The Idea Fund of La Crosse has purchased the SwallowSTRONG device and technology from Swallow Solutions for $500,000.
The Idea Fund has created a new company, Swallow Therapeutics, to market the product. The company will be based in La Crosse.
SwallowSTRONG treats dysphagia, a condition that involves difficulty swallowing, and often affects older adults or those who have suffered strokes or head injuries.
The device is a custom-molded mouthpiece that is coupled with software and can be used from a patient’s home.
“We know that it works. We have a book full of testimonials from patients,” Kelly said. “They’re very, very touching stories.” A study found the device reduced the number of pneumonia cases and hospital admissions.
Swallow Solutions was founded in 2009 based on research by JoAnne Robbins, then a professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. The company has been dormant for nearly a year.
Swallow Solutions also developed specialty, thickened beverages enhanced with proteins. They were not part of Idea Fund’s purchase.
Kelly said investors hope to find a partner to market the drinks.
The Idea Fund of La Crosse was established in 2016 to invest in early-stage Wisconsin companies. Swallow Therapeutics is the fund’s first investment.