Fri, 22 April 2022
In this our 700th episode of Investor Connect, Hall welcomes David Narrow, CEO at Sonavex.
Sonavex is a venture-backed clinical stage Medtech company spun out from Johns Hopkins with two FDA clearances. The company’s technology uses deep learning to improve arteriovenous fistula (AVF) maturation times for patients with end-stage renal disease. Despite the fact that the superior method of AV access for the 4.9M patients projected to be on dialysis by 2025 is an AVF, they fail to mature in >30% of procedures and are rendered unsuitable for dialysis. Those that do mature take a median time of 6-9 months until they are used. This results in significant catheter-based dialysis and associated bloodstream infections, costly hospitalizations, and increased mortality. Every additional catheter day costs more than $160 per patient per day to CMS, or $30,000+ per patient.
Volumetric flow rate, diameter, and depth have been proven to determine AVF maturation status. However, the specialized skill set required to operate conventional ultrasound prevents its use in the dialysis clinic, and the additional travel needed to see a trained sonographer limits its use in this patient population. Due to a variety of factors including socioeconomic status, compliance with non-dialysis appointments is 12-33%. Sonavex’s technology enables staff at the dialysis clinic to rapidly collect volumetric flow rate, diameter, and depth in just seconds during existing visits via a bioresorbable implant (EchoMark) with >90% margins and an automated 3D ultrasound (EchoSure) to enable early decision-making and reduce catheter time.
Sonavex has secured a multimillion-dollar NIH grant to fund a large prospective randomized controlled clinical trial for EchoMark & EchoSure, and another NIH grant to advance its pipeline product EchoGuide to improve AVF cannulation. The company is currently raising a Series A-2 financing to support the non-dilutive funding. Comps in this space have exited for $225M - $1.1B in the last three years, ranging from clinical to early commercial stages.
David previously worked with multinational medical device companies to commercialize their technologies and provide long-term business strategies as a healthcare consultant at Health Advances LLC. David earned his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with the highest distinction from the University of Rochester before receiving his Master’s from Johns Hopkins University. He was named “30 Under 30 in Healthcare” by Forbes in 2016 and “40 Under 40” by the Baltimore Business Journal in 2017.
David shares his background with Hall and discusses the differences between Sonavex and other companies in the industry. He advises entrepreneurs who are thinking about entering the space and mentions some of the challenges they may face.
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Music courtesy of Bensound.