Published May 8, 2015 in Technical.ly Baltimore.

The Baltimore-based University of Maryland School of Medicine has plenty of research and development resources invested in biotech. Now, the institution is putting up venture funding too.

UM Ventures, an initiative that aims to help commercialize university research, announced its first equity investment Thursday into Harpoon Medical, Inc. The $100,000 investment will help the Stevensville-based company close a $3.6 million Series A financing round.

Harpoon Medical recently secured a patent for a device that could make open-heart surgery to repair a mitral valve shorter. Known as minimally invasive beating-heart mitral valve repair technology, the device makes a small incision between the ribs to repair the crucial valve, which is located on the middle portion of the left side of the heart, and helps control the flow of blood.

Surgery to repair the valve often takes 3-6 hours, and requires doctors to temporarily stop the heart. (A heart-lung machine takes over the duties of pumping blood while doctors mend the heart.)

Harpoon’s device is designed to allow the repair of the valve to be completed while the heart is still beating using image-guided technology. For patients, time under the knife could be cut to as little as 60 minutes, the company says.

The device was developed in the Division of Cardiac Surgery at University of Maryland School of Medicine, then licensed to Harpoon. The company was started in 2013 specifically to commercialize the technology that is being developed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Harpoon has also received grants from BioMaryland and TEDCO.

“We have been working with UM Ventures since Harpoon was formed and are honored that they chose to make their inaugural investment in our company,” said Harpoon Medical CEO Bill Niland. “In just over a year we have formed a company, licensed innovative technology from UMB, secured the first of what will hopefully be many patents, and raised the funds necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of the device in the clinic.”