Clear Guide Medical Receives $1.5 Million NIH Small Business Innovation Research Grant

Clear Guide Medical has received an SBIR Phase II award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).   The purpose of the research is to make ultrasound imaging for needle insertions an increasingly widespread tool across a wide range of clinical specialties.  Often, the ultrasound imaging skill and hand-eye coordination necessary to perform these needle procedures are not easy to acquire and therefore ultrasound guidance does not get used by all clinicians.   This project provides a new feedback method that will assist doctors in maintaining the correct probe and needle alignment relative to the clinical target, making it easier to use ultrasound simultaneously with needle insertion to hit the target inside the body the first time.    

This project will substantially increase the availability of doctors using ultrasound imaging to insert needles into the body, thereby increasing efficiencies and reducing adverse outcomes.  A clinical collaboration with Dr. Paul Bigeleisen, Professor of Anesthesiology in the University of Maryland Department of Anesthesiology, will test the new device as part of the SBIR award.

The SBIR Award also includes a subcontract with Professor Allison Okamura of Stanford University.  Professor Okamura is an international expert whose research focuses on developing the principles and tools needed to realize advanced robotic and human-machine systems capable of haptic (touch) interaction, particularly for biomedical applications.

Clear Guide Medical, a privately-held company headquartered in Baltimore, MD, develops innovative technologies to provide Computer-Assisted Image Guidance for needle-based interventions. By using Computer-Assisted Image Guidance (CAIG), the Clear Guide ONE enables clinical personnel to see the needle or catheter path on the ultrasound display before entering the patient body.  Understanding the correct angle at which to insert needles or catheters into the body is essential to good clinical outcomes.  The Clear Guide ONE adapts to most commercial ultrasounds, increasing the utility of that equipment.  Clinical studies to quantify the performance improvements of clinicians using the Clear Guide ONE are currently underway.

The Clear Guide ONE and the Clear Guide EDU training system are currently available for sale in the United States, the European Union and Canada by contacting

The company won the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Award in the Life Sciences/Medical Device category and was also a finalist in Maryland's 2013 and 2012 Innovation, Corporate Excellence and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Awards.

The company participates in the Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit Program ( and has been registered as a Qualified Biotechnology Company, meaning that accredited investors are eligible for income tax credits equal to 50% of an eligible investment. The company has received over $3 million in public and angel funding and is currently seeking private investment.  Please contact for more information.

Allison M. Okamura received the BS degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994, and the MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University in 1996 and 2000, respectively, all in mechanical engineering. She is currently Associate Professor in the mechanical engineering department at Stanford University. Her awards include the 2009 IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics Early Career Award, the 2005 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Academic Career Award, and the 2004 NSF CAREER Award. She is an IEEE Fellow. More on her research can be found at

Dr. Paul E. Bigeleisen received a B.A. in physics from Oberlin College and an M.S. in theoretical physics from Berkeley. He attended medical school at the University of California at Davis and completed his residency in anesthesiology at Upstate Medical University. He completed a pain fellowship at Emory University and currently works clinically in the operating rooms at the University of Maryland Medical Center with an emphasis on pain medicine.  He is the author of Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (2015) and Atlas of Airway Management: Techniques and Tools (2011).

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The mission of the SBIR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.  For more about SBIRs, please see