Hypothermia Device Companies Continue To Wage Cold War
This article was originally published in Start Up
For therapeutic hypothermia device companies, the clinical trials that came before have been inconclusive, but they have provided insights to incorporate into the development of next-generation technologies. START-UP interviews two hypothermia device companies with novel approaches: Thermocure and ThermopeutiX.
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Therapeutic hypothermia has shown promise as a neuroprotective treatment for a variety of applications, including cardiac arrest and neonatal hypoxic brain injury. Now companies with temperature management technologies are conducting clinical trials and developing new cooling devices with an eye toward cooling the brain in patients who experience an acute ischemic stroke – an indication with an estimated worldwide market potential of $3 billion annually.
Amir Belson is among the most prolific device entrepreneurs in the industry today, having launched a dozen companies in the past 12 years. Not as well-known as other physician-inventors, he combines an aggressive IP strategy with an innovative approach to early-stage financing to launch companies in a variety of clinical spaces.
Therapeutic hypothermia companies have largely been disappointing for investors who poured in -- and lost -- fortunes investing in promising cooling technologies. But while many first-generation start-ups no longer exist, the technologies they developed live on within the large corporations that paid pennies on the dollars to acquire them. Although the pioneers in the field failed to meet their objectives, there is reason for hope. Their corporate acquirers have continued to move the technology down the field. The end zone may not be in sight, yet, but advancement is slow and steady. Meanwhile, medical societies including the American Heart Association have issued guidelines on how hospitals should employ therapeutic hypothermia in treating patients. Similarly, some decision makers - including the City of New York - are requiring patients be taken to facilities that offer cooling treatments, giving the field the legitimacy it lacked for so long. Finally, innovation is beginning to take root again as new start-ups develop a next generation of therapeutic hypothermia devices. Taken together, these developments suggest that patient temperature management may arrive someday soon.