Fetal Brain Oxygen Monitor

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The Fetal Brain Oxygen Monitor is a medical diagnostic instrument that measures oxygen levels in the fetal brain during labor. The instrument is a photo-acoustic instrument that delivers data via lasers to and from the fetal brain using "laser microphone" technology. Signals can be read in real time using ultrasound and potentially cell phone devices. While there are other instruments, this is the only one that can measure oxygen levels in real time and that is non-invasive.

The lack of oxygen to the fetus during delivery is the Number 1 cause of infant mortality and lifelong brain disease such as cerebral palsy. The innovation comes with the fact that this is the only instrument used during delivery that measures oxygen (not heart rate) in the fetus noninvasively. Brimrose and Hopkins already have received a Phase 1 SBIR grant from NIH for this device and are applying for Phase 2 funding. The instrument is still in early prototype stage. Hopkins researchers have already been able to use it to measure oxygen levels in piglet blood from 0 percent to 100 percent in 10 percent intervals. The "laser microphone" process can amplify signals several magnitudes above other levels, providing the ability to use lower amounts of light inside the human body to detect the signal.

As the instrument has the potential to save lives and reduce the threat of brain disease, as well as significantly lower the need for c-sections, we believe a robust market awaits. The use of just one such instrument in hospitals and birthing clinics in the United States would lead to some 6,000 such instruments, and there are some 164,500 hospitals globally. Therefore, we believe there is the potential for a billion-dollar market for these instruments. Our business strategy is to make early products at Brimrose, which is a manufacturer of a variety of photo-acoustic instruments, and has been for 30 years. We then intend to work with Hopkins to get FDA clearance. Once that is achieved, we intend to start making product in volume via a new company, Brimmedical Corporation, which will be a spinoff business where investor/owners will be invited to participate. Once we have begun volume production and shipment, the eventual goal is to sell Brimmedical Corporation to a major medical instrument maker.


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  • Name:
    David Chaffee
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    David Chaffee, Director of Business Development, Brimrose Technology Corporation
    Sudhir Trivedi, Ph.D., Director of Research and Development, Brimrose Technology Corporation
    Chen-Chia Wang, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Brimrose Technology Corporation
    Ernest Graham, M.D., Johns Hopkins
    Raymond Koehler, Ph.D., Senior Director of Laboratory Research, Johns Hopkins
  • Profession:
    Business Owner/Manager
  • David is inspired by:
    We are trying to convey the magnitude of the instrument we are designing, while remaining true to its actual design and function. This is challenging, as it is a complex instrument, which has life-saving potential. Yet with the help of the text, it is our hope that the message is coming through.
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