San Antonio MedTech Startup’s “Clamp” Aims to Stop Bleeding Faster

For Dennis Filips, entrepreneurial inspiration came from the grim battlefields of Serbia, the Golan Heights, and Afghanistan.

A trauma surgeon with the Canadian Forces until 2008, Filips experienced firsthand the difficulty in stemming blood loss of injured soldiers as he attempted to stabilize them for hospital care.

Those insights led him and his co-founder Ian Atkinson to found iTraumaCare back home in Edmonton, Canada. The startup developed the iTClamp, a device that seals the edges of a closed wound to create a temporary pressurized pool of blood, which then forms a stable clot that stems off further blood loss until the wound can be surgically repaired.

“The device grabs onto the ends of the wound, pulls the edges of the wounds into the device,” Filips says. “There’s a pressure bar system so when you squeeze it together, like a Ziploc bag, it closes, giving a seal.”

iTraumaCare says its device can stop severe bleeding, which, if unstopped, can kill injured patients within seconds.

The FDA approved the device in May for use on arms and legs, the armpit, and the groin area. In October, the agency OK’d its use to temporarily control severe bleeding of the scalp. “Scalp lacerations are especially difficult to control,” says Phil Faris, the company’s chairman of the board. “The vessels don’t retract and self-seal as quickly. They bleed into the hair and a lot of blood is lost before the wound is discovered.”

Faris says that the iTClamp mimics what skilled trauma surgeons can do with suturing techniques. A frontline soldier or paramedic could use the device to quickly simulate the effects of suturing without needing the specialized knowledge surgeons possess, he adds.

Current bleeding-control products are usually gauzes soaked with hemostatic agents to expedite the clotting process in simple cuts. But those gauzes are ineffective with more severe bleeding, says Faris.

iTraumaCare began selling the device in Europe after receiving approval in March. The iTClamp, which is manufactured in a medtech production facility in the Dominican Republic that is used by other companies such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), sells for $79 in North America and 85 euros in Europe.

Faris says iTraumaCare, which has its US headquarters in San Antonio, is close to completing its Series B round of $8.5 million, with San Antonio-based Targeted Technologies acting as lead investor. It closed its … Next Page »

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