Devices & Diagnostics

$9M Series B will help Minimally Invasive Devices expand, drive sales of lens-clearing tools for laparoscopes

As the number of laparoscopic procedures being performed at hospitals and surgery centers outgrows the number of open surgeries, facilities are investing millions of dollars into equipment to improve these procedures, like high-definition optics. But high definition video systems aren’t serving their purpose if the surgeon’s view is obstructed by fog and debris during surgery. […]

As the number of laparoscopic procedures being performed at hospitals and surgery centers outgrows the number of open surgeries, facilities are investing millions of dollars into equipment to improve these procedures, like high-definition optics. But high definition video systems aren’t serving their purpose if the surgeon’s view is obstructed by fog and debris during surgery.

“It’s rather like purchasing a high-end digital camera and being satisfied with photos taken through a dirty lens,” said CEO Wayne Poll, a laparoscopic surgeon who turned his idea into a company called Minimally Invasive Devices in 2006.

Now the company has just raised a $9 million Series B that will allow it to establish a direct sales force, expand manufacturing and develop new products. Canaan Partners led round, and Charter Life Science, a VC firm that has invested previously, also participated.

During a laparoscopic surgery, there are multiple ways the image the surgeon sees can become obscured. Fogging of the lens can occur during the cold laparoscope’s initial insertion into the abdominal cavity, for example, and debris or smoke from other devices used in the procedure may collect on the lens, impeding the vision of the surgeon.

MID makes a clear, disposable sheath that fits over the laparoscope and produces a continuous “air curtain” that keeps the lens free from debris and fog during surgery. It also makes an FDA-cleared biocompatible wash that can clear the end of the laparoscope while it’s in position, in case debris should end up on the lens. That, in theory, should save surgeons time and reduce the hassle of having to remove the scope to clean it.

Poll said that in a recent study of 100 consecutive surgical cases using the product, the company only saw two removals of the laparoscope for cleaning.

The last time the Columbus, Ohio company raised money was in 2010, when it rounded up $1.5 million to launch FloShield. It was cleared by the FDA in 2008 and was previously distributed through a deal with medical device maker CareFusion.  But that deal is over, and after exploring a few other alternatives, Poll said the company thought it would be best to create its own direct sales force. With this financing, he said, the company will hire about 10 more additions to its 21-person staff, including sales personnel, a regulatory director and a VP of sales, which it has already hired.

In addition to ramping up sales of FloShield, MID is also working on a companion product for the robotics market that will improve vision and eliminate problems with smoke during robotic surgeries, Poll said.

Past funding for MID has come from Cincinnati’s Queen City Angels, Columbus’ Ohio TechAngels, as well as Charter Life Sciences and Reservoir Venture Partners.