January 13, 2021
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Stephen Hawking had good reason to call med tech startup gel-e “a top innovative product of this decade.” The Propel(x) alumnus company is poised to deploy a revolutionary technology to rapidly stop bleeding in diverse emergency, trauma, surgical and even everyday situations. Hawking explains, “one of the most abundant creatures in the ocean has hidden properties that could save millions of lives each year.” The key ingredient of gel-e’s solution is chitosan, a natural binding agent found in the exoskeleton of most shellfish. Med tech startup Gel-e has developed a platform including bandages, gels, powders and sprays that can effectively seal almost any type of bleeding.
“[gel-e] allows patients to receive better care in a shorter amount of time, and also decreases the costs to treat wounds.”
Why though is gel-e so revolutionary that even Stephen Hawking, the renown astrophysicist and philosopher (holder of Newton’s old chair at Cambridge University), is impressed? How we stop bleeding hasn’t changed much in 100 years. First responders, emergency room workers and surgeons compress the wound and wait. This approach has two major limitations; first, it’s slow, and second, it’s distracting. A first responder should focus on getting a patient to a healthcare setting and a surgeon should concentrate on the actual surgery, instead of being forced to concentrate on unwanted bleeding.
However, even the most impressive breakthroughs, especially ones founded in deep technology spaces, face financing hurdles. Capital to continue the development of their solution was critical if gel-e was going to commercialize its platform. Despite the heightened interest in world-changing technology, there can be an information gap that separates investors from this type of promising opportunity. Propel(x)’s mission is to bridge that gap and help groundbreaking innovations like gel-e thrive. Propel(x) aims to help these next-generation technologies in a quick and efficient manner. Dowling, gel-e’s co-founder and CSO, heard of Propel(x) from a doctor he met at a conference in San Francisco, and says a big draw was the quick timing to a close. The platform clearly exposed gel-e to a larger sophisticated investor community and supporting investors understanding of the business. This quick access to information supported a large investment that will help save lives through this groundbreaking innovation.
gel-e is revolutionizing how we will treat bleeding. It’s effective of course, but it also is flexible for use as a nosebleed spray or gel as well as a surgical powder or foam. Anyone, from the ER to the OR and even a Mom, can spray gel-e where necessary to quickly stop bleeding. If it can work in more dire emergency situations, whether car, battlefield or even kitchen accidents, rapidly stop traumatic bleed, precious time can be saved in getting the patient the next level of professional care. In a hospital setting at the completion of interventional cardiology, it can decrease the time to discharge, with current post-operative hemostasis routinely taking 3+hrs. The end result: faster, better, less expensive healthcare.
The idea began with doctors at the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore, where Dowling met John Hess, a former army doctor. Hess was one of the original developers of fibrin-infused dressings at the behest of the US military. Fibrin is an insoluble protein formed during blood clot formation that becomes a fibrous mesh impede the flow of blood and accelerate clot formation. Dowling explains, “providing more fibrin at the site of a bleed was an excellent first generation solution, but like all protein products, fibrin has some key drawbacks.” Fibrin sealants can require cold storage, are generally extracted from human blood and accordingly require complex biological manufacture. Those challenges aside, fibrin sealants are simply too expensive for use outside the hospital and certain applications for first responders.
The impact of gel-e’s technology may be vast, as Hawking anticipates. gel-e recently raised over $3.1M, and was supported by the Propel(x) investor network. The proceeds from this round will support additional FDA submissions, new clinical trials and larger scale deployment of this life saving innovation across the US. They recently announced an expansion of their core team, adding a Head of Regulatory, Head of Manufacturing, and CFO to prepare for commercialization and growth of their product line.
Learn more about this med tech startup gel-e by visiting gel-e.co