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LifeAire Brings Air Purity to Critical-Care Medical Environments Worldwide

Medical facilities strive to keep surfaces in critical care environments as sterile as possible. But one of the most serious threats in those areas is in the air surrounding the patients and staff. Airborne chemical and biological pathogens can readily bypass many air filtration measures commonly used by medical facilities, including HEPA, ULPA, and UV […]

Medical facilities strive to keep surfaces in critical care environments as sterile as possible. But one of the most serious threats in those areas is in the air surrounding the patients and staff. Airborne chemical and biological pathogens can readily bypass many air filtration measures commonly used by medical facilities, including HEPA, ULPA, and UV light, and can enter areas where compromised patients, human embryos, and gene/cell therapies are susceptible to attack and contamination.

With a focus on this, LifeAire Systems’ Founder and CEO, Dr. Kathryn C. Worrilow, conducted more than two decades of research into air remediation, initially in the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) environment. She found that the first-line air filtration techniques in use, even combined with best-practice protocols, were inadequate to guard against airborne volatile organic compounds (VOC). This shortcoming places operating rooms, recovery rooms, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, and cell manufacturing facilities at risk.

Dr. Worrilow’s research determined that external environmental events can greatly impact the clinical outcomes of a facility. The VOCs that permeate basic filtration are generated through many sources, including seasonal changes, construction, vehicle exhaust, paint, cleaning fluids, and road resurfacing. Dr. Worrilow found that the IVF success rate dropped precipitously when nearby projects, such as road resurfacing, contaminated the air. She also determined that airborne contaminants play a major role, not only in reproductive and cell culture success, but also in the rate of hospital acquired infections (HAI) within hospital and assisted living settings.

This discovery was the genesis of the technology of Allentown-based LifeAire Systems. Dr. Worrilow led a team of chemists, engineers, and physicists to develop the LifeAire System — a patented, in-duct air purification system that incorporates a multi-stage approach with a blend of strategies that capture, kill, and filter airborne chemical and biological contaminants. Unlike common HEPA filters, the LifeAire System provides comprehensive molecular destruction of biological and chemical contaminants, delivering air with purity levels as high as 99.99 percent in a single pass.

With financial investments and strategic business insights from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Worrilow was able to move forward with transforming her realization into a commercially viable product that benefits several types of medical and research facilities. Teaming with H.T. Lyons, also based in Allentown, to manufacture Aire-IVF air purification units, LifeAire now holds 26 patents globally and has deployed units to more than 45 IVF programs worldwide. Clinical pregnancy rates have improved an average of 15 percent across all installations.

“My vision at LifeAire is to help healthcare professionals eliminate air as a potentially adverse factor in the function of a facility. The realization of that vision is the LifeAire System,” said Dr. Worrilow. “The support that we have received from the Ben Franklin Technology Partners has been comprehensive and pivotal to LifeAire. In addition to providing part of the seed funding, Ben Franklin introduced us to an angel investor for follow-on investment, helped us build our management team, and linked us to marketing, business planning, and financial projection experts. We are privileged to have such comprehensive guidance and support right here in the Lehigh Valley to help us bring our industry-leading solution to the world.”

LifeAire’s transformational, multi-stage air purification approach is significantly improving patient outcomes in several facilities. The Mayo Clinic, UCSF Medical Center, Stanford University Medical Center, Northwestern University Medical Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, and the University of Iowa Hospital are using the LifeAire System to control sensitive clinical spaces within their environments. The top three IVF programs with the highest live-birth rates in the U.S. for patients under the age of 35 are also reporting dramatic improvements from using the LifeAire System.

