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Cambridge Medical Robotics To Make Minimal Access Surgery Universally Accessible

Cambridge Medical Robotics To Make Minimal Access Surgery Universally Accessible And Affordable
Minimal access surgery, or keyhole surgery, delivers acknowledged clinical benefits compared to more common open procedures. Trauma and scarring is reduced due to smaller incisions and recovery times are shorter, ultimately providing lower costs for healthcare providers. However, the procedure is physically demanding to perform and the technique is hard to master, requiring long training time and making the procedure less accessible.

The UK-based startup Cambridge Medical Robotics aims to make minimal access surgery universally accessible and affordable, and is developing the next-generation robotic system. Their technology uses multiple collaborative robotic arms, which mimic the movements of a surgeon and can be repositioned around the operating theater. It also offers state-of-the-art 3D high-definition imagery, and provide surgeons with force feedback for life-like sensitivity. The compact and light-weight system is easy to set up and maneuver, adaptable to all operating environments, and is specifically designed for ease of use by all surgical team members, requiring minimal additional training.

Global annual revenues for robot-assisted minimal access surgery are approximately $4 billion and are anticipated to reach $20 billion by 2025. Cambridge Medical Technology seeks to transform the existing market by developing a system that overcome current obstacles to widespread adoption of robotic minimal access surgery, including robot and instrument size, cost and ease of use. They are working to significantly expand the range of procedures that can be performed robotically, offering all the benefits of manual minimal access surgery while making life easier for surgeons and reducing the capital and operational cost for each procedure. The reduced costs and ease-of-use help make minimal access surgery universal, reducing trauma and improving recovery times for new patient groups around the world.

The startup has over 80 patent applications filed to protect the fundamental disruptive technologies behind the system, and earlier in 2016 announced the successful completion of their first round of clinical cadaveric trials conducted at The Evelyn Cambridge Surgical Training Centre. The trials demonstrated surgical activities in the pelvic, upper gastrointestinal and colorectal surgical areas, and data was collected to inform further cadaveric, animal and first-in-human trials.

Cambridge Medical Robotics has previously completed seed funding from Escala Capital, and earlier in 2016 secured over $20 million in a Series A funding round with investors including ABB Technology Ventures, LGT Global Invest and Cambridge Innovation Capital. The proceeds will be used to progress development and commercialization of their medical robotic technology and prepare for regulatory approval.

Intento Set To Advance Rehabilitation Of Paralyzed Stroke Patients

Intento Set To Advance Rehabilitation Of Paralyzed Stroke Patients
Every year 17 million people have a stroke, the leading cause of disability, costing the society close to $100 billion. More than 5 million are left permanently, severely paralyzed, a majority of these with upper-limb disability. Many can’t dress, wash or even feed themselves, and have to rely on family and carers for the rest of their lives. One of the major factor in determining how much someone recovers after a stroke, is how much therapy they receive. But current therapies are far from cost-effective, and with limited resources, only 50% of patients receive therapy that meet their needs.

The Swiss startup Intento has developed an easy-to-use solution to help severely paralyzed stroke patients recover function in upper limbs. Their technology is based on functional electrical stimulation, consisting of a tablet software and motion-control device that is connected to an electrical stimulator, which is connected to the patient through electrodes. A programmed movements, such as “grasp a glass”, is selected from the tablet, and sent to the motion-control device. Turning a dial on the device controls the electrical stimulation of the muscles and nerves, and thereby the degree of movement of the paralyzed arm according to the programmed movement selected. By doing so, even a totally paralyzed patient can perform physical exercises and relearn motion processes.

The startup plans to launch two versions of the product, one for use in hospitals, followed by a second for simple use at home. Initial studies have shown that 80% of patients doing rehabilitation with Intento’s solution have displayed a clinically relevant improvement after two weeks, compared to only 30% undergoing conventional intensive therapy. 50% of patients using Intento even displayed a very large recovery.

Millions of people have strokes every year, leaving them paralyzed. Intento help these patients to re-learn lost movements already after two weeks of usage. They have developed a novel, non-invasive functional electrical stimulation that enables even completely paralyzed patients to move their upper limbs again. The system can be set up in less than 5 minutes, and patients can move their arm immediately, bringing back motivation and engagement in the progress. In addition, the progress is quantified, allowing doctors and physicians to track the amount of exercises performed by the patient and follow the recovery process more closely.

The cost of strokes in the EU and US alone amounts to over $92 billion. Intento, and their innovative technology, could significantly reduce these numbers by making stroke rehabilitation simpler and more effective. By giving physicians and therapists new resources that allow them to oversee the recovery process more efficiently, they are able to increase access to therapy, accelerate the recovery and significantly improve quality of life to millions of people around the world.

