Health tech / Startups / Universities

With move to Baltimore, JuneBrain eyes growth from a base at University of Maryland BioPark

The medical device company is working to develop an eye-scanning device for eye and brain diseases. Its new HQ in the Lion Brothers Building is "perfect for this next phase of JuneBrain," said CEO Samantha Scott.

Dr. Samantha Scott is the founder of JuneBrain. (Courtesy photo)
The expansion of teleheath over the last two years means more providers are thinking outside the clinic. A company that makes a device which fits into this shift recently moved into Baltimore City.

JuneBrain recently became a tenant of the University of Maryland BioPark, moving its headquarters in August from Rockville into innovation space at the Lion Brothers building on Hollins Street. The six-employee company, which is working to develop an eye-scanning system that enables detection and treatment of eye and brain disease outside of the clinic, sees the new space as a base from which to continue to grow over the next year.

Dr. Samantha Scott said moving to the city will help to fuel collaboration for the company. Along with its newfound proximity to the University of Maryland, it already works with Johns Hopkins. Going forward, it will seek to bolster its work with institutions as it moves toward clinical trials and other key steps. It will also be hiring, with plans to add up to five teammates in the near future to a group with talent that spans biomedical engineering, neurology, optometry and software.

Working in close proximity also helps. As UM BioPark Executive Director Jane Shaab points out, it has space alongside two other companies building medical devices, ARMR Systems and Emit Imaging. That clustering effect, both within the Lion Brothers Building and in Baltimore’s wider community of medical device startups, lends itself to sharing ideas with other entrepreneurs.

“You form relationships with your peers and then they support you and you support them,” Shaab said. “From a behind the scenes viewpoint it’s magical to watch.”

The space can serve to connect the company with the startup ecosystem and leaders in Baltimore, Shaab said.¬†It’s frequently a place where entrepreneurs, investors and elected leaders visit. It helps that there are food options nearby, as well.

“It’s perfect for this next phase of JuneBrain,” Scott said of the BioPark.

A biomedical engineer, Scott founded the company in 2017. It has since received funding through the National Institutes of Health via the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, and ¬†TEDCO’s Builder Fund.

The company was borne of Scott’s research interests surrounding the brain, as well as her own experience as a neurology patient. Seeing how patients such as herself only had a clinical visit once a year, she set out to create a system that would allow clinicians to more frequently get information about patients that can help to make treatment decisions.

“We’re providing this to give more frequent, objective data that doctors can use to understand how patients are doing between those clinical visits,” she said.

That’s important when it comes to making treatment decisions about diseases that can lead to disability, such as age-related macular degeneration, or multiple sclerosis. Conditions can change quickly, she said.

A key goal is to broaden availability of technology that would typically only be available in a clinic. As the company has developed the device, a focus has been on developing the technology so that patients can use it. It’s among startups developing the tools to power a shift in healthcare that embraces not just technology, but also empowers patients.

“The goal is to expand access to these cool technologies,” Scott said.

Companies: University of Maryland BioPark
People: Jane Shaab

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