This article was originally published in Start Up
Ulthera joins the nonablative cosmetic surgery fray with a high frequency ultrasound device that enables physicians to both visualize skin layers in real time and to precisely deliver ultrasound energy to the areas they target. The ultrasound heats and destroys the targeted areas to trigger new tissue production, but it does not damage the epidermis or intervening layers of skin it passes through enroute to the target.
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Xthetix is developing a handheld, high-frequency ultrasound device for the up-and-coming consumer aesthetic device market, leading with a product for treating and preventing acne. By heating skin tissue at a desired target depth without heating the skin's surface, its device can quickly treat existing pimples. Since it can also deposit heat directly into the sebaceous glands and hair follicles, it can inhibit the formation of sebum and thus prevent mild to moderate acne from erupting.
New energy-based fat removal technology is emerging as the next frontier in noninvasive energy-based aesthetics, but questions remain as to its mechanism of action in treating fat or cellulite. There is no question that patient demand is strong, and there are a number of products and techniques under development.
The past couple of years have witnessed the formation of more than a dozen companies focused on taking a portfolio of very early stage medical devices to the next level. With good ideas and connections, device industry executives, as an alternative to joining operating companies are increasingly joining incubators where they can keep their hands in device company creation over a number of projects. Whether you call these companies incubators or accelerators, they all share the goal of filling a gap between technology and company creation, and funding. Accelerators can help early stage concepts get the hearing they normally might not get either in the venture capital community, which is prepared to take on clinical and market risk but not technological risk, or large companies, which are focused on maintaining existing businesses. In fact, for certain kinds of broadly-enabling platform technologies that cut across clinical specialties, the incubator/accelerator model makes a lot of sense.