File this under the most disruptive (and obvious) technology I’ve come across in years…
In short, a small team of combat veterans, scientists and engineers are about to revolutionize how gunshot wounds are treated.
Now, in case you didn’t know, “bleeding out” (or hemorrhaging) is the leading cause of death for soldiers on the battlefield.
And some gunshot wounds prove more difficult to treat than others.
“One of our most challenging forms of hemorrhage has been [from wounds where it's] impossible to put a tourniquet or apply manual compression externally,” says Dr. Anthony Pusateri, Portfolio Manager of the Department of Defense Hemorrhage and Resuscitation Research and Development Program.
That’s where the Oregon-based startup, RevMedx, comes in…
An Obvious Solution to a Deadly Problem
RevMedx was awarded a $5-million U.S. Army grant to develop a new way to heal bullet wounds.
And the company didn’t take the government’s cash and develop a magical healing elixir to address this truly deadly problem. Nor did it improve upon existing products – like QuickClot, which uses a coagulant that’s basically sprinkled over a wound to stop aggressive bleeding.
Instead, the company came up with a much simpler solution…
The technology was actually inspired by the Fix-a-Flat foam for repairing automobile tires. No joke.
Of course, XStat is much more high-tech than it sounds…
For instance, the sponges used in the syringe are sterile, biocompatible, fast expanding and coated with a blood-clotting agent that comes from shrimp shells.
The sponges also come with radiopaque markers. That way, they can be detected by a conventional X-ray at the hospital and aren’t accidentally left in the body forever.
So the tech itself is pretty complex. But the way XStat works couldn’t be more simple and straightforward.
Medics place the syringe in the wound and push the plunger down to insert the sponges. And that’s it!
Within 15 seconds, the sponges fill up the wound and apply enough pressure from the inside to stop the bleeding.
“By the time you even put a bandage over the wound, the bleeding has already been stopped,” says former U.S. Army Special Operations medic, John Steinbaugh.
It might not be a glamorous solution. But at about $100, the cost for this life-saving medical device certainly isn’t prohibitive.
And it sure beats the current standard of care… Currently, that involves stuffing gauze directly into the wound – sometimes inches deep – and applying pressure. Then, if the bleeding hasn’t stopped, you remove the gauze and repeat the process all over again.
I’m cringing just thinking about it.
Indeed, the pain can be so severe, says Steinbaugh, that medics must take away the injured soldier’s gun beforehand.
As a low-cost, dramatic improvement to current practices, XStat changes all of that. (Look out, Taliban!)
So what in the world could possibly stand in the way of the technology’s rapid deployment?
Nothing but the FDA…
We’re the Government and Here to Help
Thanks to a request from the U.S. Army to expedite approval, RevMedx is reportedly in final discussions with the FDA.
Approval could literally be granted any day now, which means XStat would be commercially available shortly thereafter.
This isn’t merely about meeting a critical need for our military, either. XStat holds tremendous potential off the battlefield, too.
After all, there are more than 100,000 people shot in the United States each year. In dollar terms, we’re talking about more than $16 billion being spent each year to treat injuries from firearms.
On top of that, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided seed funding to explore using XStat to stop postpartum bleeding.
Truth be told, the far-reaching applications for RevMedx’s technologies off the battlefield are why I’m so optimistic about the long-term potential for the company.
Bottom line: RevMedx’s patent-pending products will serve as the latest proof that simple technology can be truly disruptive. Just ask Patient Safety Technologies (PSTX), a maker of surgical sponges with bar codes. It was recently acquired by Stryker Corporation (SYK) for a 49% premium.
Although RevMedx remains a private company, rest assured, I’ll be tracking its progress closely. And I’ll be in touch immediately once an investment opportunity (via an IPO or fund) materializes.
Ahead of the tape,