically takes 24 hours to collect the sample and an additional three to four hours to get a lab reading. In the most critically ill patients, the inaccuracy of the method increases.

FAST Diagnostics’ technology uses fluorescent markers and optical sensors to measure kidney function in less than an hour.

The market for the device is growing. Medical statistics show acute kidney failure affects 7 percent of all hospitalized patients and 15 percent of intensive care patients. At least half of those afflicted will die.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine developed the technology. The company is partnering with Purdue University to assist in pre-clinical trials, and with Rose Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute to develop the device.

Muldoon expects human trials to begin by June 2010, with a commercial launch of the product to follow in 2012. The company has 12 employees. It plans to create up to 65 research, marketing and sales jobs to support the device’s entrance into the commercial market.

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