Wound Care Startup Could Reduce Home Health Time
A biomedical engineer and a health care entrepreneur have teamed up to improve wound care with a product designed to prevent infection and reduce the need for some post-acute care, including home health.
FM Wound Care, LLC, based in Trenary, Michigan, is awaiting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval on a nitric-oxide-infused, self-sterilizing wound dressing designed to kill bacteria following surgery. The post-op bandage could potentially reduce the need for some care performed by home health care providers, and lower overall wound care costs.
Megan C. Frost, PhD, and entrepreneur Jeff Millin believe their product—the Sentry Wound Dressing—prevents infections by slowly releasing nitric oxide (N.O.) over the course of seven days, allowing patients to wear the same wound dressing for a week.
“If a nurse has to change a dressing, that takes quite a bit of time,” Millin explained to Home Health Care News. “If you only had to do that once every seven days as opposed to once every other day, the savings could be significant.”
The Sentry product helps cut infection risks by steadily releasing N.O., which the body produces naturally to help fight bacteria.
“What we’ve always looked for are ways to amplify the body’s response, because if you can do that you’re healing someone and you’re not relying on an antibiotic,” Millin said.
The product only works on surface wounds, not deep ones. Along with the health and time-saving benefits, there is a cost savings due to fewer dressing applications. Millin estimates that the total cost of changing a wound dressing is around $100, when considering the cost of the product, medical professional and any related treatment.
FM Wound Care has started initial manufacturing trials of Sentry, and is awaiting FDA-approval, which Millin said should come in the first quarter of 2018. That would put the product on the market in the second quarter of 2018.
The company’s goal is to reach 20,000 to 30,000 patients in the first year. Millin and Frost will be selling Sentry to hospitals and home health care providers, and are also in talks with the Department of Defense. Millin expects the dressing to come in packs of 10 or 100, and not at the outset be available for direct consumer purchase.
Millin views 3M’s Tegaderm CHG 1658 as the best comparison product in terms of cost and market positioning. That product retails for $9.67 per dressing.
“We’re looking to create a more innovative product that lowers cost as well as creates better health care outcomes,” Millin said.
Prior to co-founding FM Wound Care, LLC, Millin was CEO of Pioneer Surgical Technology, Inc., in Marquette, Wisconsin, a medical device startup that he helped guide to $100 million in revenue. In 2013, RTI Biologics Inc. acquired Pioneer, paying $130 million in cash to acquire all outstanding Pioneer stock.
FM Wound Care reached a licensing agreement with Frost’s alma mater, Michigan Technological University, raised venture capital to fund the company for the next 18 months, and has won two National Science Foundation grants totaling $1 million, Crain’s reports.
Written by Jack Silverstein