We are excited to announce the 2021 cohort of Praxis SCI Accelerate, a 12 week in residence accelerator program focused on advancing the commercialization of technology to transform the lives of people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Our cohort, encompassing companies across the key SCI focus areas for Praxis represent a variety of backgrounds and have already demonstrated significant traction in their fields. These companies have been carefully selected by a panel of SCI consumers, researchers, commercial leaders in healthcare — as addressing key gaps in care for people with SCI, but also with a potential to transform healthcare outcomes for the broader community.
Abilitech™ Medical develops and markets assistive technology to restore independence in individuals compromised by neuromuscular weakness or injury in their arms, such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and stroke. Abilitech’s suite of orthotic devices will support and assist the arms in functional tasks required for independence in daily life.
Abilitech’s first device, the Abilitech Assist, is a powered upper arm orthotic that leverages the user’s strength to perform activities such as eating, drinking, self-care, and even using the computer. The Assist product is registered with the FDA and now commercially available. Abilitech’s future suite of products includes a hand orthosis, the Abilitech Grip, and a robotic exoskeleton for the arms, the Abilitech APEX.
Angie Zavoral Conley, Founder, President, & CEO Angie Zavoral Conley has served as Abilitech’s President and Chief Executive Officer since founding the company in late 2016. Under Angie’s leadership, Abilitech Medical has won numerous awards, including both the Tekne Award for innovation from Minnesota High Tech Association and the Grand Prize and Top Woman-led Business at the Minnesota Cup – the largest state-led business competition. Abilitech has also been recognized as a Top 10 Medical Device Startup by MedTech Outlook, a Top 20 Medical Device Startup You Need to Know by MassDevice magazine, and a Top Promising Life Science Company by Rice University. She is an alumna of the prestigious Springboard Enterprise and Texas Medical Center accelerator programs. Angie Conley is named as an inventor on two patents.
Clare Padgett, Vice President, Research and Development
Clare Padgett has extensive experience in the medical device industry. In her 31-year career in engineering and management at Medtronic, Clare has contributed to strategic planning and product development, translated clinical needs into future product design requirements, integrated clinician and competitive intelligence into product design, and optimized business processes. Clare has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
Jason Graves, Vice President, Sales
Jason Graves has 17 years of experience working in the Abilitech Medical sales team. He has worked at several large medical device companies, most recently RespirTech, and is a recognized leader in the field. He has developed and shaped sales teams in a variety of territories to support and scale businesses. Jason leads the sales team in bringing the Abilitech Assist to market, as well as develop the future suite of devices.
Human in Motion Robotics Inc. (HMR) is a British Columbia, Canada, based developer of the next-generation wearable lower-limb exoskeleton, named XoMotion, designed to get people out of wheelchairs and to walk again with full mobility and independence.
XoMotion provides advanced articulation and a superior range of motion, allowing for natural walking, self-balancing capabilities, and independent use. A radical improvement to the current technology, XoMotion offers revolutionary opportunities in both rehabilitation and personal use for a wide range of users.
Dr. Siamak Arzanpour, Founder and President
Dr. Siamak Arzanpour has more than 20 years of experience in design of mechanical and mechatronic systems, including advanced robotic systems. Siamak identified the business opportunity and developed the vision behind HMR.
Dr. Edward Park, Founder and Chief Science Officer
Dr. Edward Park is a world-leading expert in wearable technology and intelligent algorithms and has been highly successful in generating new intellectual property for consumer wearable device companies. He was instrumental in proposing the idea of self-balancing/natural walking exoskeletons for the very first time back in 2013.
Chloe Angus, Director of Human Centered Design and User Engagement Chloe Angus is a successful entrepreneur and fashion designer and a T10 paraplegic. She is a keen advocate for wearable exoskeletons. Chloe’s skills are in human-centered design, marketing and sales, public speaking, and user engagement.
Brent James, Lead Director
Brent James has a 35-year history of accomplishments in the high-tech field including cofounding a company (MDSI) that went public on NASDAQ and being the turn-around CEO of a company (Abebooks.com), which was sold to Amazon.