The IVF, life sciences, healthcare, and long-term care industries continue to experience the shortcomings of standard HEPA/ULPA filtration and the risks associated with the presence of contaminants in the air. Current news stories depict extremely dangerous diseases resurfacing in healthcare environments — diseases that were long thought to be dormant or defeated — and which can be disastrous to patients. LifeAire Systems’ technology is poised to be part of the solution.

www.lifeaire.com

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2019-time-to-restore-funding

It’s time to restore funding to PA’s tech-based job-creation engine

Launched more than 35 years ago, Ben Franklin Technology Partners was ahead of its time. In 1983, with steel and other industries in decline, unemployment was high, and Pennsylvania’s economy was reeling. The state needed a bridge between its struggling heavy manufacturing economy and the technology-based economy that would carry it forward. Enter Ben Franklin. […]

Launched more than 35 years ago, Ben Franklin Technology Partners was ahead of its time. In 1983, with steel and other industries in decline, unemployment was high, and Pennsylvania’s economy was reeling. The state needed a bridge between its struggling heavy manufacturing economy and the technology-based economy that would carry it forward. Enter Ben Franklin.

By every measure, the plan worked. The statewide initiative accelerated the development of technology-based industries by investing in start-ups and funding innovation in established manufacturers. Serving all 67 Pennsylvania counties through four regionally-based centers, including the northeastern center located in Ben Franklin TechVentures in Bethlehem, Ben Franklin became one of the most widely known and emulated technology-based economic development programs in the nation.

Since its inception, Ben Franklin has invested in more than 4,500 technology-based companies and boosted the state’s economy by more than $25 billion, helping to generate 148,000 jobs through investments in client firms and spinoff companies in Pennsylvania.

However, all of this success is at risk. This recognized international gold standard in tech-based economic development is starved for financial support.

Since 2007-08, state funding for Ben Franklin has dropped approximately 50 percent, from $28 million to $14.5 million per year. Pennsylvania’s current budget draft for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins July 1, would keep funding at the reduced level, which is about half of the amount that it has received over most of its history. Because of diminished funding, Ben Franklin has already been unable to invest in some deserving companies and has seriously short-funded others.

Ben Franklin significantly increases the success rate of the highest-potential early-stage technology firms. It also supports established manufacturers by leveraging technological innovation in Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities to implement product and process improvements that allow clients to be more globally competitive. Ben Franklin identifies and evaluates investment opportunities, selects the most promising ones, and provides companies with crucial resources as they strive to succeed in today’s highly competitive marketplace.
Clients come from a variety of industries — from computer software, hardware, and telecommunications, to robotics and industrial machinery manufacturing, to life sciences, including pharmaceutical, biotech, instrumentation, and medical devices. Clients are technology-intensive, investing in research and development, intellectual property, and capital equipment, and creating highly paid sustainable Pennsylvania jobs.

Ben Franklin invests more than money alone. It surrounds clients with internal and external experts in accounting and finance, marketing, intellectual property protection, supply chain management, and other disciplines. Ben Franklin’s “secret sauce” is providing high-value, enterprise-wide support, often working with clients for many years. The process is labor intensive, customized, and has been developed over three and a half decades of experience.

The formula works. According to an in-depth analysis by two nonpartisan research organizations, The Pennsylvania Economy League and KLIOS Consulting, Ben Franklin helped to create 11,407 high-paying jobs, generated $386 million in tax receipts for the state, and boosted the commonwealth’s economy by $4.1 billion between 2012 and 2016.

Among the reasons for the large impact on the state’s GSP is that these jobs are in industries that pay annual salaries of $79,364 per year, or 52 percent higher than the average private nonfarm salary in Pennsylvania.

Every dollar invested by the state into Ben Franklin generates $3.90 in additional state taxes, the analysis found. Pennsylvania received a total of $386 million in additional state tax receipts as a result of Ben Franklin investments in clients.

Other states recognize Ben Franklin as a smart investment, which is why so many have launched their own high-tech economic development programs. In fact, a recent analysis of state funding support for technology-led economic development programs in 13 comparable and competitive states found that Pennsylvania’s per capita spending of $1.37 was second to lowest. The average state spending per capita in that study was $5.67, more than four times Pennsylvania’s level. Neighboring states like Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio all surpass Pennsylvania in funding.

Innovation is the key to long-term economic prosperity. States that harness innovation, and the companies associated with it, are capturing a disproportionate share of economic growth.

Less funding for Ben Franklin Technology Partners means lost opportunities, and fewer highly paid, sustainable jobs — now and in the future. It’s time to restore state funding to Pennsylvania’s technology-based job-creation engine. What’s lost by underfunding Ben Franklin is lost forever.

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