Minnetronix Medical, a company specializing in medical device breakthroughs, and Lazurite, a pre-revenue medical device startup, are the developers of the ArthroFree™ Wireless Surgical Camera System, which is the first camera system to receive FDA clearance for arthroscopy and general endoscopy.
DocWire News spoke with Matt Adams, General Manager of Minnetronix, who spoke in detail about this new, thrilling innovation.
DocWire News: Can you provide us with some professional background on yourself?
Matt Adams: So I’ve got north of 20 years all in medical devices, experience ranges from large blue chip firms, like a couple different businesses in Medtronic all the way on the other end to some startups, both in biotech and medical device and I have been with Minnetronix for nearly six years with responsibility for our optics and fluids businesses along with our Cerevention brand of neural products.
Talk to us about Minnetronix Medical – what is the company’s mission and value proposition?
Absolutely. Minnetronix is a 26 year old contract product development and manufacturing business located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Got 180,000 square foot facility here, about 500 employees, roughly two thirds of those are all engineers of some kind. You can think about us like the launch company. We serve medical device companies across the globe, frankly, and we partner with them all the way through product development. We’re starting as early as very early stage product development and we will stay a partner through their product launch well into manufacturing, all the way through the manufacturing life and into their gen two, three, and four products as those launch.
Talk to us about the ArthroFree Wireless Surgical Camera System – why, and how was it developed?
From a Minnetronix view, this really leveraged our strength in optics where we have dedicated optical engineers, we’ve got dedicated optical manufacturing facilities, supply chain, all of the sorts of things that would support very high end products like this. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with Lazurite in the development of Arthrofree, one of the first wireless arthroscopes to be launched in the United States. Very exciting product and you can imagine the challenges there around both image quality and latency, so speed, all equivalent to a wired system, which is what’s standardly used in standard practice today, get all of that quality embodied and now a much easier to use wireless system.
How does this device work?
You’ve got to be able to pick up the same image quality you would in a wired system, you’ve got to be able to do all that processing to get that image quality optimized, and then you send that back to a receiving unit where it can be obviously be displayed on a larger monitor. All of that optical imaging and image processing and transmission of data back to a central unit where it can be displayed and used by the physician, that’s the nuts and bolts of the system. The magic that Minnetronix brought in this case was being able to get that image quality equivalent to what you’d find in a wired system and transmitting as quickly as you would find in a wired system, that’s not trivial and was able to be accomplished because of the tight partnership between our engineers and Lazurite right engineers and the depth of expertise we brought in optics engineering, optical engineering, and image processing.
What impact can this device have on the medical community?
Well, certainly just ease of use. Having your first wireless system in the hands of physicians is a pretty big leap forward in terms of how you can manage your operating room and how you can maneuver around a patient and certainly I think you’ve got a discussion with one of the physicians coming up shortly, can’t wait to hear their firsthand experience.
What other devices does Minnetronix currently have in its pipeline?
Well, our pipeline is huge, so the business is organized around four different key technology segments. Optics, very pertinent to this example and our partnership with Lazurite, fluids where we run a variety of programs. Examples could include an artificial uterus, actually, that is in development right now, a number of oblation systems to treat anywhere from prostate cancer to treating blood clots, we have an RF or radiofrequency business that has got a variety of different systems treating a huge number of different disease states, frankly, a lot of tissue oblation in that space, treating a number of different lesions including cancer tumors and that sort of thing. Then we have a wearables, stem and wearables segment where controllers for left ventricular assist devices is a great example there, so lifesaving technologies.
In addition, we have our own brand of product marketed under Cerevention where we have been able to expand offerings from typical contract design and manufacturing where a partner might come to us with their own product, they need help developing, they need help manufacturing, we’ve been able to expand that offering by delivering our own completely finished products, so conceived, designed, developed, through FDA, and ready to be dropped in the sales bag of a partner in a fully complete form. We’ve been able to add a brand of products called, it’s marketed under Cerevention in this case, that serves that need and become now the largest end to end product development and manufacturing partner available.
Any closing thoughts?
For us, yes. Working with Lazurite frankly was a great example of where we show up as the launch company. If you are a med device firm that’s got product development, manufacturing, or even looking for fully complete products that can be dropped straight into your sales bag, Minnetronix is the place to be.