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Update on the RHI-Hebrew University BioDesign Partnership

We are pleased to share an update on the RHI-Hebrew University of Jerusalem BioDesign Partnership that was announced last August. Guided by RHI, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and RHI-sponsored researcher, Dr. Yaron Blinder, two teams that participated in the one-year BioDesign Program developed solutions for common complications that affect people with SCI.

BioDesign is an innovative concept that takes a multi-disciplinary approach to bring medical innovations to market. The goal of the Partnership was to take this method of commercialization and apply it to innovations in spinal cord injury.

One team developed a device to reduce the risk of bladder infections, a common complication among individuals with SCI, often caused by catheter use. The UFREE is an indwelling catheter for men that allows individuals to empty their bladders at home, manually and easily. As the catheter only needs to be changed once a month, it results in fewer bladder-related complications. 

UFREE team

Pictured is the UFREE project team with Jonathan Miodowski, RHI Manager of Commercialization and Industry Relations, Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, Director of the Grass Center for Bioengineering and the BioDesign Program and Dr. Yaron Blinder, RHI-sponsored researcher at the closing ceremonies in Jerusalem.

The other team developed a device to improve the ability to cough forcefully, something that some individuals with SCI may find difficult to do, and one of the main mechanisms used to avoid respiratory infections, such as pneumonia. The iCough is a portable, adaptive and self-handled solution that improves ventilation and cough effectiveness.

iCough team
Pictured is the iCough project team at the closing ceremonies in Jerusalem.

Now that the teams have graduated from the program, they are looking for investors to help grow their startups. For more information, please contact Rob Hickling at

Funding for the RHI-Hebrew University BioDesign Partnership was made possible through support from Western Economic Diversification Canada.