Devices & Diagnostics

For MAX Endoscopy, $250,000 investment from JumpStart means ‘fresh breath’ for the new year

MAX Endoscopy Inc. in Macedonia, Ohio, has received a $250,000 investment commitment from JumpStart Inc., the venture development organization in Cleveland. MAX Endoscopy will use the money to formalize sales and marketing efforts for its fiber-optic technology that is used with endoscopes to treat hemorrhoids.

MACEDONIA, Ohio — Bob Stuba feels like he’s been riding an entrepreneurial roller coaster. At the moment, the wind is at his back.

Stuba’s company, MAX Endoscopy Inc., has received a $250,000 investment commitment from JumpStart Inc., the venture development organization in Cleveland. It’s the first institutional money for the company, a designer and maker of endoscopic devices to treat gastrointestinal disorders that is barely two years old.

The JumpStart funding “means so many things for a young company that’s been struggling not only to get the product from concept to the market, but also to try to raise money to commercialize this,” said Stuba, the company’s president and chief executive. “They really came in at a perfect time to bridge that gap from design/development to commercialization.

“What it means is fresh breath for us in the new year. And the resources and support they’ve already provided to us, words can’t speak what it means to this business.”

MAX Endoscopy’s product is the Precision endoscopic infrared coagulator, a fiber-optic technology that gastroenterologists can use within an endoscope to treat hemorrhoids. A burst of infrared light delivered by the device causes blood in the hemorrhoids to harden, so the hemorrhoids shrink.

“Gastroenterologists see hemorrhoids on a daily basis, but there’s not a good way to treat them through the scope,” said Stuba, who has led design and manufacturing efforts at other medical device companies, including US Endoscopy in Mentor.

Treatment with the infrared coagulator is brief, effective and causes little discomfort, according to MAX Endoscopy’s Web site. Patients can immediately return to their normal activities after treatment.

For doctors, the device offers the ability to precisely treat hemorrhoids and to see whether the treatments worked. Insurance reimbursement codes already exist for similar technologies, which makes it easier to get paid for using the device.

Stuba said he got the idea for the coagulator from Dr. Michael  Epstein, a gastroenterologist in Annapolis, Md. The idea didn’t fit with his company’s portfolio of medical devices, so he left to commercialize it on his own. Stuba has a background in fiber-optic devices.

Stuba said he and his two colleagues want to find more gastrointestinal applications for their infrared coagulator — which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale in June.  The device could be used to treat such disorders as colitis, watermelon stomach, gastric ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus.

MAX Endoscopy will use the JumpStart money to formalize its sales and marketing efforts.