A less invasive method for surgically mending broken ribs developed by three physicians and a biomedical engineer at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is gaining traction.
And now SIG Medical, the fledgling Penn State College of Medicine spinout supported by the Center for Medical Innovation, has taken another step toward distributing its potentially lifesaving rib fracture treatment. The company closed on a Series Seed Funding round in November, consisting of private investors and Pennsylvania’s largest early-stage investor, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northern PA.
The company will use the investments to accelerate the commercialization of its products, already cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and to continue developing innovative thoracic medical devices.
Historically, patients who suffered broken ribs had little recourse beyond waiting for the bones to heal on their own, or, for bad breaks, undergoing surgery that required exposure of the ribcage. SIG Medical’s rib-repair procedure uses a thoracoscope, an elongated instrument outfitted with a camera that can see inside the chest cavity, and a titanium plate called AdvantageRib bolted to the inner surface of the broken rib.
This new technique only requires small incisions, so most patients experience a faster recovery and shorter hospital stay than for more invasive rib surgery.
“We are excited to have the support of world-class investors who recognize the opportunity to improve health care,” said Ken Kremer, SIG Medical president and CEO. “With AdvantageRib, everyone wins. Surgeons finally have an effective and less invasive way of treating rib fractures. Payers have a solution that reduces health care spending, and patients get access to a procedure that radically improves their care. This investment will allow us to continue our mission of bringing revolutionary treatment to hundreds of thousands of patients.”
Drs. Peter Dillon, Don Mackay, Randy Haluck and Biomedical Engineer Barry Fell discovered and developed the AdvantageRib procedure. The Center for Medical Innovation helped by verifying the market and laying the groundwork for the creation of SIG Medical. The firm also won the $75,000 top prize at Penn State’s Venture and Intellectual Property Fair last fall.
“Our Ben Franklin team was impressed by the clear need for the innovative rib-repair device and significantly less invasive procedure SIG Medical has developed,” said John Sider, director of second stage funding at Ben Franklin Technology Partners. “Our seed investments, which are very competitively awarded, provide capital to develop the foundation to create high-wage jobs at a growing, profitable business. We are proud to have SIG Medical as a member of our portfolio.”
By reducing trauma and pain, the procedure could benefit the 100,000 patients per year in the U.S. who suffer multiple broken ribs.
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