Startups, Devices & Diagnostics

This Israeli startup brings sensor-based smart tubes to the ICU

Art Medical, a company based in Israel and Palo Alto, has products that seek to prevent complications that can arise from intubation, including aspiration pneumonia, ventilator-associated pneumonia and acute kidney injury.

physician, doctor, hallway, medical, medicine

In 2009, Liron Elia founded Art Medical with a goal: preventing pneumonia in ICU patients. Nearly nine years later, its mission has expanded. The startup’s products seek to prevent complications that can come from intubation, such as aspiration pneumonia, ventilator-associated pneumonia and acute kidney injury. Its technology also seeks to optimize enteral feeding.

The Israel- and Palo Alto-based company does this through its set of sensor-based tubes (smART feeding tubes) and its tech platform (smART console).

“Basically we are taking standard tubes and devices, and we are making them smart by putting on them sensors and communicating in real time with the smart console,” Elia said in a phone interview.

Complications like aspiration pneumonia, VAP and acute kidney injury can lengthen a patient’s stay in the hospital and increase their mortality risk. To decrease the likelihood of these problems, providers have to monitor gastric reflux and saliva and quickly identify the complications when they do arise.

Art Medical wants to make the process simpler. Its sensor-based tubes do the monitoring and collect data. Via the console, nurses can keep track of this information and step in when there’s a problem.

“The patient is ventilated and under anesthesia. You don’t know if he’s aspirating,” Elia said. “We are [monitoring] with sensors that can detect this event in real time.”

The startup’s technology received the CE Mark and FDA approval. It is now going through clinical studies in the United States, Elia noted.

The platform only focuses on issues that are not the original cause of the patient’s ICU admission. For instance, if an individual is hospitalized after having a stroke, Art Medical does not deal with the stroke in and of itself. Its sole purpose is intubation-related complications.

That reasoning partially contributed to the company’s creation. Elia told a story of one patient who was hospitalized for a stroke. The man recovered from the stroke but later died from pneumonia while in the hospital. That incident was the trigger for the startup’s founding, Elia explained.

Last summer, Art Medical raised $20 million in a funding round led by Advanced Medical Technologies.

“The goal of the $20 million is to … bring the complete product to the market,” Elia said. “Going forward, I see us in the market by the end of the year. And starting in 2019, I see the acceptance of the product in the market and [us] showing our value proposition to reduce the lengths of stay in the ICU.”

Photo: Buero Monaco, Getty Images