The Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences (ZIAN), a technology accelerator embedded in the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), has partnered with South Carolina company Medical Access Partners LLC to commercialize “VayuClear,” a novel surgical suction de-clogging technology. With one U.S. patent already granted and the technology on track to be FDA registered and commercially available as early as mid-2022, VayuClear is poised to make a positive impact on thousands of surgeons, operating room teams and patients, in millions of surgeries every year.
In many surgeries, a narrow suction tube, with a metal or plastic tip on the end, is attached to a vacuum. This vacuum-assisted suction device is commonly used during operations to keep the surgical area free of blood, tissue and other surgical byproducts. Unfortunately, these devices tend to clog during surgery, sometimes as often as four to five times per hour. Once clogged, suctions can take upward of one to three minutes to de-clog or replace – time that can really add up, especially during a multi-hour operation. This can lead to surgical team frustration and distraction and significant time delays in the surgical procedure.
VayuClear, invented by MUSC neurosurgeon Stephen Kalhorn, M.D., is intended to address this operating room need.
Designed to de-clog surgical suctions safely in one to three seconds via pressurized saline and a patented clearing mechanism, VayuClear will minimize frustration and let the surgical team stay focused on the patient and efficiently completing surgeries.
Kalhorn described his motivation for inventing a better solution. “We commonly see clogged suction lines and suction tips during operations, leading to delays. Delays in surgery are frustrating and mean more time under anesthesia for the patient.”
That frustration led Kalhorn to partner with ZIAN to create VayuClear.
“Dr. Kalhorn had a vision of a solution that was fast and easy to use with any surgical suction, in any operating room,” said Mark Semler, ZIAN’s CEO. “This is what ZIAN was created to do – to help MUSC inventors bring patient-impacting technology to life.”
ZIAN’s team of top-notch engineers, intellectual property specialists and business development experts first helped Kalhorn to build a business plan and raise private capital to advance the project. ZIAN then worked side by side with Kalhorn to design and prototype the technology, obtain patent protection and secure a world-class industry partner – Medical Access Partners LLC – to manufacture and sell the technology, allowing surgeons around the world to benefit from this much-needed solution.
“Medical Access Partners is excited to join ZIAN and MUSC, and inventors like Dr. Kalhorn, in turning groundbreaking technologies into real-life, patient-impacting products,” said Dave Maness, Medical Access Partners co-founder and principal. “This new suction-clearing system has potential to reduce operating room time, alleviate a significant amount of frustration experienced by surgeons and operating room staff and improve patient safety in upward of 70% of surgical procedures worldwide.”
Medical Access Partners is currently in a round of investment funding, aiming to lock in manufacturing partners by the end of 2021 and, by mid-2022, to have lined up distribution partners, completed FDA registration and begun preparations for commercial launch.
For Kalhorn and operating room staff who have experienced the prototyped technology firsthand, mid-2022 can’t come soon enough. “When nurses and other surgeons see VayuClear in action, they are amazed at the simplicity and the ease,” explained Kalhorn. “One scrub nurse, when shown VayuClear, said, ‘I can't believe we haven't had this all along! This is amazing.’”
About Medical Access Partners LLC
As a full service go-to-market consulting firm, Medical Access Partners assists in the development, refinement and acceleration of technologies at any stage, from concept to market. Bringing over 30 years of experience, the Medical Access Partners team of professionals has formed and assisted innovative companies requiring expertise and provided an array of indispensable resources along the way.
Periodically, institutions/inventors require outside resources to bring them essential competence and vital connections to deliver solutions efficiently and expeditiously. With proficiencies in regulatory submissions, design, manufacturing, financing, intellectual property, sales/marketing, strategic planning and management, Medical Access Partners helps clients to build a solid pathway to success. To learn more about Medical Access Partners, visit MedicalAccessLLC.com
ZIAN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit technology accelerator embedded in the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Established in 2012, ZIAN's vision is to bring lifesaving technology into the world by bridging the gap between clinical innovation and technical expertise. ZIAN's team includes a renowned faculty of clinicians and researchers along with world-class engineers, intellectual property specialists and business development experts. Working closely with MUSC, the MUSC Foundation for Research Development (technology transfer) and mission-aligned grantors, philanthropists and angel investors, ZIAN has helped MUSC's medical device inventors to secure dozens of issued or pending patents, millions of dollars of R&D funding, multiple exclusive licensing deals with industry-leading medical device companies and several FDA approvals and commercial device launches. To learn more about ZIAN, call 843-792-5406 or visit https://ianeuro.org/.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is home to the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center, with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. MUSC brought in more than $271 million in biomedical research funds in fiscal year 2020, continuing to lead the state in obtaining National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $129.9 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.
As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safe patient care while training generations of compassionate, competent health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Close to 25,000 care team members provide care for patients at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and 5 additional hospital locations in development, more than 300 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.
MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $4.4 billion. The more than 25,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.
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