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Medical Mousetraps

Companies / Healthcare Sector May 08, 2016 - 10:06 PM GMT

By: Richard_Mills


In 1882, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated; “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.”

In 1889, Emerson was credited with having said; “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor ...”

Today the common phrasing is of course a metaphor about the power of innovation -‘Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.’

‘Better’ is a relative term. Every business, in every sector, is trying to build a ‘better mousetrap.’ Unfortunately, just like the over 4,000 patents for mouse traps, most are not better, they are just different in some small way.

As far as real mousetraps go there has never been, at least for most of us, a better way of killing mice then the spring loaded snap of the trap caused by a mouse trying to take the bait off a trigger plate. Sure, glue on a piece of cardboard might be an improvement for some who worry about getting their fingers caught (and don’t care about a swift humane kill), or maybe a ‘mouse house’ trap for those who get queasy and don’t want to see a dead rodent. But these are not big enough changes to want to make the majority of us change from the existing, perfectly capable technology.

Most often those who claim to have invented the better mousetrap, real or metaphorically speaking, haven’t - there just isn’t enough of a technological change to force consumers, businesses or institutions to want to or need to make a change. Call it incremental technology looking for a market.

The opposite end of the scale would be a change so great, a technological change so much more efficient, so much more attractive a switch is made without question – from 8-tracks to cassettes, to CDs. From black and white TV to color. From bulky poor quality movies on VHS tapes to slim, lightweight high quality optics on DVD’s. And of course programmable TVs with high def (and movies on demand) came along and kicked the crap out of the DVD market. These examples are all innovations that built upon an existing technology and truly created better mousetraps that were universally accepted as such.

Failing to create a clear competitive advantage, doing almost exactly the same thing as your competition, differentiating yourself by only a small tweak to the existing dominate market share technology is no way to succeed or even survive in business.

When you hear about a company touting ‘it’s better mousetrap’ ask yourself:

Better for who - do people really need or want a better mousetrap? Is this new mousetraps market growing, or shrinking?

Minimally invasive therapy

Minimally invasive therapy is becoming more and more common in hospitals. These procedures are performed through tiny incisions (instead of one large opening) or our body’s natural orifices. Patients, physicians, providers, and payers have wholeheartedly embraced minimally invasive therapy for many reasons:

  • Minimally invasive therapy obviates the need for major open-surgery procedures.
  • Minimally invasive therapy produces much less of the sequelae (a condition that is the consequence of a previous disease or injury) of open surgery procedures.
  • Minimally invasive therapy leaves minute scars versus open-surgery procedures.
  • Minimally invasive therapy results in shorter hospital stays and reduced outpatient treatments.
  • Minimally invasive therapy results in a much more rapid return to normal activity.
  • Reductions in length of hospitalization and the ability to return to work much sooner are economically attractive.
  • Minimally invasive therapy eliminates the need for general anesthesia.

The endoscope is the main or central technological component of minimally invasive therapy. However, the limited ability of today’s endoscopy instruments to distinguish cancer from normal tissue is a well-documented problem.

Visible light, or what we call “white light” has been utilized in endoscopes for decades to guide the physician and surgeon so they can “see” the cancer in the organ of interest and subsequently for biopsy and in the removal of suspicious masses.

However, white light has visualization limitations for all cancer types because white light cannot pass through tissue or blood and cannot illuminate tumors beneath the skin surface.

If the surgeon does not remove all the cancerous growth and a few cancerous cells remain, or does not remove all cancerous cells at the margins, the tumor can grow back and spread or metastasize to other parts of the body.

Another major problem with endoscopes that utilize only white light is that malignant and premalignant tumors that are flat, or very small, may look similar to normal tissues. As a result a physician may not be able to identify some aggressive cancers. In order to be safe, physicians may have to collect random and repeat biopsies as the only possible way to ensure that cancer is not missed in high risk patients.

IME’s mousetrap

Imagin Medical’s (CSE: IME) (OTC PINK: IMEXF) Ultrasensitive i/Blue and i/Red Imaging Systems use white light in conjunction with the Company’s unique fluorescent wavelengths to radically improve the physicians ability to visualize (detect) cancer.

