A long time has passed since we published our last news article in October 2021, and it’s time to provide you with an update on what has happened since then! We’re only a few months into 2022, and we’ve already accomplished a lot! Here’s a recap of some of our most recent milestones!
Product & Technology
In February, we validated our prototype for laparoscopic access with the Veress needle in a realistic environment! The results were overwhelmingly positive, showing that our device can indicate to surgeons in real-time when the peritoneal cavity is reached. According to various key opinion leaders, this is the primary information surgeons require to perform laparoscopic access more precisely, safer, and efficiently.
However, surgeons want to be able to do more with less and make their procedures as safe and efficient as possible. That’s why our team set out to advance SURAGs first product to be useable for more applications than just laparoscopic access with the Veress needle. We spent countless hours reconsidering product specifications, checking regulatory requirements, and discussing with our clinical partners. We have been successful: SURAG:EasyAccess will not only be useable for laparoscopic access with the Veress needle but also with all kinds of trocars, allowing us to offer support in instrument guidance for nearly 100 % of the instruments used today for laparoscopic access. Additionally, SURAG:EasyAccess will be applicable for Thoracentesis, a procedure where a needle needs to be placed in a hollow structure in the patient’s thorax to remove fluids. As always, we focused on versatility and ease of use while designing SURAG:EasyAccess. We are now preparing for the next stage of testing our prototype, a significant step towards our next technical goal, the Design Freeze.
2022 is also a crucial year for building up a professionally operating company: After we left the university at the end of March, we were hired by our SURAG Medical GmbH on April 1st. This was possible thanks to the further non-dilutive funding by EXIST Transfer of Research Phase II. Subsequently, we moved into our own offices. The office is still located on the campus of the university clinic in Magdeburg, allowing us to continue our close collaboration with various clinicians and our good friends and colleagues from INKA – Application Driven Research! We also closed an exclusive licensing contract with the Otto-von-Guericke-University for our first patent filed in 2018.
Furthermore, we are delighted that we could continue implementing structures to deliver safe medical products. In February, our Quality Management Representative, Thomas, finished a multi-day seminary at TÜV SÜD regarding the quality management standard ISO 13485. Additionally, Nazila completed training on the risk management standard ISO 14971! Both achievements are vital for getting certified to develop & commercialize medical products in the future.
If you have followed us for some time, you already know that partnerships are one of our critical assets, and we need to maintain and extend them. That’s why we are delighted to announce that we have become a member of InnoMed, the leading network of MedTech companies in Saxony-Anhalt.
Additionally, we have enhanced existing and started new collaborations with clinical partners across multiple surgical disciplines, such as pediatric or thoracic surgery. Some of these partners will also become members of our advisory board, which we aim to announce in early 2023.
To add to that, we are working on even more valuable partnerships, so make sure to follow us on social media to avoid missing anything.
Building all those partnerships would not be possible without leaving our comfort zone in the office and being present at as many relevant events as possible:
First, we visited the surgical conferences EAES 2021 in Barcelona, SAGES 2022 in Denver, DCK 2022 in Leipzig and, just two weeks ago, EAES 2022 in Krakow. Participation in these events was an excellent opportunity to learn from well-recognized surgeons about unmet clinical needs, which we aim to solve with our unique technology. Additionally, we could increase our network and establish new collaborations during these events.
However, other events in the last months have also been exciting: At the seminary “Understanding Hospital Purchasing”, we learned from first-hand experience how clinical purchasing departments work and how to support them in solving their problems. Furthermore, startup conferences such as the “Digital Health Summit” and the “Bits&Pretzels HealthTech” in Munich have been inspiring to exchange ideas with other MedTech and healthcare startups. Finally, pitching events like the “Investor Days Thuringia” or pitches to many Business Angels ensured we would raise the required capital to continue our activities soon.
Public relations and storytelling are increasingly crucial in the startup ecosystem. SURAG has already achieved significant public visibility, thanks to its recent appearance on a popular podcast and its inclusion in the April edition of BrandEins, a prominent German media magazine. Meanwhile, our LinkedIn followers have grown to more than 700, many physicians and professionals from the MedTech industry. We are already working on new ideas and strategies to continue our successful PR work in the months and years ahead.
We are also very active in the local startup ecosystem in Magdeburg, which has received a powerful boost with the foundation of the Health + IT Campus. The HIT Campus’ organizes many events to provide a platform for local startups to connect and exchange ideas. We and many others are grateful to have such infrastructure in Magdeburg. In addition to that, we regularly co-organize a startup roundtable for continuous networking among startups from all industries here in Magdeburg and the surrounding areas.
The year has been great so far and will continue with many significant events and milestones. We aim to reach TRL 6 before this year ends and achieve an important milestone!
An event we are looking forward to is the MedTech Summit for Surgical Robotics in early October! In November, we will be part of the biggest gathering of Business Angels in Germany, the German Business Angel Day in Leipzig. A few days later, we will visit Medica to connect with even more MedTech companies that could be interested in our solutions to empower their surgical instruments. If any of you are present at those events, do not hesitate to contact us and let’s meet.
All in all, it’s been a busy and productive start to the year! We’re excited to see what the rest of 2022 has in store for us.