Device for minimally invasive surgery hatched from Yale, supported by CI

Rocky Hill, Conn., May 3, 2010 – Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for technology investing and innovation development, today announced that it has accepted NovaTract Surgical LLC (NovaTract) of Guilford, Conn., into its Pre-Seed Support Services Program. The thirteenth company to participate in this program, NovaTract Surgical will receive business assistance from CI, including help with market and intellectual property assessments and connections to potential investors and other resources, as well as some initial funding.

“I am delighted that Connecticut Innovations is assisting in the launch of NovaTract Surgical, a new, Connecticut-based medical device company,” stated Governor M. Jodi Rell. “Connecticut Innovations’ Pre-Seed Support Services Program is helping to increase the number of tech startups in Connecticut. As young companies such as NovaTract mature and expand here, they will create job opportunities for our citizens and help to fortify our state’s technology sector.”

NovaTract is developing a medical device that will be used in single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES), which are minimally invasive methods to access the abdominal cavity with an endoscope for surgery. The device is being developed based on the research of Kurt E. Roberts, M.D., the company’s scientific founder and an assistant professor of gastrointestinal and general surgery at Yale University School of Medicine.

“We are excited and feel very fortunate to be partnering with CI and Yale to move NovaTract forward. These early months of a company’s formation are the most critical and difficult to navigate, and having such strong partners gives us the best chance of future success,” stated Eleanor Tandler, co-founder and chief executive officer of NovaTract.

The NovaTract medical device will initially benefit patients who must undergo gall bladder removals and appendectomies. It will allow general surgeons to more easily use the single-incision and NOTES methods by utilizing Dr. Roberts’ proprietary and innovative technique, which currently requires such a high level of skill that it is only used by about a dozen surgeons in the United States. Reducing the number of incisions from the typical three or four, to one, results in less pain and scarring for the patient and shorter recovery times, due to the lower risk of post-operative infection, adhesion and hernias in the abdominal wall.

“We look forward to working with NovaTract’s founders and the Office of Cooperative Research at Yale to facilitate the startup of this promising Yale spin-out company,” said Charlie Moret, managing director of business development for CI. “If NovaTract’s product development work is successful, it will offer surgeons a tool that will significantly improve patient outcomes.”

CI’s Pre-Seed Support Services Program helps innovative, high-technology entrepreneurs develop and grow companies in Connecticut. The CI team provides mentoring, coordinates services and provides funding for business assistance that will prepare the technology company for future investments. The types of services that an entrepreneur may access through this program include: intellectual property reviews, technology reviews, business plan development and reviews, market analyses, market entry strategy development and other related services. In addition, clients of the program may receive direct investments from CI and/or its network of allied investor organizations.

About Connecticut Innovations Inc. Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving a vibrant, entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut. CI stimulates high-tech growth by investing in: early-stage Connecticut technology companies; university/industry research collaborations; technology transfer; and, clean energy initiatives through the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. CI also fosters collaboration among government, business, nonprofit and academic organizations to advance technology growth and promotes public policies consistent with CI’s mission. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

About NovaTract Surgical LLC NovaTract Surgical LLC (NovaTract) was founded to develop new, innovative medical devices to address the rapidly growing field of single-incision laparoscopic surgery (“SILS”) and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (“NOTES”). SILS refers to the method of accessing the abdominal cavity with an endoscope through one incision (most commonly the umbilicus or “belly button”) to perform surgery. NOTES describes the method of accessing the abdominal cavity with an endoscope through a natural orifice (e.g. vagina, mouth/esophagus, etc.) to perform surgery and hence, using no incisions. Demand for these methods is increasing sharply due to the decrease in number of incisions required and therefore, leading to less pain and scarring and less risk of infection, adhesion or hernias in the abdomen wall. This results in shorter recovery times and improved cosmetics. For more information, please go to www.novatract.com.

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