This technology is estimated to increase sensitivity to an estimated 5 orders of magnitude (100,000 x) more than white light alone.

Beginning in 2010, the FDA approved blue laser light to be used with various imaging agents, but only on a one-time per patient basis because of potentially dangerous side effects. This limitation generally restricts physicians use of imaging agents for the O.R. so they can take advantage of this one-time opportunity to operate immediately, if and when cancer is found.

With the increased sensitivity of the Company’s i/Blue Imaging System, the dosage of the imaging agent can be reduced by 99%, which means that physicians can not only perform procedures in the O.R., but they can also screen the same patient multiple times in the less-expensive office setting. The smaller dose of the imaging agent is absorbed by the bladder in minutes, versus one hour, improving the efficiency of the O.R. and the physician’s office.

Additionally, physicians using today’s standard blue light need to switch back and forth between the white light and blue light images, which is not necessary with the i/Blue Imaging System that blends both lights into one image.

The i/Red Imaging System, the Company’s next advancement, uses a unique red laser light to illuminate the cancer and requires no imaging agents at all. This breakthrough totally disruptive technology uses only the fluorescence produced by the body and tumor itself.

The i/Red Imaging System will dramatically broaden the market to all cancer specialists using any type of scopes.

Endoscope market

The global endoscopy market is currently valued at $46B. Imagin will be initially focusing on a $500M segment of this market – bladder cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States and the third most common cancer in men, with over 72,000 new cases diagnosed annually (380,000 worldwide). It is estimated that approximately 577,400 people are currently living with bladder cancer in the United States, generating over 1,000,000 physician consultations per year, and that approximately 16,000 individuals will die from the disease in 2015. Finding bladder cancer early improves the chances that it can be treated successfully.

Bladder cancer facts:

  • Low grade non-muscle bladder cancer has a reoccurrence rate of 40%.
  • High grade non-muscle bladder cancer has a reoccurrence rate of 70%.
  • The average reoccurrence rate for this type of cancer is nearly 50%, which is one of the highest reoccurrence rates of all cancers.
  • Bladder cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat in the US.
  • Bladder cancer represents 4.6% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.
  • In 2016, it is estimated that there will be 76,960 new cases of bladder cancer and an estimated 16,390 people will die of this disease.

The demand for endoscopy as a tool in cancer detection has been increasing significantly because of the growing preference for minimally invasive surgeries, which reduce patients’ pain, speed recovery and reduce the overall costs to the healthcare system.

The other factors that are driving the growth of the global endoscopy equipment market include:

  • Favorable reimbursement in select regions
  • Aging population
  • Increasing prevalence of diseases that require endoscopy procedures


Earlier in the article I said you need to ask yourself a few questions regarding a company’s claims to have invented a much improved mousetrap.

Q - Better for who - do people really need or want a better mousetrap?

A - All of us want, and need, better medical devices, safer more efficient less invasive and less time consuming medical procedures.

Q - Is this new mousetraps market growing, or shrinking?

A -Once established in the bladder cancer market, and within the urology community, Imagin will aggressively move into other surgical disciplines. Also consider an aging western population.

The questions that needed to be asked, concerning IME’s endoscope technology, have been asked and answered positively. There is a need, there is a want, their markets will grow.

Imagin is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a start up business, one having built a truly better ‘mousetrap’ – a technology that is a far superior product then the standard of care currently employed in an almost US$50bil global endoscope market.

Imagin Medical needs to be on all our radar screens. Is it on yours?

If not, maybe they should be.

By Richard (Rick) Mills

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Copyright © 2016 Richard (Rick) Mills - All Rights Reserved

Legal Notice / Disclaimer: This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Richard Mills has based this document on information obtained from sources he believes to be reliable but which has not been independently verified; Richard Mills makes no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Richard Mills only and are subject to change without notice. Richard Mills assumes no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this Report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Furthermore, I, Richard Mills, assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information provided within this Report.

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