Zipline Reinvents Stitches and Staples
Stitches, or to use the medical terminology, surgical sutures, are something almost everyone is familiar with. The practice of using a needle and thread to close wounds has been around for centuries with the oldest known suture being observed in a mummy from 1100 BC. In addition to traditional suturing with needle and thread, there are also staples, glues, and tapes which serve the same purpose. However, according to a report from Medmarket Diligence, the market for traditional sutures and staples is in decline:
One company looking to enter this market with a simple and effective product offering is Zipline Medical.
Founded in 2007, Silicon Valley-based Zipline Medical has taken in over $10 million in funding so far from XSeed Capital, Claremont Creek Ventures, and RA Capital Management. Each of these investors also has a seat on the Zipline Board of Directors. The founder of Zipline, Amir Belson, also founded Neoguide Systems which was acquired by Intuitive Surgical in 2009. Mr. Belson also sits on the Board of Directors for Vascular Pathways which he founded in 2005.
ZipLine Medical’s trademarked and patented PRELOC Technology provides a first of its kind of barrier for incision isolation and compression replacing the need for stitches or staples. A search using Google Patents shows 25 patents with Zipline as the assignee, all relating to this technology. The below diagram shows just how simple Zipline is to use:
Using Zipline technology is faster, saving around 5-10 minutes per incision and does not involve any skin piercing. The system provides improved cosmetics as it eliminates the “track” marks that can appear from using staples. It is comfortable and protective while conforming to the body and protecting the incision area. Zipline estimates a savings of $538 in labor costs per procedure (or time, staff, materials, cost of removal) versus staples and glue. There is also a reduced risk of surgical site infection which has a mean cost of around $25 thousand per incident. Lastly, using Zipline instead of sutures can reduce needlestick injury risk which has an average cost of $596 for staff needle stick injury treatment. While the technology itself appears simple, the concept has been well designed and seems to be protected by a formidable patent portfolio. There is a large potential market to disrupt with this technology and Zipline seems well positioned to do just that.
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