Mariner Endosurgery. is a medical device company headquartered in London and Hamilton, Ontario that specializes in soft tissue surgical navigation for laparoscopic surgery.
Its premier platform, LaparoGuard uses its SAFE_ZONE and BLACKBOX proprietary technology to navigate tissue structures inside the body, while the system’s software tracks and records the delicate movements of laparoscopic tools and transmits an alert to the surgical team when instruments approach the perimeter of a surgeon-defined safe zone.
In addition, all data and instrument positioning and orientation are recorded for post-operative playback and traceability.
Need or Opportunity:
In the United States alone, it is estimated that 6 million laparoscopic procedures are performed each year. The advantage of laparoscopy over conventional surgery is shorter recovery times due to minimally invasive procedures and a reduced chance of post-operative infection. Nonetheless, unintentional and inadvertent injuries to patient tissue and surrounding organs sometimes occur.
Laparoscopic injuries can be attributed to several factors, including:
- Constricted surgical area among sensitive tissue and essential organs within the abdomen
- Difficulty illuminating and visualizing to safely and accurately maneuver within the abdominal cavity
- Operating in a 3D world with only the use of a 2D screen to guide surgeon’s efforts
- Physician inexperience
Estimates put the cost of care related to post-surgical complications at an average of $40,000 per patient. Calculated for a 2% injury rate from laparoscopic surgery, the post-surgical cost to the health care system is approximately $4.8 billion per year.
Mariner Endosurgery believes LaparoGuard could become the safety standard for laparoscopies, which would make procedures easier for surgeons to perform and safer for patients to undergo. In addition, the value to physicians, hospitals and governments lies in its potential to reduce operative injury rates, therefore decreasing liability as well as the cost of additional hospital care.
LaparoGuard also represents an opportunity to help train inexperienced surgeons and protect them against inadvertently causing injury by providing a reliable tool for accurately identifying surgical parameters.
In early 2016, Mariner Endosurgery contracted CIMTEC to update and add new features to the LaparoGuard software, the prototype for which had been developed in 2012 at Robarts Research Institute.
The alignment with CIMTEC also triggered other positive outcomes such as allowing Mariner Endosurgery to hire an in-house software developer. In tandem, Mariner Endosurgy's developer and CIMTEC successfully integrated LaparoGuard’s updated software with Northern Digital Inc. (NDI) hardware.
CIMTEC augmented Mariner Endosurgery's resources and capabilities and accelerated project timelines by at least three months, providing the momentum to propel the startup to its next significant commercialization milestone.
With validated commercial software in hand, Mariner Endosurgery hired additional staff throughout the summer of 2016 to help the company continue structuring the regulatory path for LaparoGuard.
Early pre-clinical test results have demonstrated efficacy of the system, and Mariner Endosurgery initiated the market validation process, beginning preliminary talks with private clinics and public hospitals in the latter part of 2016.
Mariner Endosurgery recently secured undisclosed private equity funding, January 2017, The financing was led by several prominent medical device investors and leading laparoscopic surgeons from the Toronto - Hamilton area and represents a significant step toward commercialization of the LaproGuard technology.