Devices & Diagnostics

ClearCount caps $5M round for systems that stop ‘never events’

Pittsburgh’s ClearCount Medical Solutions has closed its Series B funding round with the hoped-for $5 million to drive market penetration and R&D for its systems that use radio-frequency identification technology to detect and count sponges used in operations.

ClearCount Medical Solutions has closed its Series B funding round with the hoped-for $5 million.

ClearCount Medical has developed the SmartSponge and SmartWand systems, which use radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and chips embedded in sponges to allow surgeons and nurses to detect and count sponges during operations.

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

Surgical sponges are the most frequent and dangerous “retained surgical items” (RSIs) that are mistakenly left inside patients. Research has shown that retained sponges can cause infectious complications in as few as 30 minutes. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have stopped reimbursing hospitals and physicians for such “never events.”

The latest tranche of money for the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, company was $3.5 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The funding round was supported by new and existing shareholders and led by Draper Triangle Ventures, the Pittsburgh-based partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the company said in a press release.

ClearCount will use the money to “drive market penetration, and research and development of its RFID-based solutions for hospital patient safety applications,” according to the release. It also plans to support its exclusive distribution deal with Medline Industries Inc. (pdf), which the companies announced in December, CFO Dave Haffner said in May.

“Thanks to the strong backing of our investors, this past year ClearCount completed a valuable distribution deal, signed major new customers and introduced an important new product that is making surgical procedures safer every day,” said ClearCount CEO David Palmer in the release.

ClearCount’s products also can reduce or eliminate preventable hospital costs and delays associated with RSIs, including additional surgery and infection costs, litigation, unnecessary X-rays and anesthesia, the company said.

“ClearCount’s patented RFID technology and offerings are more relevant than ever,” said Mike Stubler, managing director of Draper Triangle, in ClearCount’s release. “As improving the quality of healthcare continues to be a national focus, solutions that can also impact the efficiency and value a hospital offers its patients are sure to be adopted.”