SpineX Inc. is an early-stage medical device company developing neuromodulation devices leveraging cutting-edge research from the lab of Dr. V Reggie Edgerton, at the UCLA. SpineX is committed to helping individuals with unmet clinical needs. In addition to mobility challenges, there are many other issues people with paralysis face that may be even more important than walking. The hidden fact of paralysis remains that a person in a wheelchair is not only non-ambulatory, but also lives of lost sensation, bladder, bowel, sexual dysfunction, compromised trunk, hand and arm function and significant cardiovascular distress.
SpineX develops biotechnologies for people with unmet medical needs that interface with the enormous adaptive power of the nervous system to restore lost motor and physiological functions.
Dr. V Reggie Edgerton, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. V Reggie Edgerton is the Director of the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory and a distinguished Professor of the Departments of Integrative Biology and Physiology, Neurobiology and Neurosurgery at UCLA. His research focuses on how the neural networks in the lumbar spinal cord of mammals, including humans, regain control of standing, stepping, voluntary control of fine movements after paralysis, and how these motor functions can be modified chronically imposing activity-dependent interventions after spinal cord injury.
Dr. Parag Gad, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer Dr. Parag Gad is an accomplished and technically sophisticated Biomedical Engineer offering a rich mix of progressive and hands-on experience in designing and improving medical devices focused on paralysis diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Parag is a strong administrative professional with an MS and PhD in Biomedical Engineering, specialized in NeuroEngineering and rehab from UCLA. He is an established researcher, developing techniques and devices to enable locomotor and autonomic function after paralysis.
Dr. Parag has successfully published over 25 scientific papers using implantable and non-invasive neuromodulation techniques to enable locomotor and bladder function after paralysis.
Dr. Evgeniy Kreydin, MD, CoFounder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Evgeniy Kreydin is a Urology Specialist in Los Angeles, California. He graduated with honors from Harvard Medical School. Having more than nine years of diverse experiences, especially in urology. Dr. Evgeniy Kreydin affiliates with many hospitals including Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, and cooperates with other doctors and specialists in many medical groups including Usc Care Medical Group Inc, Harvard Medical Faculty Physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc.
Derek Herrera, MBA, Co-Founder Derek Herrera is a Co-Founder of SpineX. Leveraging his experience building teams and deep understanding of user needs, Derek currently drives early business strategy. Previously, Derek served for 8.5 years in the US Marine Corps as an Infantry and Special Operations Team Commander. Since 2012, when Derek sustained a spinal cord injury at the T6 level during combat operations in Afghanistan, he has worked tirelessly to become an expert in various aspects of spinal cord injury research.
Derek earned his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, was recognized as a John Wooden Global Leadership Fellow, and one of the top 50 EMBA students by Poets and Quants. He also holds a BS in Systems Engineering with a concentration in Robotics and Digital Communications from the US Naval Academy. Derek previously founded “Spinal Singularity,” where he invented a novel bladder management system for adult males with urinary retention.
WheelAir system is the first temperature control system designed to fit any wheelchair. The product helps to disperse air evenly across the back to lower core temperature, keeping the skin dry and clean. This helps to avoid symptoms caused by overheating and over sweating, allowing users to stay comfortable and in control. WheelAir is formed to meet the unmet requirements in rehabilitation product design and mobility equipment. It aims to be the center of expertise for heating and cooling applications in the healthcare industry, actively preventing overheating and pressure sore formation.
Corien Staels, Founder and Managing Director
Corien Staels started her journey in fashion and business but took a turn and found herself in the mobility industry. She started WheelAir while studying her Masters in Glasgow and has worked tirelessly since, winning many prizes and awards along the way. Since learning about the challenges some wheelchair users experience with overheating and over sweating, Corien has been on a mission to make overheating and over sweating a thing of the past. Nothing motivates her more than hearing about how much of a positive impact WheelAir has had on someone’s life.
Albert Nicholl, Chairman
Albert Nicholl is a senior business leader within the Life Science and MedTech sector, having led successful businesses such as Orthofix and Stryker. He remains focused on delivering improved healthcare outcomes to people by mentoring and supporting entrepreneurial individuals.