Intento is a spin-off company of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and was founded in 2016. The startup has been named as one of the top 100 startups of Switzerland, received the Swiss Medtech Award 2016, and won the Audience Champion award at the Boston Global Pitchfest 2016. They have also won the second stage of Venture Kick, and was part of MassChallenge Switzerland.

Glyscend To Revolutionize Diabetes Treatment With Ingestible Device

Glyscend To Revolutionize Diabetes Treatment With Ingestible Device
In 2014, close to half a billion people lived with diabetes. It is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputations, and in 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by the disease. In addition to devastating health consequences, diabetes and its complications bring about substantial economic loss to people and their families, as well as health systems and national economies. Type 2 diabetes comprise the majority of people with diabetes around the world, and is now occurring increasingly frequent in children.

Traditional management strategies, coupled with diet and exercise, can be effective at controlling the symptoms of the disease. However, recent studies have shown bariatric surgery to have profound beneficial effect, not only on obesity but also on type 2 diabetes independent of weight loss. Unfortunately, surgery is not an options for the vast majority of type 2 diabetes patients due to associated risks and eligibility requirements.

The Baltimore-based startup Glyscend is determined to develop a revolutionary, non-invasive approach to treat type 2 diabetes that act on the same mechanism as a surgery. They have identified the interruption of key signaling pathways as a primary mechanism behind bariatric surgery’s efficacy, and is developing an orally ingestible intestinal coating that will mimick the very same mechanism. The coating prevents stimulation of duodenal mucosa and inhibits key neurohormonal pathways in the proximal gut, providing the therapeutic benefits of this surgery in a pill form. So far, the pill has shown efficacy in small diabetic animal models and the startup has optimized the technology for large animal testing in late 2016 and human testing in 2017.

Millions of people around the world suffer from type 2 diabetes and desperately need an effective strategy to keep glucose levels under control. While proven effective as a treatment, bariatric surgery is widely unavailable to many patients. In the US, a country with over 25 million suffering from the disease, fewer than 50,000 surgeries are performed annually. Glyscend has developed an innovative technology that extend the therapeutic benefits to much wider patient populations, providing physicians with the tools they need to treat the disease instead of merely managing it.

In addition, diabetes imposes a large economic burden on the healthcare system, and accounted for over 11% of the total healthcare expenditure in the world in 2010. That amounts to over $370 billion to prevent and treat the disease and its complications. The revolutionary, non-invasive approach by Glyscend could significantly reduce these numbers, while preserving the traditional care pathway and bring control to the lives of millions around the globe.

The team behind Glyscend came together at Johns Hopkins University and their CBID program, and the startup was founded in 2014. Since then, they have attracted funding from VentureWell, TEDCO, the Coulter Translational Partnership at Johns Hopkins, as well as a grant from the National Science Foundation. Earlier 2016, the startup won 2nd place in the T1D Exchange’s Diabetes Innovation Challenge, the 2nd place in the ADA HealthTech Showcase in Palo Alto, as well as winning the $500,000 Johnson&Johnson Quickfire Challenge.

CyMedica Orthopedics Accelerate Recovery From Muscle Atrophy

CyMedica Orthopedics Accelerate Recovery From Muscle Atrophy
Muscle atrophy, the loss of muscle mass and subsequent decrease of muscle tone, has a profound impact on orthopedic patients after injury and the post-surgical healing process. Recovery of muscle mass and function greatly extends the rehabilitation period, and some patients never fully recover. Studies have shown that this is particularly profound for the quadriceps muscle group, with total knee replacement patients only having about 60% quadriceps strength a month after surgery.

The current rehabilitations process combine strength exercises and electrical stimulation, using Neuro-Muscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) that repeatedly exercise the deficient muscle to improve strength and cognitive activation. However, traditional NMES sends large amounts of energy diffusely across the skin, not only causing imprecise muscle activation but extreme patient discomfort. As a result, patient compliance rates are often poor, negatively impacting the rehabilitation progress.

The Arizona, US-based startup CyMedica Orthopedics is developing products that target joint injuries and the resulting muscle atrophy, and aim to give more patients access to high-intensity electrical muscle stimulation that’s often utilized to care for elite athletes. Their products, the QB1 Muscle Activation System, deliver a convenient, high-intensity NMES therapy individualized for each patient to accelerate physical rehabilitation and recovery at home or anywhere. Through a closed-loop technology, the smart system constantly monitors and adjust the delivered stimulation, enabling it to decrease discomfort and allow a more targeted and individualized therapy.

