A decade ago, Tom Fogarty saw the struggles of medtech start-ups and created the Fogarty Institute of Innovation to help ease the burden a bit.
The entity seems to be living up to its name.
Medtech executive Kerry Pope is serving as CEO of Marz Medical, a new start-up founded on technology that can shorten the duration of painful breast reconstruction surgery.
Built upon technology created by plastic surgeon Josh Korman, MD, Marz is developing a device that can automate the process of administering saline to breast implants used in reconstruction following a mastectomy. The company is one of a series of start-ups at the institute developing products to protect woman from cancer or assuage damage wrought by the disease.
Currently, a patient undergoing breast reconstruction must visit her physician regularly – usually weekly – to add saline to the implant. The amount of saline usually is based upon the discomfort of the patient.
Marz’ Blossom device eliminates the need for the visits. Implanted during a mastectomy, the system will slowly add saline based upon the pressure inside the implant. As the pressure increases, the saline – which comes from an external bag – stops. The patient can also modify the saline flow based upon her own comfort level.
Pope, who serves as executive director of mentoring at the Institute, says Marz’s device would shorten a procedure that currently takes several months to seven to 10 days. The quicker time also ensures the procedure is done before skin becomes less flexible due to scarring. (For a full interview with Pope, listen to this week’s Medtech Talk Podcast.)
With a 510(k) notification for the controller, the company is designing the expander piece of the system, which will require another 510(k).
Pope says the company needs about $3 million to bring the product to market, an effort that will include a design to appeal to retail customers. A new arrangement with an innovative design firm might provide both.
Nottingham Spirk, a product design firm based in Cleveland, is working with the Fogarty Institute to instill retail appeal into medtech devices. The firm’s InnovateMD program has helped design several medtech tools including a diagnostic vest developed by CardioInsight. Following the redesign, Medtronic bought the company for $93 million.
Pope says Nottingham Spirk will bring more to the table than design expertise. The company has a network for high-net-worth individuals who are capable of handling small financings, especially if a company might be on a quick path to being acquired.
“We don’t have to hire people at Marz to get this done,” Pope says. “We fully expect the company will be acquired quickly.”
Other companies focusing on women’s health issues are Madorra and Nvision. For a full list go here.