Phoenix Medical Technologies has developed the first therapeutic intervention clinically proven to improve tactile sensitivity in the 50% of diabetics who suffer from peripheral neuropathy, a progressive loss of feeling in the extremities. Without the ability to sense the bottom of their feet, abrasions or sores on the surface of the foot can go undetected which, without proper care, turn into larger, more seriously infected wounds known as foot ulcers.
Resembling a Dr. Scholl’s insole, the device transmits a "noisy” vibration to the sole of the foot. This stimulus acts to improve the performance of nerves on the surface, thereby restoring diabetics’ ability to detect small objects and external forces that might cause an injury. Proof of this can be found in the large, multi-center clinical trial that Phoenix recently completed which demonstrated that the Company's medical device was able to improve sensory performance in diabetics by more than 20%, even in patients who had lost virtually all sensation in their feet.
the Company's medical device was able to improve sensory performance in diabetics by more than 20%
But, clinical results don't always translate into real world benefits. Therefore, the next milestone facing Phoenix is to show that the insoles’ therapeutic effect persists when worn by patients during daily activities. To address this last "piece of the puzzle", Phoenix is working with a large European orthotics manufacturer and a prestigious EU academic medical center to conduct an in-use study of the device’s efficacy over the course of several weeks. With a successful outcome from the trial, Phoenix will be in a position to begin marketing the insoles in the Netherlands and other EU countries.
But, getting Phoenix to the 10-yard line hasn't been easy. Like many medical device companies, Phoenix determined early on that the EU was a better venue for its product launch then was the US. Going to market in the EU is a snap if you are J&J or Boston Scientific, but not so much if you are start-up, especially one from a non-European country.
To be successful in the EU, it is critically important to understand the landscape of your proposed target market. The structure and reimbursement methodologies of each country's healthcare system are wildly different. Therefore, finding a local resource that can help your company sort through its strategic options is essential to crafting an effective market entry strategy.
finding a local resource that can help your company sort through its strategic options is essential to crafting an effective market entry strategy.
Throughout much of Phoenix's journey, Founders League has played an important role in supporting the Company's growth. First and foremost, Founders League is a community, not just a place to hang your hat. Whether a solo entrepreneur or part of a small team, keeping the momentum going in the face of unending obstacles is always a challenge. However, being surrounded by others who are going through, or have been down, that same road, is a reminder that whatever it is, it can be done.
And, let's face it, most entrepreneurs are more than occasionally guilty of drinking their own Kool-Aid. So, with a diverse and experienced crew to act as a sounding board for new ideas and strategies, Founders League can function as a reality check to keep one from going down a rabbit hole and wasting scarce resources.
First and foremost, Founders League is a community, not just a place to hang your hat
And last, but not least, Founders League is a whole lot more fun than sitting home alone with only Twitter to keep you company. Whether it's trading war stories over lunch or blowing off the week's frustrations at Start-up Drinks on Friday, Founders League will remind you that entrepreneurship isn't all pain, which can be essential to maintaining one's sanity in an otherwise unforgiving world.
All of which is why Founders League has been the genesis for so many of Rhode Island’s successful start-ups. It continues to be a great place to learn and grow. But, like many things in life, what you get out of it depends on what you put in. So, if you're thinking about joining Founders League, my suggestion is that you come prepared to dive into the deep end right from the start.
Written by Steve Metzger, Founder of Phoenix Medical Technologies
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