The statistics are alarming—the obesity epidemic is increasing, with estimates placing the pervasiveness of obesity at 39.8%. As we all know, it doesn’t stop there—obesity comorbidities include Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer. And, it is not just a US. According to the OECD, obesity is a global problem with expected increases until 2030.
Obesity is expensive. The costs of treating obesity co-morbidities grew from 6.13% in 2001 to 7.91% in 2015, an increase of 29%. Almost 1 in 2 Americans are expected to join the ranks. So, why don’t we see more bariatric surgery? The answer is that it is highly invasive and the lifestyle changes requires for success can be daunting, even for the most motivated individuals.
An opportunity for disruptive medical device innovation
Bariatric aspiration therapy is simple, reversible, less invasive and private. It utilizes a device feeding tube, which has already been proven in patients that cannot ingest food orally. Instead of delivering food to the GI tract, a port extracts food using a pump that connects to an external valve placed on the patient’s abdomen. The patient can withdraw a large portion of their most recent meal and dispose of it, before it is switched to calories during the digestive process.
There are many critics of the device, but once you get over the yuck factor, the device is appealing to a certain patient segment. In a clinical study (n=171), patients using the AspireAssist in (with lifestyle therapy) lost 18.6% of their body weight over a 12-month period. The control group patients received therapy only and lost 5.9% of their body weight. The researchers learned that patients in the AspireAssist group were not eating more to make up for the lower number of calories and were not developing eating disorders. To be successful, AspireAssist compels patients to eat mindfully, to chew completely. The device is reversible, can be removed when the patient feels comfortable. At every meal the patient can decide to use the device, or not.
AspireAssist has everything we look for in innovative new medical device. It is simple to implant, using gold-standard medical technology. It is much less invasive than bariatric surgery. It is safe, effective and has fewer side effects if a patient eats too much. It is simple for patients to use and is reversible, if the patient decides to discontinue therapy.
You can’t ask for much more than that.
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Medtech product strategy development: legacy product in a commodity space
Medtech price sensitivity analysis
M&A third party analysis