SBIR and STTR Success Story for
Transonic Systems, Inc.

(Information Posted/Updated on 09/09/2007)

Transonic Systems, Inc.
34 Dutch Mill Road
Ithaca, NY  14850

Contact:    Cornelis J. Drost
Phone:      607-257-5300
Fax:          607-257-7256
Web Site:

Project Title:  A Flowmeter with Telemetry for Chronic Animal Studies
Related Award(s):  1 R43 HL62079-01A2
Technology Developed:
SBIR Phase funding enabled Transonic Systems, Inc. to develop, validate, and commercialize (a) compact and low-power transit-time flowmeter electronics suitable for chronic implantation, (b) a new backpack telemetry flowmeter for animal studies, (c) integrated circuit flowmeter chips that will spawn a new generation of fully implantable flowmetry systems. The telemetry technology is essential for chronic studies of cardiovascular diseases and their genetic causes and treatments, without the impairment of tethering to electronic devices. A first backpack telemetry device was introduced into the market during this grant’s Phase II, and a fully implantable telemetry unit for use in small species is in preparation. The compact, low power flowmeter technology developed under this grant is now also in use in a host of human clinical applications requiring compact and accurate blood and fluid flow monitoring.

Key Words:  Wireless, Transit-Time, Flow, Ultrasound, Bluetooth, Telemetry, Flowmeter, Manufacturing.
Uses of Technology/Products/Service:
Many physiological studies involve animals, and researchers often must measure arterial blood flow to properly evaluate a drug or device's safety and effectiveness. For example, drugs used to prevent heart disease are tested in pigs while many ventricular assist and artificial heart prototypes are tested in sheep and cows.

However, traditional measurement technology requires that researchers hard-wire the implanted flow sensors to a bench-top flowmeter. This experimental setting can put stress on the animal to alter the behavior and physiological condition of the subject such as increasing blood pressure or cardiac output and thereby confound the experimental results. These preparations also require close supervision to assure humane conditions, avoid infections, and prevent loss or damage to the instrumentation.

With NIH/NHLBI SBIR research support and corporate internal development funds, Transonic Systems developed in Phase I a miniaturized low-power flowmeter board. This first step - the feasibility demonstration of a new transit-time ultrasound flow detection approach - produced a flowmeter that is small enough to be carried by laboratory animals, and that maintains the accuracy of benchtop flowmeters. During Phase II, this first discrete-component flowmeter unit was converted into large-scale integrated chips. The Phase II chipset is the first step towards the ultimate SBIR project goal of a fully implantable telemetered flowmeter, first for animal studies, later for chronic human implant in applications such as Ventricular Assist Devices and post-op monitoring after bypass surgery.

The advent of accurate, chronically implantable flowmeter technology as pioneered by Transonic has revolutionized academic biomedical research and patient monitoring and enhanced the measuring/monitoring capabilities for medical devices. The new Transonic technologies developed under this grant open the door to a wider array of such innovation-enabling advances. On the animal studies front, the Transonic hardware will allow studies to proceed faster and with fewer animals, since the investigator can now monitor blood flow in animals during the full course of a disease/treatment study under less stressful conditions. For product information and pictures of the commercialized hardware, see the following URL:

Benefit to Company:
SBIR Phase I & II funding enabled Transonic Systems, Inc. to develop, validate, and commercialize a new telemetered blood flow monitoring systems for free-roaming animal studies. This technology is essential to medical studies of diseases, their genetic causes, and treatments.

This new product is the fourth Transonic product developed and commercialized under NIH SBIR program. Previous commercialized products include the HD01 Hemodialysis Monitor; the 0.5PSB and 0.7PSB Mouse blood flowprobes and TS420-series flowmeter; and the AngioFlow angioplasty flow monitoring catheter. Around 25% of our product sales include SBIR-developed technologies.

How Product Was Commercialized:
During Phase II, Transonic incorporated the Phase I-developed miniature flowmeter system into a backpack-telemetry flowmeter system: “PhysioGearTM I”. The system employs a battery subsystem and Bluetooth wireless communications, and has expansion capacity for additional physiological signal monitoring. After beta testing with three university sites in 2004, product sales began July 1st, 2005. Sample applications of current PhysioGear customers are:

· Several pharmaceutical companies - drug efficacy studies;

· Naval Medical Research study - new vascular grafts and wound care that may be applied to post trauma treatment and saving limbs;

· A University Hospital in Belgium - translational research studies in pigs to improve clinical outcomes in liver transplant cases

· A Veterinary College in England - fetal & pregnancy blood flow studies in sheep.

The same miniature flowmeter board is also used to improve human health. A number of biomedical product companies have incorporated OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) versions of this technology into their products, which include:

* Organ Preservation Machines

* Eye Surgery

* Heart Lung Machines

* Circulatory Support Devices

* Hemodialysis Machines

* Oxygenators

* Extracorporeal Patient Monitoring Machines

Other Comments Related to Company's Success Story:
At a time when many U.S. manufacturing jobs have been outsourced overseas, worldwide sales of Transonic sensors and meters have created new manufacturing jobs in rural Upstate New York.

Past R&D and/or Sales from this Project:   $Company-confidential
Estimated Future Annual R&D and/or Sales from this Project:   $Company-confidential