The QB1 consists of an easy-to-use controller and a conductive garment, which can be used alone or with a low-profile post-operative brace. The conductive garment is soft and form-fitting, designed to provide a proper placement of the muscle activation electrodes. The controller unit is connected to the conductive garment, and generates and delivers the stimulation to the weakened quad muscles. Using the integrated touchscreen, the three times daily 20 minute sessions can be administered and intensity of the stimulation can be adjusted. The post-operative brace is an externally applied system that when attached to the conductive garment provides alignment, support and improved knee function after knee surgery.

The system substantially advance the standard of care for knee rehabilitation, allowing orthopedic surgeons to treat every patient like a professional athlete by initiating neuromuscular activation immediately following knee surgery. It significantly simplify the delivery of high intensity electrical muscle stimulation at home, individualizing treatment while encouraging patient compliance. CyMedica Orthopedics has developed an innovative system that not only accelerate the rehabilitation process, but deliver full muscle recovery with greater comfort and convenience.

The startup was founded in 2013, and the innovative QB1 system was already shown at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in 2015 with great reviews. Just a month later, the system was launched after receiving FDA 510(k) clearance. CyMedica Orthopedics has previously raised over $17 million and investors include Research Corporation Technologies, California Technology Ventures and Aphelion Capital.

Skellig Surgical's Innovative Device To Reduce Keyhole Surgery Complications

Skellig Surgical's Innovative Device To Reduce Keyhole Surgery Complications
Millions of laparoscopic surgeries, or keyhole surgeries, are performed each year worldwide. One of the most common complications experienced is dealing with bowel spilling, obstructing the surgeons view. A common solution is to place the patient in a steep head-down position, a so-called Trendelenburg position, and use forceps to retract the bowel. However, this can significantly increase the risk of intraoperative complications such as increased intracranial and intraocular pressure, lower blood pressure and impaired circulation.

The Irish startup Skellig Surgical is determined to improve laparoscopic surgery and has developed SecuRetract, a medical device that will improve access and outcomes by gently retracting impeding organs. The device is deployed through a standard 5 mm diameter trocar, which once positioned inside the patient can be inflated. When inflated, the device is curved, creating a unique hook that gently and effectively retract impeding organs from the operating field.

Unlike existing retractors, SecuRetract is specifically designed to maximize small bowel retraction while simplifying the procedure, ultimately making surgery easier and safer. Commercially available retractors can generate high pressures on the soft tissue, leading to injury or perforation. SecuRetract is minimally invasive, minimizing trauma on entry and its soft inflatable interface eliminates the risk of injury to internal organs, leading to better surgical outcomes. It outperforms current solutions by reducing the dependency of the Trendelenburg position, eliminating associated risks. Over 7.5 million laparoscopic procedures are performed each year worldwide, and the innovative device has the potential to be used in as many as a third of these procedures, significantly reducing intraoperative trauma and improving surgical outcomes for millions of patients.

The development of the device started with the identification of a clinical need by Emmet Andrews and Michael O’Riordain, two colorectal surgeons based in Cork University teaching hospitals, and has been further validated by over fifty international surgeons. The startup was founded by Conor O’Shea and Pádraig Cantillon-Murphy after participating in a biodesign module at UCC, linking clinicians with interdisciplinary student teams to solve real life clinical problems. The development of SecuRetract has largely been funded by grants from Enterprise Ireland, and Skellig Surgical has been recognized with multiple awards, including the CorkBIC Global Investor Challenge, looking for the most investible startups and entrepreneurs.

Versantis Develop Life-Saving Therapy For Rare Liver Diseases

Versantis Develop Life-Saving Therapy For Rare Liver Diseases
Acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) is a syndrome in patients with chronic liver disease that cause a cascade of multiple organ failure and rapidly progress into coma and death. The syndrome occurs in over 100,000 patients yearly worldwide, and continues to increase dramatically due to the aging population, and a higher prevalence of diabetes, obesity, alcohol and drug intoxications. Due to a huge unmet medical need, with current treatment options being either preventative or unsafe, the rare liver disease has an alarming mortality rate.

The Swizz startup Versantis is developing a life-saving therapy for liver disease patients. Their lead therapy, VS-01, is the first emergency treatment for acute liver diseases. The candidate is a unique dialysis approach, a liposomal-based fluid that acts as a clearance enhancer for a large spectrum of toxic metabolites, such as ammonia, accumulated during liver and kidney failures. By enhancing this removal, it supports the failing brain, liver and kidneys simultaneously, 3 organs of major importance in the prognostic of patients with acute liver diseases.

