Barry McCann, Nua Surgical
Making caesarean delivery a safer and more efficient surgery.
What problem are you solving and what is innovative about your approach?
An unquestionable lack of innovation in caesarean delivery has resulted in the needs of obstetricians and their patients being underserved for decades. Caesarean delivery is the most common major surgery in the world, accounting for 29 million births per year. However, new mothers are at higher risk of haemorrhage, infection and even death when undergoing C-Section as opposed to a vaginal birth. Proportionately, these risks increase with higher patient BMI which is a major concern given that more than half of all C-Sections in the US and Europe are performed on overweight or obese patients. A major challenge of obese caesarean deliveries is poor access and visualisation of the uterus which can lead to delays delivering the baby, difficulty suturing the uterus and identifying bleeds. These often result in increased procedure time, higher complication rates and extended hospital stays.
Our solution to these technical challenges is SteriCISIONtm - the only self-retaining retractor specifically designed for C-Sections. With improved access and visualisation, clinicians are enabled to safely repair tissue, identify bleeds and prevent prolonged complications. This can save valuable time in the surgery and by doing so, we can also enhance patient recovery and increase theatre throughput. Nua Surgical has proven functionality and efficacy of the device through bench tests and pre-clinical animal studies and are currently working towards a first-in-woman study in 2021.
How is this idea commercially attractive?
With 29 million C-Sections per year, the total addressable market exceeds €3 billion per annum. Childbirth is one of the most reimbursed procedures around the world and in the US, over 90% of C-Sections are covered by Medicaid or private insurers. However, the complications outlined above significantly reduce the profit margins for hospitals since the average infection costs $4,200 and one additional hospital night will cost $1,850 per patient. In addition to this, an obese patient can increase operating room costs by $973 due to a longer surgery. The SteriCISIONtm device aims to reduce procedure time and reduce risk factors leading to infection, thus improving outcomes for patients, clinicians and the hospital.
The founders of Nua Surgical have over 50 years combined industry experience and, in preparation for spinning out, the company has significantly enhanced the team to include specialists in clinical affairs, market access, women’s health science and regulatory affairs. They have developed a robust commercialisation strategy commencing with the US and the company has already secured a number of clinical champions who will drive a post-approval clinical study at their hospital network along the East Coast.
What do you hope to achieve by participating in Big Ideas?
The Nua Surgical team are grateful to Enterprise Ireland for the opportunity present at Big Ideas 2020, enabling greater exposure to the investor community as they prepare to close a funding round. Their support will be vital in helping SteriCISIONtm become the gold standard around the world to deliver safer outcomes.