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U Students Develop Sleek Alternative To The EpiPen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Some University of Minnesota students are gaining national recognition for a new way to treat patients with life-threatening allergies.

Tyler Ebert and Chris Kuehn invented an alternative to the EpiPen called the AdrenaCard. It's about the length of a credit card and the width of a few credit cards.

"We make auto-injectors that are easier to carry around, so you're more likely to have your medication," Ebert, a senior, said.

Neither Ebert or Kuehn have allergies. They came up with the idea for an alternative after Ebert dealt with several customers with food allergies through his work in campus restaurant management.

"After doing some research, we found out less than half will carry [an EpiPen] at all times," Ebert said. "That's a big issue."

They came up with the name "AdrenaCard" from the device's shape, and the synthetic adrenaline it injects into the body. Kuehn, a junior, says the device's size allows users to hide it more easily and helps eliminate any stigma.

"Having a more concealable device on you is something that will be an added bonus because people won't be pointing it out wherever you go," Kuehn said.

The average EpiPen costs around $260. Ebert and Kuehn haven't set a price for AdrenaCard yet, but hope to make it an affordable alternative to patients.

The invention has already earned them the title of second place for student-owned businesses by the Entrepreneurs Organization. While they feel lucky for their early success, they say the real success will be the chance to save lives.

"The chance to be successful, to make a difference in someone's life is amazing," Ebert said.

The device is currently undergoing testing by the FDA. Ebert and Kuehn hope to have the AdrenaCard approved in 2017 before it goes to market.

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