Clarion Research Group

Dr. James Rutkowski has maintained a private dental practice in Clarion since 1983. Using his dental lab, Dr. Rutkowski designed a device called the "VeinStay" that holds the vein in place during venipuncture, and he has successfully used it in his practice for the last five years.

Dr. Rutkowski formed the Clarion Research Group (CRG) two years ago along with Clarion University professors, Dr. Doug Smith and Larry Bering to research and launch several new products. Apart from VeinStay, their focus is on a pharmacological “cocktail” that would accelerate bone development for use in implant dentistry and eventually orthopedic implants. The success of VeinStay has greatl advanced their research of the new technology.

The Ben Franklin Transformation Program and the Clarion University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) sponsor an annual contest that seeks technology-based business ideas or innovations that could use a financial boost. Dr. Ruchowski was awarded $25,000 from the 2009 Ben Franklin Transformation Center. He estimates about $10,000 share of its $25,000 business plan prize will go toward working with the Plastics Technology Center at Penn State Erie.

The Clarion University SBDC assisted Dr. Rutkowski with the development of his business and marketing plan for the VeinStay product. Recently, Dr. Rutkowski received FDA approval for the VeinStay.

Dr Rutkowski used Bucknell University SBDC’s Engineering Development Services for design work and prototypes of the VeinStay. Bucknell SBDC student consultants, guided by a Project Manager from the EDS staff, conducted preliminary patent searching, concept development, engineering analysis, and 3D CAD modeling. Deliverables have included a proposed alternate concept design, a production & tooling cost estimate and over one hundred rapid prototypes of two versions of the VeinStay produced on the Stratasys FDM system at Bucknell.

“This is really an example of the SBDC’s assistance programs,” said Cindy Nellis of Clarion University’s SBDC, who helped CRG with its business plan. “Because of our network resources we were able utilize many services including Bucknell University SBDC’s Engineering Development Services to provide engineering and design assistance on the vein fork and developed the final prototype.”

Last June, CRG was awarded a Keystone Innovation Zone Micro Grant for $10,000 that will be used to commercialize the VeinStay. Rutkowski said there is “no doubt that the VeinStay would not have come into existence without [the SBDC's] Engineering Development Services.” He further added that he has saved between $10,000 to $15,000 on prototyping services as a result of Bucknell SBDC’s services.

CRG will own the license to manufacture, market, and distribute the VeinStay. “CRG does not intend to turn its developments over to manufacturers,” said Rutkowski at the award ceremony. “The manufacturers would provide money to help develop the products, which would be licensed to them. Thanks to the hard work of all the people in this room, this is happening. The success of our vein stabilizing device will be the foundation for the continual development of this research-based company and in doing so will create quality science technology jobs for our region.”

CRG’s on-going product research and development costs will be funded by the commercial success of the VeinStay. CRG is committed to delivering a stream of innovative products that will improve people’s lives and grow the local community. Currently the company’s intellectual property position is growing. CRG holds provisional patents on two drug-products that show promising results in treating recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and the bone growth compounds.

A long-term goal of CRG is to construct a facility to be used for CRG’s continual research and development of pharmaceutical products and for research alliances with pharmaceutical companies. CRG will strive to evolve into a premier biotech company that will revolutionize the medical field through innovative therapies and products.

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Clarion University SBDC Director Dr. Woodrow Yeaney (right) congratulates Clarion Research Group on winning $25,000 from the 2008 Ben Franklin Business Plan Contest.