Problem-solving has long been at the center of entrepreneurship. The right solutions bring in the right idea and the right idea executed with the right set of skills, creates wonders. Today, the speed at which the technology has been developing is ineffable; and with it there have been continuous innovations in various sectors of countless industries. The healthcare industry isn’t aloof of this pattern. Yet the healthcare sphere, even after the digital revolution, has not seen the amount of development that it should have. There is a lot of scope to improve the health and subsequently the lives of people. All it takes is the will and expertise to do so.
Zenflow is a company started out of the Stanford Bio design Fellowship in 2014 after witnessing the distress of many men who were frustrated with their symptoms of BPH (enlarged prostate), and unhappy with the treatments available. Zenflow is developing an office-based treatment to relieve the symptoms of BPH. It aims to develop a less invasive therapy with long-lasting effectiveness that can be delivered in the doctor’s office with minimal patient discomfort. While its clinical trials are still in progress, the results so far look very promising.
Conquering Challenges since the Very Start
After establishing Zenflow in 2014, the main challenges were to build a device that could solve the identified need, to prove that the device worked, and to secure funding for the company. The founding team of Zenflow addressed that the funding had to come first, before the other challenges. Being resourceful, they pursued all available options, including investor funding, grants, and business plan competitions. One of the biggest early breaks for Zenflow was being funded by Y Combinator as a part of the winter 2015 batch. It turned out to be a great experience. Zenflow leveraged this program to build its first working prototype, collect chronic animal data, and raise a seed round. From there, a team was hired and Zenflow started making faster progress. It started a first-in-human study in mid-2016 and has collected some very promising data. Now, with a team of 15 full-time people, Zenflow is initiating large trials to prepare for commercial launch.
Innovative Products and Services
Zenflow is developing the Spring System, which involves a small Nitinol implant deployed through a flexible cystoscopic system under direct visualization. It designed the implant to provide solution for long-term risk, while avoiding adverse effects like migration and encrustation, issues that plague prostatic stents. The designed device is uniquely made, so that it can push back the prostate while being deliverable through a small, flexible catheter in a simple procedure that is easy for any urologist to learn and perform. Zenflow is focused on the patients’ need above all; always innovating to improve safety, effectiveness, and patient experience.
Compassionate and Zealous Leaders of Zenflow
Nick Damiano, Co-Founder & CEO, is seasoned with his experience as an engineer and an entrepreneur, in both medical devices and digital health industries. He founded Zenflow along with Shreya Mehta, Co-Founder & CTO. She has an experience as a R&D engineer at large medical device companies and has spent four years as a lead reviewer at FDA. Both founders spent a year in the Stanford Bio design Innovation Fellowship. The founding team’s medtech background has given them the practical know-how they needed to get their product to market. Adding to it, their experience from outside the industry and from the other side of the regulatory table has brought new perspectives to their work at Zenflow. In particular, the team takes a collaborative approach in its interactions with regulatory bodies and other medical device companies, sometimes even competitors. With improving patient care at the core of their mission, Nick and Shreya are making their way to achieving that goal, as partners.
Staying Abreast with Changing Trends
Zenflow makes it a point to stay on top of changing conditions in the therapeutic space and market; and thrive to adapt quickly to a clinical need or changing landscape. In particular, its major strategy is keeping the communication lines open with customers – patients, providers, and payers. Addressing the clinical need as well as possible is Zenflow’s top priority. In terms of technological changes, Zenflow has adopted 3D printing for prototyping. With a passion for success, every day matters to the team of Zenflow; and 3D printing gives them an ability to cut their iteration cycle time down to a fraction of what it would have been years ago. It has made Zenflow a faster, leaner, and more innovative company. In working towards their goal, Zenflow has not been afraid to question its assumptions and adapt if changing conditions or new information warrants doing so.
Plan for an Avant-Garde Future
As far as its long-term strategy is concerned, Zenflow likes to play its cards close to the vest. Its ultimate mission is to provide the safest, most effective, most worry-free treatment for BPH symptoms to all the patients suffering from the disease. Zenflow has some interesting concepts in its works, which may expand the patient population under treatment and produce even better clinical results. It also has some ideas that could allow Zenflow to branch out into other urologic areas.