Colorado Companies to Watch 2016: Medical disruptors
Companies like Kindara, Allison Medical and Silvergate Pharmaceuticals move into new territory
Here are the medical disruptors named in Colorado Companies to Watch's class of 2016:
What the company does: Gives women the tools, knowledge and support to understand how their fertility works, take ownership of their reproductive health and meet their fertility goals.
Founded by now husband-and-wife team Will Sacks and Kati Bicknell, the company had created the Kindara Fertility app to help women track their fertility but was struggling with how to monetize it. Sacks read Steve Job’s biography and realized that the right path was his original vision of a seamless fertility charting system using a connected thermometer and sophisticated app: Thus, Wink was born. Wink by Kindara is a Bluetooth basal thermometer that allows women to seamlessly track their fertility data with greater ease and accuracy, making it equally useful for women to want to become pregnant and those who don’t.
“It’s really effective (as contraception) if you do it right, but you need to have the right tools,” Bicknell says, “which is why we built this.”
The company believes the future of medicine is going to be based around the consumer rather than the practitioner and points with pride to the more than one million women who use their app and the 120 women who become pregnant each day as a result.
The culture connection: As a mission-based organization, the entire team is made up of people who care passionately about helping women manage their own reproductive health. Kindara has no set vacation policy, trusting its employees to take the time they need away from work and come back refreshed.
Allison Medical, Inc.
What the company does: Allison Medical develops and manufactures disposable medical products for the diabetes and hospital markets.
Allison Medical started life as a rubber components manufacturer, but the company’s leaders wanted a branded, finished product to take to market. Research showed that veterinarians didn’t have access to the kinds of needles and syringes they needed, and Allison Medical stepped into the void. From there, the company moved into human diabetic supplies, starting with syringes and pen needles. Today, its SureComfort line is the third-largest brand of insulin syringes.
In the future: The company recently launched an oncology safety product in line with its focus on redefining drug delivery. The goal is a new type of syringe that will decrease the number of connections necessary to deliver drugs through an IV, thereby saving time for the person administering the drug while reducing the chance of patient infection.
The culture connection: Management at Allison Medical has a philosophy of “family first”, which encourages employees to do a good job during business hours, but also allows time and flexibility for family activities and personal lives.
Giving back: The company currently supports seven children in six different countries through Compassion International.
Base: Greenwood Village
What the company does: Formulates, develops and markets FDA-approved products that are FDA approved for kids.
Silvergate is an industry leader in the development of products to fill the unmet needs of pediatric patients. Before Silvergate, pharmacists were required to manually manipulate adult doses into doses appropriate for small patients. Now physicians and pharmacists have an FDA-approved product consistent from pharmacy to pharmacy and patient to patient. Physicians can titrate the dose with confidence based on patient weight or as the patient needs change.
The culture connection: Every employee is focused on “our kids” as they interact with pharmacists and physicians across the country to develop future products based on their input and needs.
Down the road: Silvergate currently has one product on the market, Epaned, for use in pediatric hypertension and heart failure; three additional products pending approval this year and five other products under development.
Littleton Equine Medical Center
What the company does: A full-service equine veterinary clinic.
The company was only the seventh site in the world to a have an MRI that can be used on a standing horse, and the 15th in the world doing MRI’s on horses with standing or anesthetized magnets. This technology has revolutionized the diagnosis of many issues, particularly lameness in horses’ feet.
“Culturally and in business, we feel more akin with state of the art, not cutting edge,” President Kelly Tisher says. “Taking the best care of our equine patients is to make sure we are using state of the art, defined by some proof of outcome, versus cutting edge treatments or diagnostics yet to be proven.”
Down the road: The clinic is awaiting the arrival of a robotic system that performs multiple imaging tasks, including the ability to do standing CT scan.
Neuro Assessment Systems
What the company does: The company’s proprietary system uses advanced analysis algorithms to assess changes in central nervous system (CNS) function.
NeuroScreen is a neuro assessment tool that can be used by physicians for concussion assessment and to aid the diagnosis of other CNS disorders. Pharmaceutical companies use NeuroScreen during clinical trials to predict outcome behavior and to provide a biomarker of CNS effects.
Game-changers: The company launched a long-term strategic collaboration with Pfizer, Inc. to use NAS NeuroScreen technology to evaluate the effectiveness of CNS drug therapy. It recently completed a contract with the Mayo Clinic to collaborate on Concussion Assessment Research.
Defining innovation: NAS goes beyond subjective methods, such as asking patients about pain or testing memory, instead using its affordable, rapid-result technology that takes non-invasive electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements to extract event-related potentials (ERPs). These novel ERP measures are obtained by repeatedly stimulating the brain with a specific task and measuring the brain’s response to obtain a stable measure. It can then be used to assess changes in brain function across a wide variety of brain health issues, from acute events such as concussions and stroke to long-term issues like depression and Alzheimer’s disease.