Local medical device start-up EndoInSight
has developed a new device that will help reduce pain associated with colonoscopy procedures and also greatly reduce the cost for physicians to adopt carbon dioxide insufflation
"The conventional way to perform a colonoscopy is to insufflate the patient's colon with ambient room air, but carbon dioxide is quite a bit better because it is absorbed into the body 150 percent faster than ambient room air, so there is not as much bloating after the procedure," says EndoISight Co-founder and CEO Tony Weaver, who formed the company with Byron Smith, an engineer and researcher who created the initial technology while he was working at Vanderbilt University.
The pair became involved with Memphis Bioworks Foundation’s ZeroTo510 Memphis Medical Device Accelerator
earlier this year, and the company has now secured a couple of rounds of seed investments totaling $150,000.
"In addition to the financial investment that they provided, they also provided huge mentorship opportunities as well as access to the medical community and machinery that would allow us to do rapid prototyping," Weaver says.
The next step for the company will be selecting a manufacturer for their product and submitting an application for FDA approval.
Weaver feels what sets EndoInSight apart from its competitors is its single-use basis.
"Our device combines two chemicals, an acid and a base, that react to form carbon dioxide. When the device is set up in the morning, it provides carbon dioxide throughout the day," explains Weaver, who feels the drawbacks associated with other similar products on the market involve price. "You can spend $8,000 to $10,000 per procedure room to outfit them to perform colonoscopies with carbon dioxide. Our technology eliminates the need for having that piece of capital equipment, so it makes it much easier for clinicians and facilities to adopt the use of carbon dioxide."
Colorectal cancer causes more than 50,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, and in more than half of those deaths the patients were not up to date on colonoscopy screenings. Weaver hopes less-painful procedures will result in increased screening rates for colonoscopies in the future.
EndoInSight recently hired a new medical liason, Collin Howser, and the company has increased its headcount from three to six people in the past few months.
By Michael Waddell