Cook Medical launched its 10th clinical division last weekend with a pair of products aimed at the ear, nose & throat market.
Thomas Cherry, head of Cook’s new otolaryngology/head & neck surgery division, told MassDevice.com that the segment already has a salivary stone removal system and an endoscopic balloon treatment for dysphasia cleared for the markets in the U.S. and Europe.
The Bloomington, Ind.-based startup division took about 2 years after the inception of a dedicated engineering group to get the devices ready to sell, Cherry told us.
"We started commercialization in March of this year. We’ll double in size here over the next month or 2 and we are also expanding into Europe before the 1st of the year," he said. "We saw that there were significant unmet needs in the ENT space. At Cook we have a broad capability, from a manufacturing perspective, to help meet those needs. There are a multitude of chronic diseases in the ENT realm that don’t have good solutions."
"For months, Thomas Cherry kept saying we could help a large group of patients if we could make our products available to them, and he was right. He was doing what Cook has always done; listened to physicians, heard what they needed and given them the tools to treat patients in a better way," Pete Yonkman, Cook Medical’s executive vice president of strategic business units, said in prepared remarks.
One example is the salivary duct stone, for which the standard of care is surgery and an up to 35% risk of partial facial paralysis, Cherry said.
"The patients didn’t really have options. If you do this procedure endoscopically, you eliminate that potential complication. And you can now actually help reduce healthcare expenses, because you’re not going into the OR and your patient now doesn’t have to spend a day or 2 days in the hospital to recover."
The second commercially available treatment is the Hercules 3-stage esophageal balloon, which is used to treat dysphasia, or difficulty swallowing. That’s a common side effect of radiation treatment for head and neck cancers, Cherry explained.
"These complications are a significant issue with patients," he said. "What this esophageal balloon does is open up those strictures in the upper esophagus. Our balloon is a staged balloon, so you can gradually expand so you’re not causing a trauma to the tissue."
Cook Medical officially débuted its new ENT products at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery conference in Washington, D.C., last weekend.