Colonoscopy is a test mainly used for early detection of colorectal cancer, the second most lethal cancer in the world. It is considered one of the most expensive preventative screen tests used in the healthcare industry. This invasive, expensive and uncomfortable test, conducted with devices that have not been significantly-modified for many years could be set to undergo a significant transformation. Beersheva based Consis Medical hopes to replace traditional colonoscopes with its single-use endoscopes that are safer and significantly cheaper to use. A prototype of the Israeli company's colonoscopies is currently being tested on human colon simulators and animals.
Consis’s self-propelled disposable colonoscope progresses independently inside the colon by means of unique proprietary mechanism based on an inflated inverted sleeve. A “floating” electro-optical unit mounted in the front of the endoscope facilitates insertion and maneuvering of the device during the procedure. As a single-use device, it significantly reduces the chance for clinic-acquired infections. Medical staff are provided with high-resolution images as well as the ability to treat lesions detected in the colon during the imaging, at a level on par with that of traditional endoscopes currently used in medical centers. Consis’ endoscope is expected to significantly reduce the setup and operational costs of gastro clinics, offering a safer option for existing colonoscopy tests while considerably lowering the risk for infections.
A growing market with high operational costs
The Israeli company is targeting the huge multi-billion global market. Over 10 million colonoscopy tests are performed every year in the US alone and the numbers are expected to grow further in other global regions, to an estimated total of 70 million a year in 2020.
A major drawback of traditional devices is the prohibitive expenses of the clinics performing the test. A single traditional endoscope costs up to $60,000 and each clinic must purchase several of those to ensure operational continuity, since on any given moment some of the endoscopes are being rinsed and processed. The rinsing machines and related processing equipment are also expensive and contribute to the overall procedure costs. Recent studies show that rinsing cost per test alone exceeds $100 and not even these procedures completely eliminate the concerns for cross-contamination.
By comparison, Consis Medical’s single-use endoscope would cost up to $100, saving the need for re-processing and lowering contamination risks. The technology and the business model are nothing short of revolutionary and are expected to transform the market.
Consis Medical was founded in 2016 by Oleg Popov and Raphael Moisa as a spin-off of the engineering firm IBEX Technologies. In May 2017, Consis Medical won first place in SilicoNegev startup contest and it was also awarded a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority. As it enters the clinical phase, planned for end-2018, the company is preparing for an investment round of $2 million.
Consis Medical business development manager Ido Agmon said, “We target a field with a strong, unmet need for advanced solutions. Several companies are trying to propose solutions for simpler and more cost-effective colonoscopy tests but for the moment, the healthcare industry still uses the large and expensive devices associated with large operational costs and potential risk for clinic-acquired infections. More recently, we have witnessed the growing need, with the acquisition last October of Germany's Invendo Medical, a developer of disposable endoscopes, by AMBU, for over $250 million.
He continued, “We believe the single-use endoscope developed by Consis Medical, which combines technological innovation with simplified operation and significantly lower costs, could provide safer procedure to the millions who need to undergo the test. The global endoscopy market is controlled by mega-corporations and it is in strong need of new developments. A product like ours is a game changer. It will save large clinical expenses with significant added-value to emerging economies which are extremely price-sensitive, such as China and India, in which the number of tests is growing rapidly.”
Looking forward Agmon added, “In the future, we plan to expand our technological platform into a series of endoscopy products so as to become the first choice for existing and new gastro institutes across the globe. We expect our novel technology will also intrigue large medical device companies, with whom we welcome strategic partnerships.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 11, 2018
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