By Mary Vanac
COPLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Medical device company veteran William “Bill” Christy took the CEO’s spot at SpineMatrix Inc. in December.
SpineMatrix is the early stage company in the Akron, Ohio, area that has developed a diagnostic device to help doctors pinpoint the source of lower back pain, based on the electrical activity of its muscles and nerves.
The company has been selling its SpineMatrix System — a computer console that creates color scans of the electrophysiology of a patient’s back through a sensor array — for more than a year. The scans offer supplemental or alternative data to that gathered through current diagnostic tools, such as X-ray, MRI or CT scanners.
Christy has worked in research, development, sales, marketing and international operations for medical device companies for 23 years. He most recently was president and CEO of AOI Medical, a developer of medical devices for the treatment of osteoporotic spine disorders.
During his career, Christy also served as founder and CEO of Ortheon Medical LLC, a company that focused on orthopedic tendon repair; founder and CEO of ESD Medical LLC, a developer of tubal ligation products, which was sold to U.S. Surgical Corp.; and founder and CEO of Synergistic Medical Technologies Inc., a laparoscopic product company that was sold to Ethicon Endo-Surgery.
MedCity News caught up with Christy as he was settling into his new offices.
MedCity News: What did you think when you started to hear the SpineMatrix story?
Bill Christy: I was intrigued at the ability to give data to clinicians to help get people back to work sooner.
MedCity News: How does your technology do that?
BC: Our tool gives clinicians the ability to evaluate muscular activity of the lower back so they can modify or accelerate a treatment path.
MedCity News: Can you give me an example of how that works?
BC: Eighty percent of lower back pain patients get better in six weeks. The ability to evaluate muscular activity offers a tool to the physicians to evaluate normal versus abnormal activity.
MedCity News: I have heard that the SpineMatrix system can save healthcare dollars. How?
BC: We believe that having patients scanned at the onset of injury and then during the process of therapy will benefit everyone. So this is going from a tool used primarily by physicians to evaluate lower back pain and decide a treatment regime, to a tool used by both physicians and insurers to better the quality of health care. It is truly exciting from that standpoint.
MedCity News: What is the experience that brought you here?
BC: My previous spine technology (AOI Medical) was a treatment for compression fractures, to say that in a different way, osteoporotic spine.
MedCity News: What attracted you to SpineMatrix?
BC: The technology and its promise of putting people back to work sooner. The management team that Psilos had begun to put in place, and the backing of Psilos as an investor, made SpineMatrix very attractive.