Pilot Ryan Henderson (left) and UMD UAS Test Site Director of Operations Anthony Pucciarella prepare for the historic UAS organ delivery in Apri 2019. Pucciarella would later go on to co-found the companies MissionGO and MediGO. Henderson is currently lead pilot for MissionGO.
A technology startup with ties to the University of Maryland (UMD) has been acquired by CareDx, one of the nation’s leading organ transplant companies. The move sets the stage for ramped-up innovation in a field long plagued by delays and logistical problems.
The acquisition of Baltimore-based MediGO was announced on Tuesday (July 25), with CareDx CEO and President Reg Seeto citing the potential to reduce wait times and increase access to donated organs, among other benefits.
“By leveraging our combined strengths, we will drive operational efficiencies, accelerate innovation, and deliver even greater value to the transplant ecosystem by addressing the serious organ transplant shortage,” said Seeto, who is a member of the advisory board of UMD's Fischell Department of Bioengineering.
Founded in 2020 by entrepreneur/philanthropist and UMD alum Scott Plank ('88), former UMD UAS Test Site Director of Operations Anthony Pucciarella, and transplant surgeon Dr. Joseph Scalea, MediGO specializes in workflow and logistics software tools designed to improve the efficiency of organ procurement and delivery, thus leading to improved rates of organ utilization and more saved lives.
Plank, who also co-founded with Pucciarella and Scalea the drone services company MissionGO, said that by joining forces the two companies would be able to “deliver transformational solutions that improve the transplant patient’s journey.”
"Combining MediGO's network, real-time data, and predictive analytics with CareDx's digital health platform capabilities, we are better poised to deliver next-generation data-driven patient solutions. With MediGO's people and technology solutions and CareDx, we expect to make a greater impact through this collaboration,” he said.
Dr. Scalea, likewise, said the acquisition forges a synergistic partnership that will “drive quality and critical access to transplantation for future generations of patients in need.”
Now on the faculty of the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Scalea was previously surgical director at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), specializing in transplants. His interest in finding ways to optimize the delivery of transplant organs led to a historic collaboration with the UMD UAS Test Site—now known as the UMD UAS Research and Operations Center. Their collaboration bore fruit in April 2019 with the first-ever drone delivery of an organ for a waiting patient.
MissionGO, the cousin company to MediGO, was then established by Plank, Pucciarella, and Dr. Scalea to build on that achievement and spearhead further applications of drone technology. It has since gone on to set the record for longest UAS human organ delivery flight.
Plank’s real estate development company, War Horse Cities, has acquired, renovated, and developed properties across the United States, including College Park, Maryland’s The Hall CP, a popular hub for UMD students. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from UMD’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation in 2019.
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