FierceMedTech’s 2017 Fierce 15

Making care more accessible was a theme among this year's Fierce 15 honorees.

When we were compiling this year’s crop of Fierce 15 companies, some clear themes stood out. Genomics. Bioelectronics. Artificial intelligence. But while multiple companies are working to improve the use of these technologies, there runs a deeper current: making care more accessible.

For example, Allurion Technologies is developing a weight-loss balloon that is swallowed in an outpatient procedure and is naturally passed from the body at the end of the treatment period.

While commercially available balloons are effective, the company’s founders said, they are delivered and removed via endoscope. By removing the need for endoscopy and a specially trained physician to perform it, Allurion aims not only to slash the cost and the time required for the treatment, but also to enable more doctors to offer weight-loss balloons.

In a similar tack, Livongo based its diabetes management program on the glucose meter, not the most cutting-edge of diabetes technology, but a tool that most patients use to monitor their disease.

Meanwhile, Cambridge Medical Robotics is reimagining minimally invasive robotic surgery. Rather than selling expensive systems, it is working on offering modular robotic arms as a service. A hospital signs on to perform a certain number of operations over a period of time. And the company will handle the rest—from the technology and surgeon training to assistance and instrumentation.

And Toronto-based Analytics 4 Life is working on a quicker test for coronary artery disease that does not require the administration of radioactive contrast dyes or the exercising of a damaged heart. The device, dubbed CorVista, is designed for use in any physician’s exam room or the emergency room.

The list also includes Saluda Medical and Axonics, which are both trying to improve on current approaches to neuromodulation, and 7SBio and Velano Vascular, both of which chose to focus on upgrading blood collection methods, bettering the hospital experience for both patients and practitioners.

As for Gecko Biomedical, the Paris-based startup hit the ground running with a surgical sealant. But it is eyeing all sorts of indications for its proprietary polymer platform, from adhesives and plugs to 3D-printed devices and scaffolds for tissue regeneration.

We would like to thank everyone who submitted nominations. We received a remarkable number of them this year. Read on to find out what drives this year’s Fierce 15 companies and what they are working on. As always, let us know what you think, and continue to flag any prospects worthy of watching over the coming year and beyond. — Amirah Al Idrus email | Twitter