Robot Wins Innovation Challenge! What’s Next?

27 Sep

Dwight Meglan

An interview with Dwight Meglan, Founder/CTO, HeartLander Surgical, Inc.

– By Greg Mannix, VP of International Business Development, LSN

Greg Mannix

Dwight has a fascinating background in robotics. In fact, there are probably not many people out there who can rival his experience applying robotics to medical applications, which he has been doing since the 1990’s in companies ranging in size from start-ups to Medtronic, where Dwight still collaborates. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dwight has started a company, HeartLander, that was the talk of the Exhibit Hall at our past RESI conference because of it’s surprising technology. Imagine a tiny robot that can move along the surface of a beating heart—simulating the movement of an inchworm—to deliver therapy to places not accessible until now. That’s what HeartLander does, and Dwight got so much interest in his little robot that he was the winner of the Innovation Challenge.

Greg Mannix (GM): Congratulations Dwight on winning the IC. Did you make some good connections at the RESI conference?

Dwight Meglan (DM):  Yes, we did. I think we caught the eye of quite a few walk-bys because we had a prototype of the robot with us and were doing a demo. We met a lot of people right there at our poster. We also had some good partnering meetings.

GM: How did you juggle the partnering meetings and time at the poster? You seem to have done very well.

DM: Actually, we were very selective about who to meet with. We are very early stage. But the meetings we did schedule, we met the investors at the assigned table and said “Hey, would you like to come see our poster?”. And we ended up having our meetings right there.

GM: Did you get any traction with the investors you spoke to?

DM: Yes, I think we did. We are following up with several of them, and some others want to stay in touch and reconnect when we have more preclinical data. My focus was to try to get across two things to the investors: one, how this technology will help make the world a better place; and two, how this technology will make economic sense. If they understood those two points, I think we were successful.

GM: Why do you think you won the IC?

DM: I just asked everybody to invest their RESI cash in us. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive!

GM: Sound words of advice. Thanks, Dwight.

HeartLander Surgical, Inc.

The HeartLander System’s new approach to debilitating ventricular (heart) conditions comprises low cost disposables and an inexpensive, reusable controller: 1. Disposable sensor array placed on the outside of the torso 2. Disposable, tethered, percutaneously delivered, epicardial walker with multimodal sensing (e.g., Doppler ultrasound for avoiding coronaries) and insertable needle for saline-enhanced radiofrequency ablation (creates small, precise lesions) or for delivering therapy into the myocardium 3. Control System that integrates sensor data, maps the heart defect, actuates the walker, plans actions, and provides a visualization display screen and control interface for the physician. Our first clinical focus (NIH-funded through animal PoC) is ventricular tachycardia, but the technology platform can be used for myocardial regeneration therapies, ventricular reshaping, and biventricular pacing.

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