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Medical College of Wisconsin and Somna Therapeutics complete Licensing Agreement

July 27, 2012

The Medical College of Wisconsin has entered into a licensing agreement with Somna Therapeutics, LLC, to bring to market a new medical device designed to treat the symptoms of the most serious form of acid reflux, extraesophageal reflux disease.

This new medical device, developed by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), will be further developed and marketed through a new Wisconsin company, Somna Therapeutics.

Reza Shaker, M.D., Joseph E. Geenen Professor & Chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at MCW, developed the new technology. The device, called the Reza Band, UES Assist Device, is a band designed to be worn around the neck, and applies pressure to the upper esophageal sphincter to prevent stomach acid from traveling into the throat, vocal cords, windpipe and lungs.

Fifteen million people in the United States suffer from extraesophageal acid reflux disease, or EERD. Current therapies include behavior modification, drug therapy and surgery.

“Severe acid reflux leads to a series of health problems including chronic cough, asthma, sleep apnea and pneumonia,” said Dr. Shaker. “The Reza Band is designed to minimize or eliminate these symptoms without surgical intervention.”

Dr. Shaker credits the collaborative nature of the Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) for helping bring the Reza Band to fruition. The CTSI’s eight partnering institutions (the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Milwaukee, Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the VA Medical Center, and the BloodCenter of Wisconsin) create synergy through collaboration; projects explore findings that have the potential to be translated into clinical practice and community health, such as the Reza Band.

The Reza Band is scheduled to be in clinical trials across the U.S. in fall of this year.

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