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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

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IU student wins competition for naloxone keychain device


Charlie Brizz, an IU student studying marketing, sales and entrepreneurship at the Kelley School of Business, won the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s 2023 Vernon Clapp IDEA Competition held on April 7 for a business venture he co-founded called Nove. Brizz said Nove is a naloxone nasal spray device that is portable through a keychain feature. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is a medicine that reverses an opioid overdose. It attaches to opioid receptors and blocks the effects of other opioids. It can be administered as a nasal spray or injection. Naloxone will not harm someone if they are not overdosing on an opioid and are administered the medication.  

Brizz said Brendan Mudd, co-founder and industrial design student at Western Washington University, came up with the idea and design of Nove. Brizz said he focuses on the supply chain, marketing and funding aspects of the venture, while Mudd focuses on the product side of the venture. 

[Related: IU's Indiana Alcohol Research Center renews NIH grant]

Brizz said the current offerings of nasal spray devices are not intuitive to use, not portable and carry a stigma. He said the current offerings come in a blister pack that is thick and cannot be administered until the pack is unwrapped.  

“The thing about the current offerings is that it just screams medications,” Brizz said. “If people are carrying Narcan or naloxone nasal spray, people already assume that you’re using drugs which is typically not the case.” 

He said Nove looks to provide a solution to that stigma and increase the number of naloxone devices being carried. 

“We set out to fix those things and created Nove which is a portable, discreet and intuitive one-use Naloxone administration device that’s aimed at democratizing and increasing the carry rate of Naloxone on all individuals,” Brizz said. 

When the safety button of the Nove device is pushed, the orange plunger pops up and the top covering comes off. The naloxone can then be administered through the nasal passageways of an individual. 

Brizz said the device has a patent pending and once the engineering of the device is completely refined, they will look to progress through the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) pathway. This pathway requires manufacturers to demonstrate that their medical device is equivalent to a previously approved device. The manufacturer must also demonstrate that the new device is safe and effective. One naloxone device that has already been approved is the over-the-counter nasal spray Narcan. 

Brizz said the device is geared toward everyone, including regular opioid users, college students, festivalgoers, police officers, blue-collar workers and parents.  

[Related: IU health receives $500,000 donation for behavioral health services]

He said he wants the device to be priced around $20 so that it can be carried by a greater number of people. However, he said the price of the device will be dependent on the cost of the naloxone medication. 

Brizz said the earliest the device will be available to the general public is in a year and a half due to the patent and FDA processes that still need to take place. 

Sarah Robertson, IU substance use prevention coordinator, said a naloxone keychain device is a great idea.  

“Right now, if you carry naloxone with you, you’d have to carry a bag or a purse so having it on a keychain would make it way more readily available,” Robertson said. 

She said she carries naloxone but if she were to need it, she would need to go to her car because she does not carry a bag or a purse, but she always has her keys, so having a naloxone keychain device would make the device more accessible. 

Alain Barker, director of music entrepreneurship and career development at the Jacobs School of Music, has been a judge for the Clapp IDEA competition for nine years. He said the device has the potential to make an impact on the opioid epidemic. 

“Naloxone is packaged in medical systems that are clumsy and visually look like what they are which is an emergency treatment which you’d see coming out of an emergency vehicle of some kind,” Barker said. “It’s not packaged, and it’s not presented in a way that makes it usable and creates a stigma on those individuals who are carrying it with them because people think they may be a drug addict.” 

[Related: IU announces partnership with TimelyMD to provide online mental health care resources]

He said Nove is the solution to this problem and offers the opportunity for everyday people to be a part of the solution and save lives. 

Barker said Brizz is an outstanding presenter of ideas which will be an advantage as Nove develops and enters the testing phase.  

“Not only does he have a really great product in his hands, but he is also the type of person to inspire major funders to support his work,” Barker said. “This might be the beginning of a set of applications that he develops in a way that completely changes the marketplace.” 

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