6 Philadelphia Area Medtech Companies That Are Making Waves
The Philadelphia life sciences ecosystem is growing by leaps and bounds across a variety of biohealth fields and sectors – medtech being one of the hottest.
Philadelphia was ranked seventh out of 10 in the U.S. biopharma clusters list by Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. Venture capital is flowing into the City of Brotherly Love – known as Cellicon Valley in the biotech world – with significant funds being raised by Philadelphia-based biotechs, as noted by my colleague Alex Keown in his story on the city’s booming life sciences community. Spark Therapeutics’ acquisition by Roche for $4.8B is another feather in the biohub’s cap, but big VC rounds and major acquisitions are not only happening in biotech – as you’ll see below.
The City is also home to top engineering schools that are fueling some of the most cutting-edge medical research and engineering innovations in the nation. The University of Pennsylvania is ranked the #13 best engineering college in the US, in addition to Villanova University, Swarthmore College, and Drexel University, all of which have top-notch engineering programs that are spinning out new technologies and a highly educated medtech workforce.
The Philly innovation pipeline is creating dozens smaller startups that are rising through the ranks, representing the future of an already vibrant Philadelphia biomed innovation cluster – which has the potential to be one of the top hubs in the world.
“The current state of the medtech industry in Philadelphia is a vibrant environment of technology companies, service providers, and academia which are all at the forefront of their respective fields. This provides amazing opportunities for Life Science professionals looking to plant roots in our region,” said Nicholas Ciccarelli, Executive Vice President of Neuma by Kymanox, a King of Prussia-based engineering services provider specializing in product development of drug delivery devices and combination products, in a statement to BioBuzz.
Nicholas added, “There is a breadth of cutting edge technologies across medical device and pharmaceutical companies and a range of small startups to established Fortune 100 firms, which gives plenty of career opportunities to scientists, engineers, and others. Additionally, Philadelphia has strong academic institutions with commitments to working with industry and translating research to commercial products. This combination of industry and academia makes this city a top choice to grow a medtech company.”
Let’s take a look at some intriguing companies within Philadelphia’s medtech ecosystem that we think you should know.
Founded in 2014, Proscia is a software company that is accelerating pathology’s transformation toward a data-driven discipline. Led by Co-founder and CEO David West, Proscia has developed Concentriq®, a digital pathology platform with powerful AI applications that are unlocking new insights that accelerate discovery, improve patient outcomes, and fulfill the promise of precision care.
Concentriq is an open-architecture platform that can integrate AI solutions seamlessly. Proscia’s platform is being used by more than 6,000 pathologists and researchers every day at reference labs, academic medical centers, CROs, and 10 of the top 20 pharma leaders.
The company recently announced that it had closed on $37M in Series C financing. This round of funding will help the company advance the way scientists understand disease pathology. What’s more, the Series C funding will help the company grow. According to a recent BioBuzz article on Proscia by Alex Keown, “Proscia currently has approximately 100 employees but intends to increase the headcount by 40 over the next six months. Proscia intends to scale its commercial operations and expand its sales, marketing, and customer support teams.”
Avisi Technologies was launched by three students studying at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. Current CEO Rui Jing Jiang, Co-founder and Director Brandon Kao and Adarsh Battu identified an opportunity to develop and commercialize a novel nanotechnology. They saw this technology as a pathway to benefit the greater good.
This novel nanotechnology became VisiPlateⓇ, which is a “…next-generation aqueous shunt that aims to treat glaucoma. VisiPlate is 20x thinner than a human hair.” VisiPlate leverages an ultrathin nanoplate that is designed to achieve unprecedented strength and flexibility for its scale. The device is a potential treatment for open-angle glaucoma that relieves damaging pressure on the eye caused by excess fluid.
Funding from Wharton School’s Y-Prize, the University of Pennsylvania’s President’s Innovation Prize, and the National Science Foundation’s SBIR Program, Avisis has successfully advanced VisiPlate from concept to device. VisiPlate is working toward FDA approval.
