Date: Jan 28, 2011 Source: bizjournals (
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Greg Anderson spends his days as president of consulting and training at Moody International Inc. helping customers improve safety, so when he heard about what Nimbic Systems LLC was doing, he knew he had to get on board.
Stafford-based Nimbic Systems has developed its first product called the Air Barrier System, which shields surgical sites from bacteria present in the operating room by creating a localized clean-air field directly adjacent to and surrounding incision sites.
The company closed on a $1.3 million round of private placement funding on Dec. 31, according to Sean Self, president.
Eight investors, including Anderson, were involved in the cash infusion — the company’s second since forming in 2007. Nimbic previously raised $1.9 million through private and angel investors.
Anderson, who made an undisclosed personal investment in the company, said he was drawn to Nimbic because of the company’s “out-of-the-box” approach.
“There is such a focus right now on patient safety, but there has not been a lot of advancement in airborne infection outside of the tried-and-true ways,” he said. “I think Sean has found a concept that is unique to the overall focus. And, I think anything innovative related to this has a better chance at being successful.”
Nimbic’s Self said there is not a device on the market now that locally isolates incision sites. However, the device is competing with operating rooms outfitted with special laminar flow operating room, or LFOR, air-handling systems, and some orthopedic surgeons wear exhaust hoods to prevent contaminants from depositing into incision sites. Self said the Air Barrier System is inexpensive and portable, which is the opposite of the LFOR systems, and the exhaust hoods isolate the surgeon rather than the patient, and not everyone in the operating room wears them.
Nimbic is also up for a $1.2 million grant that may come from the National Institutes of Health. The company just this week received clinical study approval from Baylor College of Medicine to allow Nimbic to test the Air Barrier System in hip, spine and vascular surgeries at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
Right now, the Air Barrier System is currently in the final stages of U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for use in hip and knee replacement surgeries, Self said.
He expects approval to happen in the first quarter, and already has surgeons lining up to use the device, which is being used in hip replacement and spine surgeries at the Texas Orthopedic Hospital in Houston.
“This is the place where I want the company to be,” Self said. “We have good early adoption of the device, and most of the major hospitals in Houston want to be involved in the testing.”
Once the FDA approval comes through, Nimbic will ramp up production at its 9,000-square-foot facility. It will then go after the $800 million U.S. hip and knee replacement market where 1 million surgeries are performed annually. Self said the market is expected to triple in the next 10 years.
Nimbic will also develop the Air Barrier System for use in vascular and open-heart surgeries, which represent another 1 million procedures per year.
If all goes well, Self predicts the company will have $20 million in sales by 2016, and plan for an exit by either initial public offering or company acquisition.
Jeremy Smith, director of corporate development at Anadarko Petroleum Corp., also made a private investment with Nimbic — this is actually his second go-around as an investor. He has known Self since their days at Rice University. He said if Nimbic can get beyond the regulatory hurdles, the company will do well.
“Their product is marketable,” he said. “You hear a lot about medical products, devices and drugs, and I am not a medical guy, but this was something that I could visibly see how it worked and how the company was solving a problem.”
Meanwhile, Anderson is ready to see where Nimbic goes.
Said Anderson: “We’ll see in a couple of years.”