VS-01 has been granted an Orphan Drug Designation, and besides ACLF, it also target two other rare liver diseases, acute liver failure (ALF) and urea cycle disorders (UCDS). It is estimated that ALF affects 7,500 patients yearly in the EU and USA, and approximately half of them die waiting for a liver graft. UCDS affects over 1,000 newborns every year, and rapidly evolves to coma and death if not treated within hours. In addition, the startup continues to expand its pipeline and is also developing VS-02 and VS-03 for chronic liver diseases and for the treatment of drug intoxications, both considered as endemic diseases worldwide.

Although still in early phases, Versantis’ lead product is a radical breakthrough that will be the first treatment approved for ACLF, presenting a new hope for patients who so far have been neglected due to the absence of an effective drug. The startup has already developed an impressive pipeline that improve patients’ outcome, potentially saving thousands of lives, while relieving health care systems from the economic burden of liver diseases. And their innovative liposomal system could lead to disruptive drugs in a broad range of indications of high unmet need, highlighting the innovative technology and the startup’s huge potential.

Versantis has previously won the top 10 >>venture>> Business Idea Award, and has been supported by Venture Kick, a three stage funding model initiated to support Swiss startups. Recently, the startup announced they had won a scholarship at Cydan Development, an orphan drug accelerator that identifies and de-risks orphan drug products with significant therapeutic and commercial potential, and that they had won MassChallenge Switzerland 2016.

JustMilk Develop Innovative Drug Delivery System For Infants

JustMilk Develop Innovative Drug Delivery System For Infants
Close to 3 million babies die each year within the first month after birth, with the risk highest during the initial hours and days of an infant’s life. Many of these could be saved with access to appropriate medications or nutrients. The risk is highest in low- and middle-income countries, and there is a huge unmet need for a new drug delivery system for infants in these areas.

JustMilk is dedicated to improving maternal and infant health by developing top quality medical devices. They are currently developing a Nipple Shield Delivery System (NSDS) to safely and effectively deliver drugs and nutrients to breastfeeding infants. The novel system consists of a thin, disposable silicone device, which is modified to hold a dispersible therapeutic tablet. The device is placed over the nipple, and the tablet is directly delivered to the infant via the breast milk. The technology enable a wide range of active pharmaceutical ingredient to be delivered to infants, including antibiotics, antimalarials, antiretrovirals, vitamins, nutrients and probiotics.

The story began back in 2008 at the International Development Design Summit, where an international team was given a month to tackle an enormous question: how can we prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV around the globe? The idea of JustMilk was born, a nipple shield that would release antiviral compound in breast milk to nursing infants. And although the function as a technology is slightly different today than originally intended, their mission of neonatal health is still at the core.

While the understanding of drug delivery in infants has advanced over the past several decades, there is still a deficiency of technologies developed specifically for this population. The innovative device developed by JustMilk does not require refrigeration, water for cleaning and suspending medication, or literacy for dose measurement, circumventing many of the current challenges in infant drug delivery involving dosage, storage and hygiene. They have developed a more effective, safer, simpler and more convenient technology that is set to change how we deliver medications to infants in both developed countries and low-resource settings, while encouraging the natural and healthy process of breastfeeding. It could potentially improve treatment outcomes, save millions around the world, and become a major tool in the global fight against malnutrition, infectious diseases and other health crises.

The innovative drug delivery system is currently in initial testing, and the startup has so far completed two acceptability studies with community stakeholder to understand potential cultural barriers in device use. So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and the startup earlier in 2016 won Pitch@Palace and was a finalist of MassChallenge UK. The startup was also the winner of the IChemE 2016 Resource-Poor Technology Award, as well as a finalist of their Best Business Start-Up Award. JustMilk has formed an impressive network and some of their partners and supporters include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, UK Aid and Venture Well.

Cambridge Oncometrix Develop Prostate Cancer Diagnostics For Early Detection

Cambridge Oncometrix Develop Prostate Cancer Diagnostics For Early Detection
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Although one of the leading causes of cancer death among men, it can be cured in 99% if detected in time. However, current diagnostics have major limitations. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a widely used primary diagnostic blood test, has a false positive rate of about 70% and false negative rate of over 20%. Prostate biopsies are not only plagued with high false negative rates, but are highly invasive, and developing better tests that accurately identify men with life threatening prostate cancer at an earlier stage is of importance.

