Xact Medical, a new company launched by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center will work toward commercializing the Fast Intelligent Needle Delivery (FIND) system — using robotics and ultrasound to guide and insert a needle into a patient’s body.

Needle placement is especially difficult with pediatric patients, whose veins are very small. FIND is meant to help clinicians perform precise, quick and convenient placement of a needle point, significantly improving the odds of success on the first try.

“The fact that up to a third of central placement attempts in kids fail on the first try is unacceptable to us,” says Dr. Daniel von Allmen, surgeon-in-chief at Cincinnati Children’s. “This technology can drastically reduce patient discomfort and procedure time while improving outcomes for children and adults.”

Invented and developed as part of a 2012 deal between the two institutions to create three devices for unmet needs in pediatric medicine, the needle-guiding device began with a back-of-the-napkin sketch and quickly progressed to prototype stage.

The FIND prototype device. Photo: courtesy

Xact Medical technical adviser Prof. Hugo Guterman of BGU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering worked with von Allmen on the project.

“The launch of Xact Medical and the development of this technology is a great testament to our partnership with Cincinnati Children’s leading to healthcare advances,” said Netta Cohen, chief executive officer of BGN Technologies, BGU’s technology transfer company. “We believe Xact is the first of many high-impact innovations to emerge from this collaboration.”

Xact Medical will initially focus on central line placements in pediatric and adult patients with plans to expand into additional markets, such as biopsy. Immediate next steps for the company include further testing and market research of its prototype, working toward approval by the US Food and Drug Administration.

“I believe this technology has significant potential to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs to the healthcare system,” said Andrew Cothrel, chief executive officer of Xact.

Initial investors in Xact Medical include Cincinnati Children’s and CincyTech.