| TEL AVIV
TEL AVIV Feb 4 Israeli medical device maker
Medigus expects revenue of a few million dollars in
2014 as it begins to sell its flexible endoscope for the
treatment of acid reflux.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is caused by abnormal
regurgitation of fluids from the stomach into the esophagus.
Patients who do not respond to treatment with drugs often
undergo laparoscopic surgery.
Medigus' system enables treatment in an outpatient setting
with no incisions. Its endoscope - a surgical tool inserted
through the mouth - staples the stomach to the wall of the
esophagus to close a gap that allows acid to rise up.
A tiny video camera on the tip enables physicians to see
what they are doing. Ultrasound guides alignment once the tip
reaches tissue blocking the view.
"We are at the early stage of commercialisation. In the
medical device world you need to get ... innovators to try the
product," Chris Rowland, an American who took over as chief
executive of Medigus in October, told Reuters on Tuesday.
By the end of 2014 Medigus expects to have 10 centres in the
United States and 10 in Europe performing procedures with its
device, which has received U.S. and European regulatory
approval. Medigus will focus on commercial expansion in
2016-2017 and expects to be profitable by 2017.
Twenty one million Americans have chronic or severe GERD,
Rowland said, noting these patients often have to sleep sitting
up. The cost of surgery ranges from $18,000 to $25,000 compared
with $10,000-$12,000 for the Medigus procedure.
The potential U.S. market for its endoscope is 16-17 million
patients who have given up on drug therapy but not yet decided
on surgery. The United States is about 25 percent of the global
"By the end of the year it (revenue) will be in the millions
of dollar," Rowland said.
Medigus had 1.6 million shekels ($454,000) in revenue in the
first nine months of 2013 mainly from its video cameras, some of
which are less than 1 mm in size. Rowland said there are many
medical and industrial applications for the cameras, including
at nuclear reactors and on NASA's space station.
Competitors include the Stretta system made by Mederi
Therapeutics that uses radiofrequency energy to remodel muscles
in the digestive system.
California-based Rowland was brought to Medigus by the
OrbiMed healthcare fund, which invested $8 million last year and
owns 24 percent. Another 15 percent is held by Johnson & Johnson
and Israel's Dexcel Pharma.
Rowland plans to keep development in Israel and move
commercial staff to offices in the United States and Austria.