The NEVCA is proud to share the stories of our 2018 NEVY Awards nominees through their own words. Hear their experiences of success, failure, and everything in between — most importantly, what has driven them forward to build and grow their vision, starting with the very first spark of inspiration.
Prostate cancer. One in seven men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. It’s a frightening and overwhelming diagnosis. Even with the bright outlook for men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, sorting through treatment options, understanding side effects associated with treatments, and assessing quality of life issues can be challenging and for many men — a deterrent to taking swift action.
For men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer, a new technology called SpaceOAR® hydrogel offers peace of mind. Augmenix’s SpaceOAR is an injectable hydrogel that protects the rectum and surrounding healthy organs, pushing the rectum out of the high-dose radiation region, thereby reducing — or even eliminating — the common, yet debilitating side effects caused by the radiation treatment, including pain, diarrhea, incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
SpaceOAR is made of two liquids that, when combined, form a soft gel-like synthetic material made primarily of water that remains in place during radiation therapy and is naturally absorbed in about six months. The material that the SpaceOAR hydrogel is made from has been used in other implants used in the eye, brain and spine. Studies have shown that the material is biocompatible and can be used safely in the body.
The path to building Augmenix has been a thrilling adventure led by strong leadership, a clear vision, and commitment to the company’s mission. For our first seven years, we had a small yet immensely dedicated team of only ten people who developed the product from concept to commercialization. This was a lengthy and arduous process that required a diverse skill set — from managing all testing and clinical trials, to obtaining CE Mark in Europe and FDA clearance in the U.S.
We have always operated according to four principles: Do the Right Thing, Be the Best, Put the Patient First, Provide World Class Service. Physicians were getting suboptimal results at the start of our first clinical trial. Our viability felt precarious and our confidence was shaken. But with procedural and equipment changes that made the procedure robust and repeatable, we were back on track. In fact, not long after, we were stunned and ecstatic when the leading radiation oncology medical journal featured pictures of SpaceOAR on its cover, selecting our product from a field of fifty other medical technology contenders featured in the same issue.
Our capstone moment was the clinical validation we received when we analyzed the three-year data from our pivotal trial. The three-year data showed significant long-term reductions in radiation side effects and improvements in patient bowel and sexual quality of life — a large, sustainable improvement in patient outcomes! Based on the strength of this data, the company has experienced rapid adoption of the SpaceOAR technology. In the three years since FDA clearance, the technology has been used in over 20,000 procedures, has been adopted in 19 of the top 20 cancer centers and is reimbursed by 6 of the 7 Medicare Administrative Contractors.
Growth followed positive clinical results.
Augmenix has doubled in size each of the last three years. We are thrilled with the accolades we have received including being recognized as one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies, ranked as the sixth-fastest growing company in Massachusetts and sixteenth-fastest growing healthcare company nationwide. Finally, we are proud to be nominated as the New England Venture Capital Association’s Medical Device Company of the year!
Every nominee is a winner in our eyes, but be sure to nab your NEVYs tickets now — and bring your team — to see who takes home the ultimate prize.
Augmenix’s Website: https://www.spaceoar.com/about-augmenix/
Augmenix on Twitter: @Augmenix_inc
NEVCA’s Website: newenglandvc.org
Follow us on Twitter: @NewEnglandVC