Minos Medical Inc.
This article was originally published in Start Up
In the emerging field of natural orifice surgery, Minos Medical is taking a blended-risk approach by initially going after high-volume procedures that aren't complicated, and which are done laparoscopically today. The company's strategy is to develop the tools and gain experience in near-term markets that would position it for more advanced NOTES applications in the future. Minos has already launched its first product, called MegaChannel, a platform for delivering tools in and out of the bowel, the stomach, or the upper GI tract. According to the company, MegaChannel is the NOTES equivalent of cardiology's guiding catheter.
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Minimally invasive surgery, performed through a number of ports to create access and enable visualization, manipulation, and dissection, promised to revolutionize surgical techniques two decades ago, but ultimately fell short of changing the way surgeons perform the majority of surgical cases. Now, the next generation in minimally invasive surgery sees single-port surgeries and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgeries (NOTES) gaining momentum. TransEnterix aims to operate in both cases, with a novel approach that not only allows surgeons greater dexterity in performing complex procedures, but also enables them to do surgical cases through a single access port, using the body's umbilicus
NOTES is an experimental alternative to conventional surgery that uses a combination of endoscopic and laparoscopic techniques to access the peritoneal cavity through the wall of the alimentary canal or other natural orifices, allowing surgeons and gastroenterologists to perform complex surgery without leaving any visible scars. In the last few years, NOTES research, procedures, patents, and venture capital investment have increased exponentially. And although the field is still unproven, the rush to NOTES is being fueled by several important motivators, including the perceived advantages over conventional surgery, patient demand, and a worldwide market potential believed to range between $2 and $4 billion per year.
There was an almost dot-com-like euphoria about NOTES at 2007's annual meetings of endoscopists and surgeons. NOTES (natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery) is being described as a revolution in minimally invasive surgery, incisionless surgery, or at the very least, a major advance over laparoscopy. It represents a billion-dollar category not yet dominated by the companies that gained preeminence in the $4 billion worldwide laparoscopy market. But most companies in the area agree that the NOTES revolution isn't going to happen overnight. The challenge for today is to create products and technologies for procedures that can happen in high volume in the near term, while waiting for more advanced NOTES procedures to come about.