Avasys launches into the medtech arena

Avasys launches into the medtech arena



Baltimore, MD – September 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ – Avasys LLC, a medical device incubator, has announced its launch as a standalone company to develop technologies in the vascular access market. The company is focused initially on commercializing devices recently licensed from Johns Hopkins University that look to reduce the risk of environmental contamination to indwelling central lines, which can lead to costly and fatal infections.

Avasys’ XPort™ quick connect system is designed for CVCs and PICCs and allows complete removal of the bulk of the external portion of standard percutaneous catheters when the line is not in use.

“The challenge in solving the problem of catheter occlusion and infection is that every patient and every clinical setting is different,” said Cameron Jones, PhD, a former research fellow of radiology at Johns Hopkins University, co-inventor of the XPort™ system, and now the chief executive officer of Avasys. “But when you look at the source of these events, the vast majority of maintenance-related cases originate from the catheter extensions. So we said, ‘Why don’t we just get rid of them?’”

The catheter extensions are the individual tubes that extend from the catheter bifurcation outside the patient’s body and allow medical articles such as infusion sets and syringes to connect to the indwelling portion of the catheter. Central venous catheters often remain implanted for several months up to a year, and since most patients who need prolonged infusion therapy only require intermittent access, the catheter is frequently in a resting state.

The addressable market for this technology is significant. Avasys estimates of the 40 million CVCs placed in the US last year, a quarter of those patients could benefit from this technology. “We have received a lot of great feedback from providers in almost every patient segment, but the strongest support has come from nurses and patients in the chronic infusion centers,” remarked Dr. Jones. “We started out with the goal of trying to reduce the incidence of catheter-related infections, but in the process learned that the catheter industry has overlooked many of the important human factors and environmental challenges our patients live with in the community setting.”

Dr. Clifford Weiss, practicing interventional radiologist at the Johns Hopkins University, co-inventor, and chief medical officer of Avasys added: “The catheter extensions are a constant headache for our patients, and greatly affect mobility and quality of life. The catheter is often tugged on and entangled in clothing, and many times patients come back with broken clamps or lost caps which can lead to fatal air emboli. So much is invested into the biocompatibility of the indwelling portion, only to neglect the external portion with cheap plastic components. The XPort™ connector doesn’t change the indwelling catheter, but resolves the system of the problematic external tubing.”

The XPort™ connector consolidates all of the external components of a standard multi-lumen catheter into a streamline external port (the XPort™) with a single access site, and relies on a disposable infusion set for line access. Dr. Jones explained that infections arise from both intraluminal and extraluminal sources, and that the XPort™ was designed to address both. “Prior to connecting to the catheter, hubs must be thoroughly disinfected. If just a single pathogen remains, you’ve risked contaminating the entire intraluminal surface. And it becomes a numbers game: if a standard CVC has three lumens that need disinfecting and ours has just one, you’ve cut the number of procedures by two-thirds.” As for the extraluminal route of entry, “Tugging on the extensions causes pistoning—back and forth movement of the catheter, which results in microbial traction along the extraluminal surface. When you replace the extensions with a small port, you alleviate much of that problem.”

According to the CDC there are about 250,000 cases of catheter-related bloodstream infection per year in the US with associated 12–25% mortality. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has considered all hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), which includes catheter-associated infections, to be a zero-tolerance event and voids reimbursement for costs arising from HAIs. Avasys estimates the direct cost to the healthcare system on part of catheter-associated infections far-exceeds $2 billion annually.

Avasys is currently developing the technology pursuant to an FDA 510k submission by mid-2016, but has already received interest from a number of companies in the catheter market. “Our priority is to get this out on the market, where it will have the greatest impact. We see this as an early partnership opportunity and we are conducting a process to find a partner by the end of this year,” said Jones.


About Avasys

Avasys LLC is a privately held medical device incubator focused on minimally invasive device solutions. To learn more about Avasys, please visit www.avasysmedical.com or send email communications to media@avasysmedical.com.