5 Questions with Sue Carr, RPh, President and Founder, CarrTech, LLC
“5 Questions With…” is a weekly BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people in the BioHealth Capital Region to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This week we welcome Sue Carr, RPh, President and Founder, CarrTech, LLC.
Sue Carr RPh is President and Founder of CarrTech LLC, a medical device company. CarrTech has developed, patented, and prototyped an all-in-one package one needle filter device to increase safety and compliance while reducing time and waste. Sue has over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in retail management and clinical hospital pharmacy, specializing in ICU, ER, Oncology, and NICU.
Sue is a board member of WMSHP (Washington Metropolitan Society of Health Care Professionals) and an active member of ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists). Sue has attended Incubators, accelerators, leadership cohorts, and received numerous awards, including “Spotlight Pharmacist of the Year” from her peers at WMSHP. Sue saw a problem with the current system of filtering injectable based ampoules and came up with an innovative solution called FROG (Filter Removal of Glass). CarrTech’s mission is to improve healthcare by making medication preparation safer.
1. Please introduce yourself to our audience with a look back at your education, training, and career.
I am currently a licensed pharmacist, but have chosen to follow my passion of improving health care. After graduating from Florida State University with a BS in Psychology, I moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where I graduated from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy with a B.S. in Pharmacy. During that time, I worked as a pharmacy technician for a local hospital, when I first noticed a complicated and unsafe way of filtering medications packaged in glass ampoules.
I suggested to my director that there must be a better way. He challenged me to invent a better way. After graduating, I moved to northern Virginia and worked for the mogul retail pharmacy CVS for 17 years as a pharmacy manager. Soon after receiving reciprocity for a Maryland pharmacy license, I moved to Maryland and opened a new CVS in the small rural town of Poolesville. I managed the pharmacy for over 10 years and raised 2 wonderful boys. I really enjoyed getting to know my customers and helping them with their medication inquiries.
While I enjoyed helping my patients in the pharmacy retail setting, I had the opportunity to return to a hospital setting at Shady Grove Hospital. I was trained in all areas of the hospital as a clinical specialist, including the ICU, ER, Oncology, and NICU. I worked side by side with the physicians and nurses and prepared medications at the bedside during code situations. It was sometimes very rewarding when I could be a part of saving lives. During this time, I was keenly aware the filter needle problem still existed, and I knew my calling was to come up with a better way. I therefore spent a few years designing a simpler, safer way to filter medications using one filter, one needle process.
Luckily, one of my customers from CVS was a patent attorney, and he helped me receive my first patent. I then met with a large medical device company who introduced me to a company of brainiac engineers in North Carolina. They helped me build an all-in-one filtering device, then secured my second patent. I filmed my first video describing my invention, which gained acceptance by the Innova Personalized Health Accelerator. My team and I additionally completed the I-Corp program at George Washington University and the EDGE program through Frederick Innovations Technology (FITCI).
After 34 years of practicing pharmacy, I realized that I was an entrepreneur and left the safety of a paycheck to pursue my dream of making medication preparation safer. I never thought I would ever get this far or have others that understood and supported my vision and mission. I am overwhelmed by all the positive feedback, mentoring, and support from all over Maryland. I am actually on my way to FDA approval.
2. Tell our readers about the founding of CarrTech and what the company is working on.
CarrTech LLC was founded in March of 2012 once I received my first patent. I had to remain silent until receiving my second patent in 2017, which took a while. I officially formed our company in 2018 with John Nazzaro RPh and Terri Lopatka RPh. They both had worked with me at Shady Grove Hospital and shared the same concerns about the practice of filtering medications stored in ampoules.
They saw CarrTech’s vision from day one, and I am grateful to them both. We conducted user studies and timed the current method of filtering glass ampules using both a filter needle and a hypodermic needle and compared it to my invention, FROG (Filter Removal of Glass). We were not surprised that FROG takes half the preparation time. We conducted a lot of research and realized that FROG significantly reduces needlestick injuries, which validated our value propositions of a safer, easier, quicker, and greener way of filtering medications. CarrTech is working with Gilero LLC, a medical device design company that built the original prototypes for us. We are now 6 months into preparations for FDA review and anticipate submission for a 510(k) Class II medical device in early 2022.
3. Where do you see CarrTech in 5-10 years?
CarrTech anticipates market penetration of our first product by Q2-Q3 of 2022. After we receive FDA approval, we can use FROG as a predicate device for other needle sizes and gauges which will allow for scaling. CarrTech has a few more products to launch but awaiting patents before we will reveal our other products. We will start locally and scale up over time. One of our missions is to provide safer ways of ampule preparations globally, especially the underrepresented nations that need the FROG the most.
4. From a Pharmacist’s point of view. What do you see as the biggest gaps in the BHCR, and how would you address them?
The most prominent thing I have noticed is the lack of communication between the health systems and the Biohealth community. When attending my first Bio Health Capital Region Forum at Astra Zeneca, I was surprised to see that the hospitals and healthcare community were not very well represented. I learned so much about new therapies and new treatments that I would never have known about as a healthcare provider in the hospital. I think there needs to be more representation from thought leaders in the hospitals with the BioHealth Community for increased awareness and communication.
5. If you hit the lotto tomorrow with enough money to support yourself forever. What would you do?
I would continue to invest in CarrTech to ensure FROG is available and used throughout the world. I would then be able to continue work on other projects to improve healthcare. CarrTech greatly appreciates all the support and mentorship we receive and would like to pay it forward to other startups. I have dreams of taking a vacation someday and lying on a beach to rest my brain. I would also like to travel around the world and volunteer my services in Africa and other nations. I want to make a difference in the quality of lives. I would have more time to enjoy being with my family and friends. I enjoy music, dancing, boating, and play a little guitar and piano. Fun fact, I spent a day by the pool with Adam Sandler and his kids while visiting a friend in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Thank you Sue Carr, RPh, President and Founder, CarrTech, LLC. for participating in the ‘5 Questions with BioBuzz’ series, and stay tuned for more interviews with others from across the BioHealth Capital Region and beyond.
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