founder

Founder Profile: The Future Of Medical Imaging With Dr. Vinod Goel

Summary

Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Centerline Biomedical, who is creating the next wave of innovation in the medical imaging space.  

Dr. Vinod Goel, President and Board Director of Centerline Biomedical is also a consultant to the World Bank for the past 40 years and he has been an investor, creator, doctor and consultant to the medical industry. His deep industry experience positions him well to help Centerline become the future of medical imaging, which has remained largely unchanged for the past several decades.

Learn more about this innovative management team and product set coming out of The Cleveland Clinic below in our in-depth discussion.

Chris Lustrino

Dr. Vinod Goel, you’ve had a long and storied career. From involvement with the World Bank to work with NGOs and even VCs. What keeps you going and why have you taken on the challenge of building Centerline Biomedical?

Vinod Goel

Yes, I have had a long and diversified career spanning over 40 years. The opportunity to make a difference and be a part of creating meaningful impacts is what keeps me going. My involvement with Centerline Biomedical is no different. Centerline’s breakthrough innovation provides an opportunity to help improve lives of so many caregivers and patients, as well as expand access to high quality care to many, especially in the rural communities.

Chris Lustrino

For those that don’t know can you explain the technology you and your team are developing and how it will improve imaging in patients?

Vinod Goel

In minimally invasive surgery, fluoroscopy—an X-ray based imaging system—is considered the gold standard 4 million+ procedures per year; yet, it has huge limitations. Its 2-D grayscale images are very hard to interpret and make surgical procedures costly and difficult.

Moreover, the radiation involved has been linked to cancer thyroid disease and other risks to both caregivers and patients. Dr. Edward Diethrich developed a brain tumor which he attributed to decades of near-daily exposure to radiation. He succumbed to complications in 2017.

Patients are at risk as well. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that 4 million Americans per year receive cumulative doses higher than 20 millisieverts. For perspective, the EPA advises relocating a population in the event of that level of exposure. What’s more, although endovascular repair was originally thought to be more cost effective than open surgical repair, recent studies show otherwise.

Centerline’s Intra-Operative Positioning System (IOPS™) was developed at the world-class Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute and addresses these and other issues with fluoroscopy.

The IOPS, a platform technology initially focused on the aortic repair market, pairs 3D vascular visualization and navigation with real-time electromagnetic tracking. Centerline’s self-contained IOPS technology allows surgeons and interventionalists to visualize and navigate the vascular anatomy with precise control and facilitates accurate deployment of devices for a variety of procedures.

Protected by a strong patent portfolio, Centerline is positioned to capture a portion of the $50 billion minimally invasive surgery market and become part of the “Operating Room of the Future” as mentioned by The Wall Street Journal.

Chris Lustrino

Centerline Biomedical is a spinoff from the Cleveland Clinic. How has the Clinic helped to support the development of this technology?

Vinod Goel

Cleveland Clinic has been very supportive of Centerline and continues to hold a significant minority ownership stake. Centerline’s offices and laboratories are housed in the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center (GCIC) incubator, and the company maintains a strong collaboration with Cleveland Clinic labs and clinicians, and works closely with the technology transfer and entrepreneurial service teams in the Cleveland Clinic Innovations. Cleveland Clinic also owns the IP which been exclusively licensed to Centerline.

Chris Lustrino

In what setting are you testing Centerline’s technology and on what types of patients?

Vinod Goel

During research phase, the feasibility of IOPS technology was tested in two patients at the Cleveland Clinic. Centerline’s commercial version software suite and other components are subjected to bench test and animal studies at the Clinic labs and OR facilities as well as by other reputed vendors who specialize in testing and validation of medical devices. These tests are performed by diligently following FDA and ISO requirements and protocols.

Chris Lustrino

You talk about it’s use in endovascular procedures. Do you see this as a long term platform play where you utilize the technology in various clinical settings and patient types?

Vinod Goel

Centerline’s IOPS technology will be applicable in the future to a host of applications such as peripheral vascular interventions and percutaneous coronary intervention among others. IOPS technology also aims to reduce the costs of robotic or autonomous surgeries by directly linking the patient’s anatomy to the robotic system.

Future technology would also provide a rich source of patient-specific anatomical information, bridging the gap between the technical and clinical aspects of surgery. This also expands the number of eligible patients by including those who would otherwise be denied care or seek suboptimal alternative procedures.

Centerline is also working on integrating its state-of-the art navigation system with augmented reality, providing surgeons an interactive heads-up view inside the patient’s body even more intuitively.

Using sensorized guidewires and catheters and proprietary geometric modeling algorithms integrated into the medical imaging software suite, IOPS registers and navigates a patient’s vasculature to allow a surgeon high-quality visualization in 3D in full color at high resolution and frame rate, without exposure to X-ray radiation.

