Who: Astarte Medical wants to improve care for preterm babies. The Yardley-based company was founded six years ago by Tracy Warren and Tammi Jantzen, two former venture capitalists who recognized that women’s and pediatric health are underserved categories of investment.

They had spent years funding companies aimed at improving tech-enabled healthcare for women and children, but it was a chance meeting with nurse scientist Katherine Gregory that inspired them to start a company of their own.

“We met Kate Gregory, who is our scientific co-founder, and she was responsible for really bringing to light for us the challenges of early infant nutrition, especially for premature babies,” Warren told NextHealth PHL. “She really inspired us to find a way to help clinicians in the NICU. It was this call to action for Tammi and I. We knew we had to do something about it.”

What: Preterm babies often remain in the hospital in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) until they are deemed healthy enough to go home since they are at high risk of experiencing a host of neurodevelopmental delays or disabilities, and general health issues, like allergy and asthma. Nutrition is one of the most important components to keeping preterm babies alive until they reach full term, but it also presents a challenge. As Warren explains it, full-term babies typically receive “a perfect cocktail of nutrition” through mom’s umbilical cord until birth. In the NICU, preterm babies are introduced to breast milk, formula or donor milk, all things that Warren says weren’t actually meant to be provided to a baby’s gut at this stage of development.

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