#AustinInnovates is a hashtag highlighting regional stories of health and life science success, partnership, and work that is contributing to community vitality.
In our second, #AustinInnovates blog post we are highlighting ClearCam, a local health startup that is on the rise! We first covered these rising stars of Austin’s Health Innovation Startup scene in the Innovation District Annual Review that was released this past March. Since then, they’ve made some major moves!
A Clear Vision
ClearCam is dedicated to improving laparoscopic surgery patient outcomes by reducing surgical team frustration, shortening surgical procedures, and lowering costs.
What they’ve created is essentially a tiny windshield wiper on the tip of a surgical camera.
Taking full advantage of local and outside resources, they are proud affiliates/alum of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, The Texas Health Catalyst, The Austin Technology Incubator, and the University of California, San Francisco Health Hub.
The founding team consists of John Uecker, MD, FACS, Doug Stoakley, Chris Idelson, PhD, and Christopher Rylander, PhD.
Best-In-Class Global Recognition
This past July, ClearCam was named a global best-in-class medical device startup by MedTech Innovator. MedTech Innovator is the medtech industry's Accelerator and Venture Competition for transformative innovations that benefits patients and delivers improved health care value.
ClearCam was one of 25 companies selected to enter MedTech Innovator’s prestigious and award-winning accelerator program (which has a 3% acceptance rate) and global competition. “The MedTech Innovator Accelerator Program provides an incredibly strong network of Senior Industry Leaders and the in-depth and customized mentorship will be invaluable to us at this critical stage of our development” stated Dr. Chris Idelson, ClearCam’s VP of Engineering.
Participation in the program has already created important connections and results for ClearCam. “We have received valuable, relevant, and actionable advice in the first weeks of the program” asserted Dr. John Uecker, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCam. “The quality of mentors, advisors, and industry experts is world-class and we look forward to continuing close relationships with them beyond the run of the program”.
The program is set to run through September and culminates Sept. 23-25 in Boston at The MedTech Conference. There, ClearCam will present alongside 49 other participants for a shot at the $350,000.00 grand prize and the chance for additional awards and exclusive partnerships.
Successful Testing From Houston to Europe
Just following the MedTech Innovator announcement, part of the ClearCam team went to IRCAD, a medical education conference in Strasbourg, France. There, ClearCam was used as a case study company for a biodesign course with 40 clinicians and 10 porcine models used for testing. The class was led by a team of international experts, world-renowned clinicians, and Dennis McWilliams, a Venture Partner at Santé Ventures and local Life Science Entrepreneur who was the Founder and former CEO of Apollo Endosurgery, another Austin-grown medtech company.
Their international trip followed successful animal labs they had at the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education (MITIE), which is described as “an innovative virtual hospital and hands-on clinical training facility for health care professionals seeking to maintain excellent procedural skills and acquire new proficiencies”.
Uecker said, “Clinical validation has been the latest test for our “Kelling" product. Both the MITIE lab in Houston and the IRCAD lab in France allowed us to rigorously test our device in challenging environments with unknown clinicians—people who had zero familiarity with what we do or who we are. The results were very successful. The product just works. It is intuitive and simple to operate for techs, residents, and surgeons alike. This is exactly what I envisioned.”
Advancing in Austin
This won’t be the last time we’ll be hearing great news from ClearCam, we’re sure of it! In fact, they recently got confirmation of their $190k NIH Stage 1 SBIR Grant, are currently raising their 2nd round (Seed Series B Funding) this Fall, and have an FDA submission happening later this month with expected approval in December of 2019. Whew.
Douglas Stoakley, the current COO and President of ClearCam had this to say about all the activity surrounding ClearCam, “Momentum is so important. With the NIH grant, MedTech’s global recognition of our work, our September FDA submission, and recent success in live animal labs here and in Europe we feel confident we are moving in the right direction as we start our next round of fundraising. We are driving hard every day to deliver results and exceed milestones and we see that hard work paying off.”
Keep your eyes peeled for their next big move and continue to use the tag #AustinInnovates to share and track other stories of innovation here in the Austin-area.
Leave a comment to share other innovators that you think should be spotlighted for #AustinInnovates.