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September 17, 2013 • Arch Grant News


September 16, 2013 (St. Louis, MO) — Andrew Brimer and Abigail Cohen, recent WashU engineering graduates (class of 2013) and co-founders of the med-tech startup Sparo Labs, were announced as the $150,000 grand prize winners of the CIMIT Student Technology Prize for Primary Care, defeating graduate student and post-doctoral teams from MIT, University of California–Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins. Andrew and Abigail were the first undergraduate team to win the top prize in the competition—only the second time that undergraduates have won any of the top three prizes. Sparo Labs has developed a revolutionary solution that seamlessly connects with smartphones and other mobile devices and empowers patients to proactively manage and improve control of their asthma.


Andrew and Abigail are proud to represent Washington University in St. Louis in this national competition and are excited to be working on Sparo Labs full-time after graduating this past May. In addition to the 7 other competitions that Sparo Labs has won, including an Arch Grant, the CIMIT funds will enable Sparo Labs to continue building a solution that empowers patients to more effectively manage their asthma. Sparo Labs is looking forward to making a difference in both St. Louis, where asthma prevalence is twice the national average, and the world. Andrew and Abigail are thrilled to be a part of the flourishing community of entrepreneurs in the city.

The objective of the CIMIT competition was to encourage engineering students to apply their skills toward developing novel approaches at the very frontlines of healthcare, supporting the essential work of primary caregivers helping to improve patient outcomes while reducing the overall costs of care. Sparo Labs was named 1 of 10 finalists in February out of 75 undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral teams from 30 universities across the country. All of the 10 finalists were awarded $10,000 to accelerate the development of their solutions and prepare their final entries. The 10 teams were competing for top prizes of $150,000, $100,000, and $50,000.

In announcing the winners of this national competition, Ronald Newbower, PhD, Co-Founder of CIMIT, Strategic Advisor of the APF, and Director of this competition, stated, “We are delighted with the quality of the entries this Prize competition has elicited each year amongst engineering students. They are clearly eager to develop innovative technologies to address our national challenges in primary care and to use their creativity to improve the overall efficiency and efficacy of care. The winners of these major awards are headed toward truly significant careers and may well serve as role models for others in their field. We are proud to be able to support their efforts.”


About Sparo Labs:

Sparo Labs ( is bringing the power of modern technology to the world of asthma. Sparo Labs is developing an award-winning, patent-pending spirometer system that can be produced for a fraction of the cost of current spirometers today, while seamlessly connecting with smartphones via mobile and web apps. Putting this powerful device in the hands of patients will revolutionize how respiratory diseases are managed—empowering patients to quantitatively track and proactively control their asthma, and equipping doctors with the power of objective and real-time data to better and more efficiently manage their patients.

About CIMIT:

CIMIT ( is the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology. A fifteen-year-old non-profit consortium of Boston-area teaching hospitals and engineering schools, CIMIT brings innovators together to explore, develop and implement novel technological solutions for today’s most urgent healthcare problems. Participants in the consortium are Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Boston University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Northeastern University, Partners HealthCare and VA Boston Healthcare System.



Andrew Brimer

Sparo Labs