The solution is integrated into a mobile cart that can be set up within minutes. The overall design allows for easy adoption in smaller hospitals and clinics as well as military medical centers and mobile units.

Chris Lustrino

How long will Centerline be under development and at what point will it be ready to be commercialized?

Vinod Goel

Centerline started its operations in 2015. We expect our first IOPS product to be ready for market deployment in late 2019 after getting appropriate FDA clearance.

Chris Lustrino

When you look at the improvement in visual and the decrease in exposure to radiation it seems like a no-brainer. What do you think will hinder adoption of this technology?

Vinod Goel

We are receiving strong interest from the clinicians when we present and/or demo our IOPS technology at well-known conferences in the US and Europe. They are eager to use once it is available as they recognize huge benefits of this technology. 

However, some hospital administrators may resist investing initially, but in the long run we expect this technology to gain system-wide acceptance among all healthcare stakeholders including clinicians, hospital administrators, patients and policy makers alike.

Chris Lustrino

What are the challenges to rolling this product out to hospitals and is there a certain go-to-market strategy in the imaging world that has proven effective in the past?

Vinod Goel

Our go-to-market strategy entails starting deployment of our technology first with a select group of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). During this initial phase, we will collect actual user experience data and share it widely in conferences and thru publications. This will be followed up with making it available to a wider group of hospitals. We plan to go global in select markets one year after its launch in the US market.

Chris Lustrino

Do you think healthcare insurers will pay for the cost of this new technology and will this limit its use in the early days to only specific patient cohorts?

Vinod Goel

Our technology does not change the surgical workflow or the insurance payout process. Surgeons will follow current surgical procedures except for using our package of software and consumables. Hospitals will bill the insurance as they do now which is per procedure. More importantly, our technology is expected to reduce the cost of procedures. Therefore, we do not expect problems in insurance payouts.

Chris Lustrino

You’ve talked about overall cost savings over the long term by utilizing this technology. Can you talk about how this technology helps to drive cost savings while improving patient outcomes?

Vinod Goel

With its 3D enhanced visualization and GPS-like real-time, navigation, surgeons can perform procedures with precision and control for accurate device placement, simplified complex procedures, and potentially decreased secondary procedures including costly re-interventions, and reduced radiation exposure for patients and healthcare professionals.

By making procedures more efficient and predictable, hospitals can perform procedures with higher profit margins, increase utilization of their operating rooms, drive revenue, and realize a greater profit.

Chris Lustrino

What will be the pricing structure of this technology and will there be recurring fees in addition to a one time upfront cost?

Vinod Goel

Our IOPS package involves very low upfront capital costs. Yes, there will be recurring fees in terms of software and system licensing, and use of consumables components. Overall, our IOPS technology is expected to significantly reduce the cost of such procedures. In future releases, the company’s platform technology shifts the use of medical imaging from solely point-of-care to a suite of predictive tools.

This would help expand and improve patient outcomes, lower costs/improve margins, augment training and empower stakeholders to make the best possible decisions at both the individual patient care and overall health system levels. The healthcare predictive analytics market, which was valued at $1.5 billion in 2015, is expected to grow 29% per annum over the next decade, reaching $6.9 billion in 2021.

Future company revenue streams could also include licensing the software platform to strategic partner, as well as licensing of consumables to OEM manufacturers.

Chris Lustrino

As you think about the business 5 years down the road, do you see this being an acquisition target for other imaging organization or a standalone public entity like a Hologic?

Vinod Goel

We are more likely to an acquisition target. But it could also operate as an independent company.

Chris Lustrino

Why did you decide to list on RedCrow and do an online investment offering rather than raise offline?

Vinod Goel

RedCrow is a specialized platform that is focused on the healthcare sector. Thru this platform company hopes to not only raise capital but also raise awareness about our technology among health professionals. We are also thrilled about our launch on the RedCrow platform to democratize investments, offering an opportunity that would otherwise be unavailable to many investors to be part of our breakthrough IOPS technology.

Chris Lustrino

Do you think you will need to raise additional capital to get the business to where you want it to be?

Vinod Goel

Yes, startups typically need to raise capital several times in their early phase of development and growth. While we had done quite well raising $13.6M in funding so far, we will need to raise more capital, of course in phases, to pursue advanced R&D, develop new applications, undertake market launch, pursue regulatory approvals in the US and Europe, conduct clinical studies, and general operation requirements.

Dr. Vinod Goel is one of the leaders in his profession and has had a storied career that spans decades. Investors always talk about investing in experienced founders and individuals who have deep market expertise. There are few individuals who meet that criteria quite as well as Dr. Vinod Goel.

Getting to invest in a company like Centerline Biomedical, backed by one of the most innovative medical organizations in the world, The Cleveland Clinic makes this a really intriguing investment. In case you missed it, Centerline was rated a Deal To Watch by KingsCrowd. Check out the full rating report HERE and be sure to invest HERE.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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