Savannah-based medical startup Micro C is streamlining the 60-year-old imaging process with its dynamic handheld X-ray and digital camera. Aimed at surgeons working on extremities — think hand, foot, ankle — Micro C increases accuracy, clarity and most importantly, speed. The handheld X-ray takes imaging time from minutes to seconds, reducing the patient’s OR time, saving money and decreasing anesthesia risk.
The man behind the design is Dr. Gregory Kolovich, an orthopedic hand and micro-surgeon, who saw the issues behind the traditional imaging process while performing hand surgery at Harvard. A typical C arm, the current instrument being used, doesn’t give the doctor as much flexibility to capture the injury and it’s double the price of Micro C. The C arm was developed in 1955, it’s time for an upgrade.
With such an innovative product on their hands, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) Accelerate startup portfolio company is ready to raise a Series A round to go to market and take on the dated imaging industry.
Year/Date Founded: May 1, 2016
Number of Employees: 8
Funding or Bootstrapped:
Micro C raised an initial round of $260,000 from friends in family. This allowed Micro C to develop the first prototype and file their initial patents.
Currently, Micro C is looking for $500k to bring the product to market. Micro C is particularly looking for investors with experience in the medical device field or associated pharmaceutical industry.
Micro C enables surgeons and physicians treating disorders of the extremities to conduct surgeries and other procedures for patients with greater accuracy, clarity, safety, and speed. The product is a hand-held x-ray and digital still and video camera that is ergonomically designed for surgeons and physicians treating disorders of the extremities. It replaces 60-year-old x-ray and fluoroscopy equipment that is bulky, expensive and less safe. Invented by an experienced orthopedic surgeon, Kolovich organized a founding team of other Georgia Tech engineers — Evan Ruff and Kirby Sisk — to prototype, manufacture, and go to market with an FDA-approved, HIPPA compliant device by 2017. Following a successful angel round of funding, the Micro C team is gearing up to raise its Series A round funding in Q4 2016.
What problem are you solving?
Problem – Speed: Setting up, using, and removing the C arm can take up to four minutes per image, adding cost to the surgery and increasing the patient’s time under anesthesia.
Solution: In a typical hand surgery, an average of three images are taken per surgery. Micro C can reduce this time frame from 12 minutes to seconds. With operating room time costing $70/minute, $850 can be saved in operating room costs per surgery. Reducing the patient’s time under anesthesia reduces risk and improves recovery time.
How: Separation of the x-ray source and image intensifier obviates a bulky base and static orientation. The device can produce perfect images without the need for external assistance.
Problem – Clarity: Getting both an x-ray and traditional image requires resetting the extremity and use of multiple, sometimes unsterile, devices.
Solution: By combining a traditional camera with the x-ray emitter, the device simultaneously captures both a fluoroscopic and traditional image without the need to reset the extremity.
How: Using its advanced sensor array, a concurrent, live view of the subject can be seen on the companion screen as the surgery is in progress. The device is portable and designed to bring the x-ray source to the target to produce more resolute images and capture both an x-ray and traditional image at the same time.
Problem – Safety: Typical devices us a massive amount of high power emissions. Prolonged exposure to the x-rays of a C-Arm or Mini-C Arm is dangerous for both the patient and the medical staff.
Solution: The device emits 10 times less radiation than the industry standard due to its smaller power requirement.
How: By allowing the surgeon to move the x-ray emitter closer to the subject, Micro C requires dramatically less power to produce a clear, resolute image. Additionally, Micro C’s high sensitivity digital sensor creates better pictures using far less power than traditional analog image intensifiers.
Please describe the market/industry impact:
The primary market for Micro C is U.S. operative facilities (outpatient and inpatient) and orthopedic practices, including more than 5,100 Medicare-certified Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ACSs). There are over 26,000 orthopaedists in the U.S. performing over 10 million surgeries per year. Orthopedic surgeries that especially can benefit from use of Micro C: Hand and Foot and Ankle = 25.6%; Sports Medicine and Adult Knee = 67.8%. Total: 93.4% of all surgeries. The target markets will expand after initial adoption to rural hospitals and practice offices. Micro C markets will expand internationally, including its use as a primary diagnostic tool for Asian, Eurasian and South American health systems.
Micro C will generate revenue from three phases: device sales, device support contract and sales of consumables such as sterile covers. Micro C expects to sell approximately 30 devices in 2017, 300 devices in 2018 and 1,500 devices in 2019, for a total trailing revenue of $650m.
How’d you get the idea for it?
While performing reconstructive surgery at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kolovich became frustrated with the imaging process. This gap in both the productivity and capability of the legacy devices inspired him to design the Micro C. With the advancement of so many other medical devices, Dr. Kolovich created a clean sheet design of an imaging device. This design was the basis for Micro C’s prototype and has evolved to incorporate the latest technologies from the medical, electrical and image enhancement fields.
Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
Existing devices do not provide the resolution, agility or diagnostic array to effectively compete with Micro C in any market. A typical C arm retails for well over twice the price of Micro C and does not give the surgeon the flexibility, resolution or versatility of Micro C.
How does ATL weave into your story?
Dr. Kolovich graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a BS in Electrical Engineering. After designing the initial prototype, he reached out to his childhood friend and classmate, Evan Ruff. Evan matriculated with Dr. Kolovich as a Computer Engineer and had run several successful technology startups in the Atlanta area.
All images provided by Micro C