The UK-based startup Cambridge Oncometrix is determined to save lives by enabling early detection of prostate cancer. They have discovered a set of novel biomarkers for the diagnosis of prostate cancer, and have developed a non-invasive, accurate, sensitive and affordable assay, called the CAMONX. The test can either be performed by men in the comfort of their homes or by a physician. The home-test will be a simple color-based dip stick test that is as simple to use as a pregnancy test, providing an accurate indication of whether they need to visit their doctor for further diagnosis. The professional version is a non-invasive, easy-to-use test that will provide immediate point-of-care results.

About 1 in 39 men will die of prostate cancer. Cambridge Oncometrix is developing a diagnostic test that accurately identify prostate cancer at an early stage, potentially reducing these devastating numbers. In addition, the test will specifically distinguish between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia, the most common prostatic condition in men over 45, which mimics symptoms of prostate cancer. PSA, the current gold standard, is unable to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous conditions, giving high false positive rates. CAMONX is significantly more precise, accurate and convenient. By developing two different types of tests, one for professional use and one for home use, they are not only capable of accurately detecting aggressive forms of cancer at the point of care, but allow men to regularly check the health of their prostate in the comfort of their own home. And although there certainly are ethical questions whether this creates more anxiety and stress in healthy people, pressuring them to constantly buy more home-tests to check their prostate, the innovative technology could significantly improve treatment outcomes and survival rates.

Cambridge Oncometrix earlier in 2016 won Pitch@Palace’s People’s Choice Award, a national event established by the Duke of York to give tech companies the opportunity to share their business ideas with a global audience of influences. The startup was also a finalist of the MassChallenge UK accelerator program, and ran a crowdfunding campaign to complete their proof of concept clinical investigation.

Adient Medical Develop Absorbable IVC Filter To Prevent Pulmonary Embolism

Adient Medical Develop Absorbable IVC Filter To Prevent Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary embolism is a common and potentially fatal condition where a blood clot cause a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. Patient at risk can be identified and are usually treated with anticoagulation therapy. However, when this is contraindicated or there are additional risk factors, inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, a physical net that catches clots before making it to the lungs, are commonly used to reduce risk of pulmonary embolism. While effective, they have serious drawbacks. In fact, over time pieces can fragment off, occlude blood flow, potentially becoming a source of thrombi themselves. Because of this, they are often retrieved after a period of time, carrying both high risks and costs.

The Texas-based startup Adient Medical is developing the first absorbable IVC filter for the prevention of pulmonary embolism. Just like any other IVC filter, it is able to trap blood clots destined for the lungs. Uniquely, it maintains 80 percent of its strength for 35 days before breaking down into CO2 and H2O after clots resorb in the filter. By doing so, the filter avoid the need for risky and costly retrieval procedures and cannot perforate organs, which has previously led to FDA warnings with conventional filters.

While most patients at risk of pulmonary embolism can be effectively treated with anticoagulation drugs, they are also inefficient or not safe to use in many patients. These patients rely on IVC filters, which despite their risks are considered advantageous. Not only are there risks associated with removing these filters, complications may even prevent them from being removed. And the long-term safety profile of permanently leaving a filter inside the body is unknown. Adient Medical’s innovative absorbable filter will disrupt the market, obviating the retrieval of the filter and potentially saving up to $12,000 per procedure. Most importantly, the startup has developed a technology that is safer than the current standard, reducing IVC-associated complications and risk, while potentially increasing quality and saving life.

Founded in 2012, Adient Medical has so far completed two animal studies that revealed a 100 percent clot capture efficacy and no pulmonary embolism, and they are expecting to bring the filters to human clinical trials in 2017. The startup has previously won the 2014 Rice Alliance Award, 2015 Medical World Americas, as well as a top 100 Red Herring award, that highlight the most exciting startups around the world. Adient was also a 2016 second place winner of the Medtech Innovator Competition, and won their Value Award for the company with the most attractive value proposition.

Opsis Therapeutics Determined To Restore Vision Loss From Retinal Diseases

Opsis Therapeutics Determined To Restore Vision Loss From Retinal Diseases
Millions of people around the world suffer from retinal diseases, a group of debilitating conditions with a major impact on daily life, causing irreversible vision loss. From performing basic functions to personal independence and mental health, vision loss affects a wide range of everyday tasks. Common to all retinal diseases is the damage to photoreceptor cells of the retina, which malfunction and disappear. However, there are currently no therapeutic options available that can restore the permanent loss of vision and blindness these conditions can cause.
The Wisconsin-based startup Opsis Therapeutics focus on discovering and developing new treatments to restore vision to patients suffering from retinal diseases. The last decade, it has become feasible to generate new photoreceptors from induced pluripotent stem cells and then transplant them into the diseased retina. The startup aim to build on this progress and move it towards new therapeutic strategies to improve standard of care for patients with retinal diseases.
Opsis is at the forefront of scientific research on retinal cell manufacturing and its application in the treatment of retinal diseases, and aim to bring together a cross-disciplinary team of internationally recognized advisors and development partners. Although still early, the startup is pioneering new approaches to treat retinal diseases and their associated vision loss. Tens of millions around the world live with these diseases, significantly reducing their quality of life, highlighting the huge potential of Opsis and their technology.

