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Medical Device Startup Receives $225,000 Development Grant

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Lapovations LLC, an Arkansas medical device company, has received a $225,000 grant to complete the development of a device designed to improve minimally-invasive abdominal surgeries.

The startup was founded as part of the New Venture Development Course taught at the University of Arkansas by Carol Reeves. Its leadership consists of College of Engineering and Sam M. Walton College of Business alumni.

Lapovations is receiving a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation that will allows the company to complete the development process for its device called AbGrab. This device is designed to “non-invasively lift the abdominal wall at the start of laparoscopic surgery,” according to a University of Arkansas article.

AbGrab uses suction to lift the abdominal wall, which the developers say will improve surgery outcome and decrease patients’ pain after the surgery.

Jared Greer, a 2018 graduate of the biomedical engineering department master’s program, is the company’s CEO. The company’s leadership team also includes Walton College alumni Flavia Araujo and Michael Dunavant. The team set a record for the University of Arkansas by winning over $300,000 in startup funding while participating in startup competitions.

Greer credits both the biomedical engineering department and the New Venture Development course for providing the launching pad for Lapovations.

Our time at the U of A was a critical contributor to what Lapovations has accomplished so far,” he said in the article.  “AbGrab was the focus of my biomedical engineering master’s thesis, so we worked closely with the department on early product development and testing. Department Head Dr. Raj Rao and Dean John English are doing a great job fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within the College of Engineering that allows companies like ours to flourish.

“Another key contributor to our success has been what we learned in the New Venture Development class taught by Dr. Carol Reeves in the Walton College. Dr. Reeves is a tireless worker who, with the support of Dean Matt Waller, has built Walton College into an entrepreneurial powerhouse. We are very fortunate to have resources like the Walton College and the College of Engineering that allow a cross-disciplinary group such as Lapovations to achieve success.”

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