Medical Device Daily Correspondent
ZICHRON YAAKOV, Israel – Israeli healthcare start-up ETView has launched a $1.5 million funding round led by New York-based investment bank Burnham Securities.
ETView's flagship product is an endotracheal tube with an embedded video camera at its tip, to view and monitor the upper airways and trachea during intubation of a sedated and artificially respirated patient. About 50 million intubations are done per year in the Western world.
ETView was founded a year ago in the Misgav Technology Center, a technological incubator in the Galilee that is one of the 20-some incubators in the program organized from within the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.
ETView CEO Oren Gavrieli, a mechanical engineering student at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, invented the product, and in one year the company developed, produced and launched product sales.
His father, respiratory physiologist Noam Gavrieli, ETView's chief medical officer and advisor, told Medical Device Daily, "Late intubation of critically ill patients still poses high risk, especially in the pre-hospitalization setting, where about 30% fail. In the ER or when doctors perform the intubation, the risk of damage or need to re-do is around 10%, and during elective surgery, it falls to about 3%. We anticipate that the number can be lowered to below 1%."
Steve Rhodes, general manager of the Misgav Technology Center, noted that the involvement of an investment bank of Burnhams' standing is an "amazing achievement for the incubator." It came on the heels on an agreement with Trendlines Group affiliate Trendlines Israel Fund to invest $2 million in the incubator and its companies.
Orthoscan product placements
Orthoscan Technologies (Rosh Pina) – which produces computer-based diagnostic devices for orthopedics that can visualize bone deformities and displacements with no X-radiation or ultrasound – reported that one of its devices has been installed at Jerusalem's Alyn Hospital and Pediatric-to-Adolescent Rehabilitation Center and in two other centers in the country.
Alyn is offering free scoliosis and kyphosis (hunchback) scans to youngsters brought to the hospital, until the technology is added to the basket of health services. The device has been approved for distribution in Israel, Europe and the U.S. for scoliosis, a musculoskeletal disorder resulting in a sideways curvature of the spine that is severe enough in three to five of every 1,000 children to require treatment.
Follow-up routinely requires numerous frequent X-rays from two angles. Women who had scoliosis as children and underwent this routine screening have a 70% higher risk of breast cancer than the general population.
OrthScan poses no health dangers but it requires a specially trained technician and more time than X-rays, as each vertebra is referenced from top to bottom by an electronic pointer relative to a sensor placed on each hip bone and on the first neck vertebra. The set of touchpoints results in an accurate tracing of the spinal column that is simultaneously digitized and can be precisely compared by 3-D computer display to monitor exact spinal changes over time.
U.S. patent boosts Glucon Medical
Another highlight of the first quarter for Israeli device firms was the U.S. patent awarded Glucon Medical (Petach Tikvah) for its flagship device, the Glucose Monitoring Watch, which displays a continuous readout of the patient's blood glucose level, allowing real-time follow-up of diet and drug treatment in diabetics for the first time.
The device uses ultrasound imaging to identify a blood vessel and optical spectroscopy to quantify the glucose concentration in the blood vessel. Glucon's founders, company President Ron Nagar and Vice President of Research and Development Benny Pesach, co-authored the claim.
Nagar said the prototype device using photoacoustic techniques for the measurement of physiological variables is currently undergoing clinical testing, which thus far look promising, while the device is being redesigned to be more mobile, flexible, stylish and comfortable.
Glucon was founded in 2000 with seed financing provided by InnoMed Ventures, the life science fund of Jerusalem Global Ventures. In January, Glucon closed a $13 million first round, led by Giza Venture Capital, Infinity Venture Capital Fund, Ascend Technology Ventures and others.
Licensing agreement signed with BGU
BioLineRx (Jerusalem) has signed a worldwide exclusive license agreement with Ben Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev through its business company, BGN Technologies, for an injectible scaffold that reduces damage after cardiac arrest.
The post-heart attack treatment, dubbed BL-1040, "represents a breakthrough for the treatment of patients who have undergone heart attacks by helping to regenerate cardiac tissue," said CEO Morris Laster.
BioLineRx plans to develop the project through BioLine Innovations Jerusalem with funding it obtained from the Office of the Chief Scientist.
The novel material, developed by Ben Gurion University biomedical engineers Smadar Cohen and Jonathan Leor, is a biodegradable polymer that, within minutes after direct injection into the damaged cardiac tissue, intercalates to form a molecular scaffold between heart cells and muscle fibers.
The polymeric scaffold enhances the mechanical strength of the heart muscle and, in experimental heart attack models, was shown to improve outcome, resulting in improved return to normal function with reduced mortality. BioLineRx said that about $9 million would be invested to achieve clinical proof of safety and efficacy.
Surgical rubber supply accord
Kiryat Anavim Silicone Technologies (KAST) signed a NIS 650,000 (about $185,000) agreement to supply silicone rubber products to French manufacturers of surgical equipment.
Meir Kristal, director of marketing, said that the company's technology is one of the most advanced of its kind in the world for manufacturing silicone rubber products for clean rooms, enabling KAST to become a supplier for manufacturers of advanced medical equipment.