Strados Labs is a medtech company developing smart sensor platforms that utilize machine learning and proprietary algorithms to detect and predict compounding conditions associated with serious, chronic respiratory diseases to improve the lives of patients globally. The company developed a smart sensor platform for respiratory health, RESP™ and is developing a pipeline of other smart sensor platforms to support and address other chronic diseases, as well as chronic disease management. The company is targeting asthma, COPD, and infectious respiratory diseases (COVID, RSV, etc.) currently, with plans to add heart failure in late 2022.
In January 2022 Strados Labs announced it had closed on $4.5M in pre-series seed funding. And in May of this year the company received FDA 510(k) clearance for RESP, marking a major milestone for the organization, which was just recently named the winner of the 2022 Best of Sensor Awards.
Founded by two University of Pennsylvania graduates, Bethany Edwards and Anna Simpson, Lia Diagnostics is redesigning pregnancy tests to address the challenges surrounding privacy, usability, and sustainability in current pregnancy tests. In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration awarded FDA 510(k) clearance for over-the-counter use of the Lia Pregnancy Test, the first and only FDA-cleared, flushable, biodegradable pregnancy test.
Lia Diagnostics’ flushable pregnancy tests simultaneously solve privacy issues and curtail the three million pounds of un-recycled waste that end up in landfills each year. Additionally, Lia’s design addresses ergonomic challenges and reduces test interpretation confusion. Lia’s diagnostics empower women with the knowledge they need to move forward.
The company launched the Lia flushable pregnancy test in March 2021.
Founded in 2009, UE LifeSciences is a rapidly growing diagnostics company with more than 70 employees at locations in Philadelphia, India, and Malaysia. Led by Co-founder and CEO Mihir Shah, the company specialized in early detection medical diagnostic devices.
The company’s lead product is iBreastExam, which is FDA-cleared and in the commercialization phase. This device is an award-winning, patent-pending, radiation-free, ultra-portable wireless device, usable by lay health-workers to identify and document small, non-palpable lumps, quickly and easily, at the point-of-care. The company announced in January of this year that it had “…entered into a definitive distribution agreement with Siemens Healthineers, adding its flagship device iBreastExam to Siemens’ 360-degree breast care product portfolio for the U.S. market.”
UE LifeSciences has two other products, cervAIcal and Selfi. cervAIcal is an AI enabled mobile colposcope for cervical cancer screening. cervAIcal is a high-quality, wireless universal cervical examination assistant that goes where the patients are. This product is in the pilot stage. Selfi is the world’s first at home breast health monitoring device/platform built with iBreastExam technology. UE expects Selfi to launch commercially in 2022.
Waypoint Orthopedics is led by President and CEO Jeff O’Donnell Jr. Waypoint Orthopedics was founded by current CMO Dr. Stephen Banco and Runway Healthcare, LP, a medtech accelerator fund. The company’s vision and mission are to make vertebral fixation safer and more efficient. The Waypoint GPS™ is a fully disposable, single-use pedicle probe that provides physicians with real-time visual feedback on the location of the cutting edge of the probe. This can help physicians identify the location of the probe in the pedicle as they advance it, avoiding cortical breaches and reducing the radiation required during traditional surgery.
According to the company’s website, “The Waypoint GPS™ uses proprietary color sensing technology which provides the physician with the information needed to determine the difference between cancellous and cortical bone, preventing cortical breaches. The Waypoint GPS™ looks and feels like a standard re-usable pedicle probe and requires little change technique. It simply enhances the surgeon’s experience through the use of this smart, disposable instrument.”
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Steve brings nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and content creation to the WorkForce Genetics team. He loves writing engaging content and working with partners, companies, and individuals to share their unique stories and showcase their work. Steve holds a BA in English from Providence College and an MA in American Literature from Montclair State University. He lives in Frederick, Maryland with his wife, two sons, and the family dog.