Category: Startups


Longeviti wants to help neurosurgery patients be whole again

Longeviti wants to help neurosurgery patients be whole again


Longeviti L.I.D. platform

When patients considered the outcome of neurosurgery in its earliest decades they were often more focused on survival than on potential deformities, scars, lumps or bumps left behind after surgery, according to Jesse Christopher, co-founder and president of Longeviti Neuro Solutions.

Now that outcomes have improved, patients are more confident in their chances of making it through surgery to remove tumors, relieve swelling or implant medical devices, but they also have additional priorities, Christopher said.

“Though living is still the primary outcome sought and patients have trust in the surgical outcomes, they also want to look the way they did prior to surgery,” says Christopher, a 15-year veteran of the medical device industry.

To that aim, Christopher launched Longeviti in 2016 with co-founder and chief medical officer Dr. Chad Gordon, a leading craniofacial plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins who specializes in craniofacial injuries, reconstruction and surgeries and complex skull reconstruction, among other medical procedures related to the face and skull.

Longeviti seeks to help neurosurgery patients by adding function to otherwise unused space after skull reconstruction implants. The goal is to improve both neurologic and cosmetic outcomes by giving patients and doctors more options when it comes to the installation and retrieval of neurosurgical device implants, Christopher says.

Though Christopher says the world is a long ways from implanting cell phones in people’s brains, he does see a future in which medical technology and implants specifically play a larger role in the health care space.

Using robot and laser technology licensed through Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the company has set out to produce the first customizable power supply within the cranial hemisphere. The team has created two medical devices for market so far and has been credited with three, first-in-human case publications.

The InvisiShunt is a single-use sterile surgical implant for different areas of the craniofacial skeleton. It uses a high-density polyethylene to support location and orientation while restoring the natural shape of the cranium.

Longeviti’s L.I.D platform is currently making its way through the federal approval process. The custom-shaped-devices will act as a vessel that allows for easier access to medical devices that must be implanted to manage medical conditions, such as hydrocephalus, epilepsy and tumors.

Meanwhile, the InvisiShunt was used for the first time on a patient in October 2017. The single-use implant is pitched as a way to leave behind fewer cranial deformities due to repeated surgeries.

Cranial reconstruction is often done after neurosurgery procedures to fill in areas after removing a tumor or after re-entering the skull for routine follow-up neurosurgeries, Christopher explained. The applications of the InvisiShunt include non-load bearing augmentation and/or reconstruction of the craniofacial skeleton.

“Until Longeviti, functional neurosurgery implants and cranial reconstruction were completely siloed industries in the commercial world,” says Christopher.

Christopher said he jumped at the chance to combine his background in medical device marketing with Gordon’s medical expertise when a previous employer passed on Johns Hopkins’ robot and laser technology. He quit his job and purchased the patents because the two share a passion for helping patients who need cranial reconstruction live their best life, free of deformities, bumps and voids that often accompany surgery without reconstruction, Christopher says.

As a virtual member of FastForward, a coordinated suite of resources designed to move technologies from startup to marketplace, Longeviti also received help connecting with industry and fundraising experts.

The company has attained financing and secured 510Ks from the FDA, which are premarket notifications sent in to demonstrate that a device is as safe, effective and equivalent to a legally marketed device that is not subject to premarket approval.

“Technology isn’t going in the opposite direction,” says Christopher. “It’s always moving forward. That means we’re just at the beginning of interacting with our brain. It’s going to become bigger business and provide better tools, so let’s account for that. We want to be the company that plans for the many surgeries these patients will face, and ensures getting in and out won’t leave patients less than whole.”

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Galen Robotics is 3rd JHTV-affiliated company to win the…

Galen Robotics is 3rd JHTV-affiliated company to win the Crab Trap Pitch Competition

April’s 2018 BioHealth Capital Region Crab Trap, an annual pitch competition, featured five Maryland-area startups vying for its $10,000 award.

For the third year in a row, a company associated with Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures has taken the top prize by demonstrating the highest commercial potential to an expert judging panel. This year’s winner, Galen Robotics, received $10,000, business mentoring and incubation space in Montgomery County, Maryland or Prince William County, Virginia.

Baltimore-based Galen Robotics won for its development of an affordable, configurable and intuitive-to-use microsurgical robot. The Galen platform is designed to assist surgeons with minimally-invasive applications in neurosurgery, ENT and cardio.

Galen Robotics president and CEO Bruce Lichorowic says the idea driving their company is to have a robot that can help out during challenging surgeries by holding high-precision instruments while the surgeon retains control, similar to how power steering works in a car. This Galen technology is currently classified as an experimental medical device, and the company anticipates its first submission to the FDA within the next 12 months.

“Additionally, the Galen robot is expected to aid surgeons with guidance, keeping their instruments steady during long procedures while reducing tremor,” Lichorowic said. “Our focus is on becoming an assistant to surgeons, not a replacement for surgeons.”

Galen and other finalists gave presentations at the BioHealth Capital Region Forum Event on April 24, 2018 where they were scored on technical feasibility, marketing/strategy, leadership team and financial/projections.

The technology applied by Galen Robotics is licensed through Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the intellectual property administration center of the Johns Hopkins University. In addition to serving as the licensing, patent and technology commercialization office for Johns Hopkins researchers and inventors, JHTV also supports the growth of startup companies in and around the university and is an active liaison to parties interested in leveraging university research or materials for academic or corporate endeavors.

The Crab Trap pitch competition is open to applicants from Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Previous  Crab Trap-winning companies associated with JHTV include LifeSprout, which is developing the next-generation of synthetic soft tissue substitutes for aesthetic and reconstructive medicine, and Sonavex, a developer of novel ultrasound solutions for visualizing and quantifying critical clinical data to improve outcomes and reduce costs of new surgical applications.

Lichorowic explained Galen continues working on commercializing their technology. In the meantime, they’ll be using the Crab Trap prize money to reinvest in Baltimore.

“We’re not using the award for a party,” he says. “We’re putting it right back into Hopkins and Baltimore for further product development and local staffing.”

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