BALTIMORE, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and CoapTech, LLC, announced today that the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has granted CoapTech exclusive licensing rights for the commercial development of a platform technology called Coaptive Ultrasound. CoapTech will use the technology, initially, to bring to market a medical device allowing non-surgical providers to safely perform feeding tube placement at the bedside through a novel procedure termed PUG (Percutaneous Ultrasound Gastrostomy). PUG is a minimally invasive and more cost-effective method for the placement of permanent gastrostomy (feeding) tubes into stomachs of patients who need long-term nutritional supplementation. CoapTech also announced that the Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), which was established to foster technology transfer from Maryland universities and boost early-stage development of startups, has awarded the company a Phase III award for $150,000 to help position CoapTech for follow-on investments from venture capital firms and angel investors. "The clinical and cost challenges of current gastrostomy methods are significant, and we are proud to help support the further development of a new technology that can make this common medical procedure safer, more convenient, and less costly," said Philip J. Robilotto, D.O., M.B.A., Chief Commercialization Officer with UM Ventures. "It's rewarding for the UMB Technology Transfer team to see our startup company, CoapTech, move forward with the commercialization of Coaptive Ultrasound, as well as receive a significant award from the MII to help propel this technology." CoapTech has exclusive rights to develop the PUG procedure, which allows non-surgical physicians to place feeding tubes at a patient's bedside, avoiding excessive cost and potential risk typically involved in sending the patient to a surgical endoscopy or operating-room suite for gastrostomy. The CoapTech PUG device utilizes two small magnetic components (one magnet fixed on a catheter that is inserted in the body, which is then guided and controlled by the other, stronger magnet held outside the body) while point-of-care ultrasound provides visual feedback. The ultrasound is used to determine any anatomical anomalies that could interfere with tube placement, identify the safest site for location of the feeding tube placement, and guide the insertion of the feeding tube.