Art Medical gets $20M for smart intubation devices

By Heather Mack
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Israel and Palo Alto-based Art Medical, developers of smart intubation devices for use in intensive care, has raised $20 million in a round led by Advanced Medical Technologies.

The funding comes at the same time as the company’s official transition out of stealth mode. Founded in 2009, Art Medical previously raised $7 million from a combination of funding from the Israel Innovation Authority and Bill Gates’ Grand Challenge. In the eight years since founding, the company has been working on a suite of connected, sensor-laden tubes to continuously monitor for complications and collect data of patients in the ICU.

The primary aim of the FDA-cleared devices is to mitigate the dangerous complications that can arise from intubation devices. Tube-related reflux and secretion can cause acute kidney injury or aspiration- or ventilator-associated pneumonia, both serious complications that can lengthen hospital stays and even be fatal.

Currently, ICU nurses and doctors must monitor for such complications, but due to the constant nature of intubation, the risk is always there. As a result, many time-sensitive abnormalities can go unnoticed, meaning the complication rate is high: 25 percent of ICU patients develop ventilator-associated pneumonia, and nearly half of those patients never recover. Another 50 percent of patients who are admitted to an ICU and stay more than 24 hours end up with an acute kidney injury.

That’s where Art Medical comes in. The disposable sensor-enabled tubes (known as smART tubes) offer continuous monitoring of gastric reflux, saliva and urine output and automatically alert the attending clinician of any abnormalities via a console-based dashboard. Along with watching for complications or infection, the smart feeding tubes can help offset the high rates of inaccurate calculating of a patient’s nutritional needs.

“One of the challenges for the ICU staff is patients’ prolonged length of stay and mortality from complications which are unrelated to the original reason of hospitalization,” Art Medical founder and CEO, Liron Elia, said in a statement. “Aspiration of foreign materials is a major risk for intubated patients and technology is what is needed to solve this problem.”

Art Medical’s platform has received the CE Mark and FDA clearance and is now part of several clinical studies underway at hospitals around the country.