Brain surgery innovation starts up in INiTS
“We all make mistakes” – that’s a nice platitude, unless you’re a brain surgeon. This is why INiTS, the Vienna-based university startup incubator, has taken CVTec under its wing – a venture whose product assists neurosurgeons and radiologists in performing life-saving operations. The startup has secured financial support of around 32.000 euros as well as personal consulting, workshops and access to INiTS network of experts.
CVTec, an Austrian research group from the Vienna cerebrovascular programme, has developed CoilControl3D, a tool that takes only seconds to calculate key values related to vascular dilation. Based on this information, it creates 3D representations of vasodilations that neurosurgeons can use during operations.
Neurosurgery is not only a complex, but also an exact science. The problem with supporting software is that surgeons cannot conduct complex operations and deal with complicated programmеs at the same time. Usability is the challenge rather than precision. CVTec claims that it offers a fully automatic software solution, which supports doctors quickly and without administrative overhead. “The newly developed software is highly innovative and serves an attractive niche market of 86 million euros per year,” said Irene Fialka, general director of INiTS.
However, the market is also highly competitive and technological advantages can be lost quickly. INiTS’ financial support will go towards the further development and commercialisation of the product. So far, CVTec has also secured a pre-seed grant from the aws. “We are very glad to get this funding in a crucial phase of our business. It allows us to transform our idea into a real product and to start a business company,” CVTec CEO Georg Mach told inventures.eu. The funding will be used to cover “the main costs of our project, which are of course personnel costs and costs for the CE certification. There have to be a lot of tests and documentation to ensure the functionality and safety of the medical software,” Mach added.
The medical technology startup has a diverse and well-balanced team, as it includes a neurosurgeon, a computer engineer, a commercial lawyer, a veterinarian and a business consultant. Mach graduated from the Vienna University of Technology in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and is CEO of NVTec Neurovascular Technologies GmbH (CVTec) since July 2011. Thomas Ruhm is responsible for legal issues in the startup and Camillo Sherif, medical specialist for neuroscience at the hospital Rudolfstiftung, adds the necessary research know-how.
As for the future, Mach and Sherif are working simultaneously on the market entry and the innovation strategy of the company. “First we have to finish our prototype, but we are already working on improvements and doing the basic research for follow-up products,” said Mach. Next in the pipeline are products for detecting coils, which project into the vessels and interfere with the blood flow; or products to simulate blood flow directly. Risk analysis for patients should also be made possible in the future.
Stay tuned to see how CVTec moves forward.