Opsis Therapeutics is a spinoff from Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) and was established on July 31, 2016. CDI made the initial seed investment and owns 51 percent of the venture, while their partner David Gamm, director of the UQ-Madison’s McPherson Eye Research Institute, owns 49 percent. Additional investments will be made as needed for full-scale development.

Sontina Medical Develop Fast And Low-Cost Breast Biopsy Device

Sontina Medical Develop Fast And Low-Cost Breast Biopsy Device
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, and it is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed during their lifetime. Every year, more than 5 million women undergo breast biopsies, the only diagnostic procedure to definitely determine a diagnosis. However, the technology has remained stagnant, and most women are still biopsied using tools that were developed 40 years ago. Improving this technology could help save lives and have tremendous impact on society.

The San Francisco-based startup Sontina Medical is determined to disrupt the breast biopsy industry by introducing a novel biopsy device. Their low-cost, single-use device, called Presto Breast Biopsy Device, allows a physician to fast and easy obtain high-quality samples for breast cancer diagnosis. Instead of taking 5-10 samples with a spring-loaded device, physicians are able to capture 1-3 precision samples using Sontina’s variable length technology. In addition, if multiple samples are needed, it is able to acquire them in a single insertion.

The innovative biopsy device reduce trauma, offering improved patient comfort while maintaining low cost. And the feature giving multiple samples from a single insertion not only makes the biopsy procedure safer and faster, but affordable to the global population. Breast cancer is increasing particularly in developing countries, where the survival rates are the lowest. These low survival rates can be explained mainly by the lack of adequate diagnosis and treatment facilities. Sontina Medical and their device could significantly improve access to a definitive breast cancer diagnosis, potentially improving patient outcomes and survival rates.

The Sontina Medical Presto Breast Biopsy Device is FDA cleared and has been clinically validated. The tissue samples obtained using the device has not only impressed physicians, but made Sontina a semifinalist in the 2016 MedTech Innovator Competition, where they underwent a four month accelerator before attending AdvaMed 2016. Earlier in 2016, the startup also won the Rosenman Innovation Award.

Adhesys Medical Set To Disrupt With Innovative Surgical Sealants

Adhesys Medical Set To Disrupt With Innovative Surgical Sealants
Surgical sealants are used in many procedures, and the choice of material is important to create an optimal setting for wound healing. The two major players at the moment is cyanoacrylate derivatives, most commonly used to close skin wounds, and fibrin glues that are used for a variety of situations within the body. However, both have disadvantages, and developing new sealants with a special focus on the high-stress, wet environment in constant movement inside the body is of high importance.

The Germany and US-based startup Adhesys Medical is looking to disrupt the current market with a novel sealant. Their technology contain two main components: a synthetically manufactured polyurethane prepolymer, which is functionalized with reactive isocyanate groups and an amino-based curing agent. When these two components are mixed together in a 2-chambered syringe, it generates a transparent film that is easily applied to the injured tissue and that polymerizes within seconds. The different properties of the technology can be fine-tuned, changing its elasticity, curing time and degradation time, adjusting it to specific medical indications.

Although entirely synthetic, the innovative technology is non-toxic, and not only completely biocompatible, but 100% biodegradable. The adhesives fit perfectly to the underlying tissue, forming a second skin, and its high viscosity allow it to be applied to any kind of wound, even in uneven areas. And due to its hydrophilic nature, fluids acts as a catalyst to the adhesive’s reaction, making it perfect for wet environments.

The startup’s products are able to seal high-pressure wounds, providing a safe and strong wound closure. And while the technology features many revolutionary characteristics with the potential to meet a wide variety of clinical needs, its ease of use and application make it especially suitable for emergency situations. The innovative sealants could radically enhance surgical procedures, help minimize complications, improve patient comfort and quality of life, ultimately saving lives.

