(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Last summer, ExoRenal founder Dr. Jake Lee visited Baltimore to participate in a customer discovery program at the LaunchPort at City Garage. Now, the company is headquartered at the medical device accelerator inside Port Covington’s bus garage-turned-innovation hub.
Lee recently relocated from Vermont, moving the company to continue development of a device for home dialysis. The company grew out of 15 years of research and development by Lee that set out to bring a new generation of technology to the process of filtering and purifying blood with a machine when a kidney can no longer perform these essential functions.
ExoRenal, which was founded more than a decade later, is creating a device that includes components designed to address maintenance and environmental issues. Plus, he said, it’s designed to be easier to move around for a patient at home.
“We made a device that is very simple and light,” said Lee, who previously worked at LG Electronics, BHK and Fresenius Medical Care Korea, before moving to the U.S. The company has six team members, and maintains a lab in South Korea.
After work on feasibility, the company is entering a prototyping phase. It’ll be in an area of LaunchPort that is specifically designed for that work. The company will collaborate with LaunchPort partner Engineered Medical Systems, which has space onsite, on manufacturing. And it will be close to other medical device startups, five of whom have also relocated from other areas.
Lee came to Baltimore as one of four companies participating in the Korean Bio I-Corps program last summer. He decided to make the move after recognizing the proximity to research institutions and federal agencies in the state, as well as programs supporting entrepreneurs.
When it comes to moving into LaunchPort itself, he cited another big motivator: LaunchPort Managing Director Bob Storey, who is a medtech leader in region.
“He is a great mentor, and he gave me a lot of valuable advice because he had prior experience in the development of medical devices,” Lee said.
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