Highlights of student-led ventures participating in the LaunchPad Lift Cohort, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program
When a baby is born, everyone hopes for a smooth and safe delivery. But that doesn’t always happen. In cases involving a cesarean (C-section) delivery, whether planned or emergency, there are risks involved for the mother and baby.
NUA Surgical, a researcher-led venture from NUI Galway’s Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program, is developing an obstetrics product that improves the safety of the mother undergoing a cesarean delivery.
In a C-section delivery, doctors remove the baby from the mother’s lower abdomen. In the medical journal The Lancet, a recent study estimated that globally “29.7 million births occurred through cesarean section in 2015,” almost double the number from 2000. In the U.S., C-sections account for 32 percent of all deliveries, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
As with all major surgery, delivery by C-section can result in complications. Post cesarean, mothers face a risk of surgical site infection (SSI). SSIs are reported to be the “second most common health care-associated infection in Europe and the US” according to the World Health Organization.
Depending on various factors, SSIs following c-section can occur up to 20 percent of the time, causing severe pain, discomfort, even death to an otherwise healthy new mother. SSIs are also becoming a major cost burden on the healthcare system, according to the BJOG, an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the NCBI.
NUA Surgical wants to change this, and make C-sections safer for mothers and better for doctors. “Our novel medical device will be used by physicians during surgery and is intended to improve the quality of surgery for both the doctor and patient,” said Founder of NUA Surgical, Barry McCann. “The needs and requirements of physicians, patients and hospitals are all vital ingredients into our device design, and we are committed to delivering innovation that will positively impact these key stakeholders.”
The team at NUA Surgical have over 50 years of combined industry experience covering commercial, technical and design development requirements. Barry McCann is a previous BioInnovate Ireland Fellow and founded NUA Surgical based on the unmet clinical need discovered during the fellowship; Marie-Therese Maher is an engineer and project manager who spent fourteen years in Research & Development with Medtronic; And Padraig Maher is an engineer with over twenty years’ experience in the medical device industry and has a passion for resolving technical challenges. They were awarded a Commercialisation grant from Enterprise Ireland and the European Commission, and aim to spin out of NUI Galway in 2020.
The team is in prototype phase and conducting some preclinical trials and testing in preparation for regulatory submissions to the US and EU.
NUA Surgical was selected for the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Cohort, a 10-week personalized mentorship-driven program for student-led ventures, which comes with a $10,000 grant upon completion of the program to help move their business forward.
“The Cohort is a great opportunity for NUA Surgical. With the help of Techstars, we aim to expand our network of advisors, key opinion leaders and potential investors,” said Barry, Marie-Therese and Padraig. “Our team have set clear objectives that we wish to achieve during the Cohort. We’re focused on activities that can be accomplished within the specific timeframe, and ones that require the assistance of the Techstars worldwide network of mentors.”
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