Adhesys Medical has won multiple awards since it was founded in 2013 in Aachen, Germany, including the Rice Business Plan Competition, the 2015 Biomedica Award, Falling Walls Venture and startup of the year 2015, JLABS @ TMC Quick Fire Challenge, the Charité Entrepreneurship Summit Prize, Medtech Innovator Execution Award, as well as the 2016 MassChallenge Award. Their investors include Seed Fonds Aachen, KfW, S-UBG, and the GOOSE Society of Texas.

Scientists Develop HIV Test On A USB Stick

USB stick that tests for HIV.
USB stick that tests for HIV.
Scientists have developed a type of HIV test on a USB stick. The device, created by scientists at Imperial College London and DNA Electronics, uses a drop of blood to detect HIV, and then creates an electrical signal that can be read by a computer, laptop or handheld device. The disposable test could be used for HIV patients to monitor their own treatment, and could enable HIV to be managed more effectively in remote locations. The research was published in Scientific Reports.

The new technology monitors the amount of virus in the bloodstream in under 30 minutes. Current tests take at least three days, often longer, and involves sending a blood sample to a laboratory. In many parts of the world, particularly those with the highest number of HIV infections, such testing does not exist at all.

The current treatment for HIV, called anti-retroviral treatment, reduces virus levels to near zero. However, in some cases the medication may stop working - perhaps because the HIV virus has developed resistance to the drugs. The first indication of this would be a rise in virus levels in the bloodstream.

Furthermore, regularly monitoring of viral levels enables healthcare teams to check a patient is taking their medication. Stopping medication fuels HIV drug-resistance, which is an emerging global problem.

Dr Graham Cooke, senior author of the research from the Department of Medicine at Imperial explained: "HIV treatment has dramatically improved over the last 20 years - to the point that many diagnosed with the infection now have a normal life expectancy. However, monitoring viral load is crucial to the success of HIV treatment. At the moment, testing often requires costly and complex equipment that can take a couple of days to produce a result. We have taken the job done by this equipment, which is the size of a large photocopier, and shrunk it down to a USB chip."

Dr Cooke added that this technology, although in the early stages, could allow patients to regularly monitor their virus levels in much the same way that people with diabetes check their blood sugar levels. The technology could be particularly powerful in remote regions in sub-Saharan Africa, which may not have easy access to testing facilities. Finding out quickly if a patient, particularly a baby, is infected with the virus is crucial to their long term health and survival.

The device, which uses a mobile phone chip, just needs small sample of blood. This is placed onto a spot on the USB stick. If any HIV virus is present in the sample, this triggers a change in acidity which the chip transforms into an electrical signal. This is sent to the USB stick, which produces the result in a programme on a computer or electronic device. In the latest research, the technology tested 991 blood samples with 95 per cent accuracy. The average time to produce a result was 20.8 minutes.

The team are also investigating whether the device can be used to test for other viruses such as hepatitis. The technology was developed in conjunction with the Imperial spinout company DNA Electronics which is using the same technology to develop a device for detecting bacterial and fungal sepsis and antibiotic resistance.

Professor Chris Toumazou, DNAe's Founder, Executive Chairman and Regius Professor at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial added: "This is a great example of how this new analysis technology has the potential to transform how patients with HIV are treated by providing a fast, accurate and portable solution. At DNAe we are already applying this highly adaptable technology to address significant global threats to health, where treatment is time-critical and needs to be right first time."

SafeHeal's Innovate Device To Revolutionize Gastrointestinal Surgery

SafeHeal's Innovate Device To Revolutionize Gastrointestinal Surgery
Patients who require a colon resection often receive a diverting colostomy, where the colon is brought through the abdominal wall so that waste can exit the body through an ostomy. By doing so, the anastomotic site, where the colon has been re-attached, is protected from fecal contents and allowed to heal. However, the procedure carries social stigma and impact the patient emotionally. And it carries major complications, with about 10% of patients experiencing leakage, which is associated with significant mortality and morbidity.

The France-based startup SafeHeal is developing a device, called ColoVac, which obviates the need for bowel diversion surgery. The device is a covered stent that is placed inside the colon at the anastomosis, protecting the area from excessive pressure and from exposure to fecal contents. ColoVac can be delivered during both open and laparoscopic procedures, and is anchored above the anastomosis using a vacuum-based mechanism. Once in place, it remains there until the body’s natural healing is completed, after which it can be removed without the need for a second surgical intervention.

Anastomotic leaks are one of the most serious complications after colorectal surgery, and could have devastating implications. Patients with leaks have significantly greater chances of wound infection and mortality rates of up to 32%, placing a considerable additional burden on both patients and healthcare providers. Not to mention the lack of confidence in socializing, anxiety, embarrassment and difficulties with intimacy that many patients experience. SafeHeal has developed a device that avoid the need for a diverting colostomy, enabling patients to resume their normal life without having to wear an ostomy pouch. ColoVac could significantly improve quality of life for these patients, giving them their life back. In addition, the device could minimize post-operative complication, improve patient recovery, while reducing associated costs.

