ProMedica invests in Sylvania-based medical startupWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | email@example.com
A Sylvania medical device company founded by a Northwest Ohio doctor is receiving financial backing from ProMedica for the development of a device to better treat patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Dr. John Pigott created the FLEX Scoring Catheter for patients with PAD who have severely blocked arteries that cannot be effectively treated with traditional balloon procedures. Pigott is director of endovascular surgery at Toledo’s Jobst Vascular Institute and director of innovation for ProMedica. In 2012, he founded VentureMed Group, which designs, develops and markets innovative medical devices, which he said enable interventionalists to cost effectively treat peripheral artery diseases and improve the lives of their patients.
“I do lot of interventions on lower extremities to improve blood flow through the arteries,” Pigott said. “I knew from the devices that I have currently available, a lot of them are very expensive. Our catheter, for less than a third of the price, should be able to do many of the things that the higher-priced catheters do.”
VentureMed Group is the first startup company to participate in a new medical technology business incubator created by ProMedica Innovations. The incubator is located within the ProMedica Wildwood campus.
ProMedica is investing $500,000 into the project, according to Tedra White, ProMedica director of public relations. Another $500,000 is coming from the Ohio Third Frontier Pre-Seed Fund, she said.
A dozen patients have been enrolled in the first human clinical trials for the FLEX device in Krakow, Poland. With approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it may be available next year in the United States.
“We are extremely pleased with the initial results we are seeing with patients in the clinical trial,” Pigott said. “These are patients with very difficult blockages that would not respond well to existing treatments.”
The catheter is inserted and threaded through the patient’s artery to a point just below the blockage. The surgeon pulls a lever that exposes tiny blades that are mounted at the tip of the catheter. As the catheter is removed, the blades cut through and weaken the plaque. Next, a balloon is inflated to clear out the artery so blood is able to flow freely.
Another benefit of the FLEX Scoring Catheter is it eliminates the need for dozens of different-sized catheters currently being used, Pigott said.
“There may be 40-50 different iterations of current catheters on the shelf because of the different sizes needed to address the length of the blockage and the diameter of the artery,” he said, explaining that this invention has an expandable basket within. “This catheter, because of how it was purposely engineered for the leg, it’s a one-size-fits-all catheter.”
For more information, visit venturemedgroup.com.