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Student Inventors Seek Seed Money for Cric-Kit Invention

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Opening the blocked airway of a patient who has suffered traumatic injuries could become just a bit easier, thanks to a medical device developed by a group of Union College entrepreneurs.

The product, called a Cric-Kit, for the cricothyroidotomy procedure performed to open obstructed airways, is the idea of Union seniors Jay Shah and Shane Hubbell, and alumnus Gordon Single, who graduated from the Schenectady college last year.

Their company, Second Breath LLC, is one of 10 semifinalists in the fifth annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development called SEED National Collegiate Venture Forum. The event is sponsored by TechKnowledge Point, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company that operates a subscription Web site, http://www.EntrePoint.com, that assesses colleges on the entrepreneurship education they provide.

The competition will be held March 14 and 15 at Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, and is expected to draw venture capitalists, private-equity managers and other potential investors.

Shah is Second Breath's acting CEO, Hubbell is acting CFO and Single is acting COO. Their device is designed to be used with just one hand, and to accommodate a range of breathing tube sizes. It also is designed to avoid puncturing the back of the patient's tracheal wall, and to be easy to use, since most paramedics perform the procedure only once or twice a year.

The Cric-Kit would be marketed for use by hospitals, ambulances and emergency response units.

Shah and Hubbell are both majoring in biology and economics. Single was an intern at Boston Scientific Corp. and AngioDynamics Inc.

Hubbell said the company is working on its first prototypes, which will then undergo some preclinical testing. They then will seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, which they hope to achieve by May, according to their business plan. The devices would sell for about $400 each, and be produced locally by a company in Watervliet, Extreme Molding LLC, according to the business plan.

Second Breath placed second in the Tech Valley Collegiate Business Plan contest last year.

The company is seeking $500,000 in start-up capital to pay for the first two years of operation, which include FDA approval, the start of manufacturing, and the hiring of a professional management team.

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