ColoVac is based on the invention of a French surgeon Dr. Khosrovani, and has so far been successfully tested in over 80 pigs. SafeHeal is incubated by MD Start II, a medtech accelerator developing innovative medical devices based on inventions from physicians, and is a laureate of the Worldwide Innovation Challenge 2015 (Concours Mondial De l’Innovation). The startup was also voted as the most promising and innovative medtech startup at the investor conference at Biovision 2016, and was a finalist at the 2016 Medtech Innovator Competition.

Linear Health Sciences Determined To Prevent Accidental IV Removal

Linear Health Sciences To Prevent Accidental IV Removal
1 in 4 IV catheters are accidentally dislodged during day-to-day hospital activity, sometimes leading to painful unintentional removal of the catheter from the body. Accidental removal can even cause life-threatening complications, both from the removal itself and from reinsertion. In addition, it costs an average of $50 to restart an IV, adding up to several billion annually in the US alone.

The Oklahoma-based startup Linear Health Sciences is developing cutting-edge technology to prevent unwanted disconnection of IV’s. Their product, Orchid Valve, attaches to a standard IV luer lock, and if accidentally dislodged, the tubing will breakaway harmlessly, leaving the catheter in place. A new valve is then placed and the IV can be restarted without another catheter placement procedure, saving the patient from the discomfort of repeated IV attempts and the hospital time and money.

Linear Health Sciences has developed a simple, yet innovative technology that change how accidental IV removals are dealt with. The Orchid Valve is specifically designed with both the patient and the administrator in mind, minimizing the risk of complications and infections. IV therapy is the fastest way of delivering fluids and medications to the human body, and approximately 40% of all medications administered are given intravenously. The startup and their promising technology could increase success of treatment and ultimately improve patient outcomes, potentially saving lives.

In addition, replacing dislodged IVs is expensive, costing billions of dollars each year. The innovative solution can save up to 78% of incurred costs with unwanted IV removal, while minimizing time and resources. And the proprietary technology could potentially be applied to a wide variety of medical tubing, highlighting both the technology and the startup’s huge potential.

Linear Health Sciences was earlier in 2016 selected as a finalist in the Journal Record’s Innovator of the Year Award in Oklahoma, and was a semifinalist in the MedTech Innovator Competition before showcasing at AdvaMed 2016. In September 2016, the startup announced they had closed a $1.25 million seed round. The round was led by i2E and included $515,000 invested by Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund, $250,000 from the Oklahoma Angel Fund, $105,000 from SeedStep Angels and a total of $380,000 from other angel investors. The funding was used to develop manufacture grade tooling and molds for their Orchid Valve IV connection, and to finance the FDA approval process.

Tueo Health Develop Sensor To Monitor And Better Manage Asthma In Children

Tueo Health Develop Sensor To Monitor And Better Manage Asthma In Children
In pediatrics, asthma is a potentially deadly condition that can be difficult to stay on top of. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on the hospitalization of children with asthma. A large component of this cost, and risk, are acute asthma flares. Although they can be treated effectively by adjusting medications, there is a lack of monitoring tools that accurately identify flares early enough to prevent hospitalization, making it difficult for families to interpret symptoms and status of the disease.

The California-based startup Tueo Health has developed a sensor that resides in a child’s bedroom and can accurately detect an acute asthma flare at a very early stage. The non-contact, under-the-mattress sensor passively measures key physiologic parameters, objectively measuring the status of the condition. The sensor data is processed and made available in an easy-to-understand accompanying app, which help parents interpret symptoms, who in conjunction with the patient's medical team can adjust medication to prevent the serious consequences of acute flares.

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children, and the third-ranking cause of hospitalization. The innovative, non-intrusive sensor developed by Tueo Health enhance asthma care, helping parents successfully manage the disease and record frequency and objectively record frequency and severity of symptoms. And in cases of worsening control of flares, the app include contact with trained asthma educators who engage and guide families through the next steps. This not only help support families to improve patient outcomes, but could significantly reduce costs associated with asthma and acute flares, while fitting within the existing management framework.

Tueo Health emerged from the Stanford's Biodesign Fellowship that aim to boost entrepreneurship in digital health and medical devices. The startup was also a semifinalist of the Medtech Innovator Competition, where they underwent a four month virtual accelerator before attending AdvaMed 2016.