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Yale Spins Out Medical Device Company

TMD Staff | May 10, 2010

Commercializing Tools for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Through the efforts of the Yale Office of Cooperative Research, and with the support of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI), Yale University has spun out a medical device company to commercialize a new device for the rapidly growing field of minimally invasive abdominal surgery.

The device will be designed and developed by NovaTract Surgical, LLC, based in Guilford, CT. The device will be based on the work of Kurt Roberts, M.D., Assistant Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery at Yale School of Medicine, who has performed groundbreaking appendectomies and gallbladder surgery using a technique that requires a minimum number of incisions.The device will facilitate the application and adoption of these techniques.

Roberts uses the techniques of single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) to access the abdominal cavity. This minimum-incision surgery results in a much lower risk of postoperative complications (such as infections), and a much easier and faster recovery.

NovaTract was founded in April, 2010 by Roberts,Eleanor Tandler, who will serve as CEO of the company, and Yale University. Initial development of the device is being funded by a pilot award from YCCI’s Clinical and Translational Science Award grant from the National Institutes of Health. Robert Sherwin, M.D., section chief of endocrinology at Yale School of Medicine and director of the YCCI, says, “I am pleased that YCCI is able to participate in helping a Yale clinical scientist translate his academic research from the lab directly into better patient care.”

NovaTract Surgical was founded to develop new, innovative medical devices to address the rapidly growing field of Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) and Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES). SILS refers to the method of accessing the abdominal cavity with an endoscope through one incision (most commonly the umbilicus or “belly button”) to perform surgery. NOTES describes the method of accessing the abdominal cavity with an endoscope through a natural orifice to perform surgery.  Demand for these methods is increasing sharply due to the decrease in number of incisions required and therefore, leading to less pain and scarring, and less risk of infection, adhesion or hernias in the abdomen wall.  This results in shorter recovery times and improved cosmetics.

Connecticut Innovations, an agency created by the Connecticut legislature to stimulate the development of new technologies and products, is also investing in the new venture.

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