David Solomon, chairman of Microvascular Eye Technology, creator of the world’s tiniest needle.Some of us have a genetic predisposition to those unsightly red and purplish, spider and varicose veins that surface in the most inappropriate places on our faces and legs. They make it look as though we have a permanent spot on our nose, or a gnarled, embarrassing growth on our legs.
Mainly a cosmetic issue, and not posing any serious health risks, varicose and spider veins affect more than one in five Americans. They are more common in women, and although there is a genetic link, they are usually caused by excess body weight, pressure on the veins when standing or walking for long periods of time, or during pregnancy.
Nobody likes them, and thanks to an Israeli company, a painless and safe way of getting rid of clusters of varicose and spider veins is about to be available in the United States.
Microvascular Eye Technology, based in Ramat Gan, was originally founded in 2005 to treat eye problems. The company created a thin needle, “the tiniest needle in the universe,” says the company chairman David Solomon, to directly deliver therapeutic agents to retinal blood vessels.
Called the MicroCan, the needle is now being put to use in new applications. The company, which is one of five subsidiaries of Micromedic Technologies, a publicly traded company on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, has its sights set on treating spider and varicose veins via the new “SpiderCan,” and a process known in the industry as sclerotherapy.
About the width of a human hair at 60-70 microns, Microvascular’s stainless steel cannula is a needle about half the size of the industry’s smallest – Johnson & Johnson’s thinnest needle reports Solomon, is 120 microns.
Having received coveted FDA approval in the United States, and the CE mark in Europe, Microvascular will begin distributing its product with strategic partners by the end of this year.
The advantages it offers in the aesthetics market are huge: the needle can be inserted into the skin without causing bleeding. Its size makes treatment painless, and it can easily penetrate even the smallest veins. For treating spider veins this is an added value, says Solomon.
With marketing and distribution platforms already in the works with top multi-national companies in the US and Europe, Microvascular is not only targeting the aesthetics market (about five to 10 million needles a year), but also drug delivery in hospitals where pharmaceuticals need to be delivered straight into tiny veins, like in the eyes.
In other fields, Microvascular’s mother company Micromedic Technologies has a number of breakthrough-type developments in the works. The company recently announced a strategic alliance with the University of Florida in the area of genetics.
“We translate their research into a product related to two types of cancer,” Solomon tells ISRAEL21c. One product includes a revolutionary test for head and neck cancer based on two new genes P-90 and P-62.
In the case of Microvascular and the world’s tiniest needle, the company’s business model is based on outsourcing. Founded in Yozmot (Granot Initiative Center), a life science incubator, the core tech and medical team is in-house: “the brains of the company,” says Solomon, while the “muscles,” are outsourced all around the world.