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it can indeed perform as advertised. He’s particularly interested in the software’s potential to not only ensure the doctor leaves no part of the tumor behind, but also to see a clearer picture of the surrounding area and potentially reduce the chances of unintentionally damaging healthy tissue. “That’s where this should have great utility,” Tutton says. “I think that this is another step in the refinement of a very good technique in treating cancer.”
As for NeuWave, Tutton thinks the software could help the company’s products stand out. “If you’re trying to choose between this and a competitor, and this software is going to potentially make you better, faster, and smarter as part of the package—that’s a differentiator,” he says.
The Ablation Confirmation software also allows doctors to save snapshots at each stage of the procedure, which can be archived and used to guide the patient’s future treatment, as well as for broader use in case reporting and to set new treatment practices, NeuWave says.
Software has been a key focus for NeuWave, which has developed other programs that can control its system’s energy output, automatically synchronize multiple antennas being used in a single procedure, and run diagnostics on the devices.
Sullivan hinted at a “big data” play for NeuWave when Xconomy interviewed him in May about the company’s $25.3 million Series C round, which is the largest funding round in Wisconsin so far this year. The Ablation Confirmation software will be part of the company’s data strategy, although the management team is still deciding how it will monetize that data.
“There’s potential to manipulate and aggregate that data in a bigger way, which we really have not exploited yet,” Sullivan says.
NeuWave also says it’s developing additional devices, including a flexible catheter that would be used to burn tumors. The company’s current microwave antennas are stiff, so a flexible catheter would open up new possibilities for ablation procedures. Those include integrating it with a bronchoscope and threading the catheter down the throat and into the lungs to burn tumors there, Sullivan says. That could potentially provide a minimally invasive, lower-cost alternative to surgical removal of part of the lung or chemotherapy, he adds.
The flexible catheter is in the late stages of development and is currently in animal testing, Sullivan says. He declined to provide a timeline for commercializing the device.
If all goes according to plan, the new products will help NeuWave add to a customer list that includes hundreds of the top cancer centers in the U.S. The company—which was founded in 2004 by three University of Wisconsin-Madison professors and began selling its devices in 2011—has been growing sales at a 66 percent compounded annual growth rate. This year, it should exceed $20 million in revenue, Sullivan has said.