With MarginProbe on the market, Dune Medical sees bright future

Dune Medical Devices CEO Dan Levangie said the company plans to grow organically as it markets its FDA-approved cancer tool--courtesy of Dune Medical Devices

The success of Dune Medical Devices and its now-FDA-approved cancer tool device has sparked rumors of buyouts or an IPO, but the company's CEO says it's planning to grow organically, commercializing MarginProbe and eyeing lucrative applications for other cancers.

Back in October, an Israeli newspaper reported that Dune was up for sale, quoting a $200 million price tag, but CEO Dan Levangie told FierceMedicalDevices that the company is not entertaining the idea of going public or getting bought.

"Our plan is to build an independent company and commercial infrastructure," Levangie said in an interview. "We'll do that in a very focused way, building our company depending on the market response."

In the short term, that means staffing up to make a splash with MarginProbe in the states, Levangie said. The device can detect the presence of cancer at or near the surface of breast tissue excised in lumpectomies, reducing the need for repeat operations after breast-conservation surgeries, and Levangie said Dune has already received physician inquiries about MarginProbe after yesterday's approval announcement.

"There's a great deal of anticipation in the marketplace," he said. "It really is the first tool on the market to allow surgeons to assess margins at the time of the initial lumpectomy."

And commercializing MarginProbe is just step one in what Levangie figures to be a big year for Dune. The cancer-sensing technology at the heart of MarginProbe has myriad applications, Levangie said, and the company has produced a prototype biopsy needle that would provide real-time information to surgeons. Dune plans to get that device on shelves in Europe later this year and approved stateside in 2014.

The technology isn't limited to breast cancer, either, Levangie said. Dune's real-time tissue-characterization sensor could well work with other cancer surgeries, and the company has some early data indicating that its platform can do for prostate cancer procedures what MarginProbe does for breast surgery.