Cambridge Consultants provides new surgical experience

19 November 2014

Cambridge Consultants has developed a new surgical tool with which small implants can be deployed in the nervous system, while avoiding nerves and blood vessels. The Chimaera combines preoperative and intraoperative data to identify a safe operative path, and with its sensors and real-time data provides the surgeon assistance to stay on this path while avoiding critical structures. With the new innovation, surgeons can work more precisely, boosting the safety of patients.

Neurostimulation is a therapy that delivers electrical impulses directly into the nervous system to control biological response through the use of an implant in the brain. Currently the systems that deliver neurostimulation are very large that have a whole range of complications that limit the applications. To encounter this, a much smaller device has been developed; a single chip small implant that can also be used for a whole range of new indications. With smaller implants, new devices need to be developed to deliver these devices.

Cambridge Consultants develops new surgical device

Global product development engineering and technology consulting firm Cambridge Consultants has designed a surgical tool that will allow for the delivery of next-generation miniaturised neurostimulators: the Chimaera. The Chimaera is a hybrid surgical and implant delivery system that enables surgeons to deploy implants safely as it identifies and highlights critical structures to be avoided, such as nerves and blood vessels, through its sensors.

How does it work?
Chimaera combines novel sensing with the latest user-interface, control and guidance technologies. It uses preoperative CT scan data to create a 3D image of the area to be operated on, and with the preoperative and intraoperative data it will define a safe implantation route. During the operation, the Chimaera will assist the surgeon to stay on this predetermined pathway as it provides the surgeon with an actual view of the operated area that will be superimposed on the operative plan on a screen. Through the visualisation of anatomical information, the surgeon will ‘see’ at any time where he/she exactly is in the body and where critical structures are. The device also lets the surgeon know when the target nerve has been reached and the implant can be deployed.

Cambridge Consultants - Chimaera

“This novel surgical device has the potential to fundamentally change the surgical experience by giving the surgeon a new dimension of information in an easy-to-use way,” comments Simon Karger, head of surgical and interventional products at Cambridge Consultants. “Specifically, it opens the door to a new generation of neurostimulation implant procedures. And, more generally, it will enable more surgeons to carry out complex operations at lower risk and with better results for patients.


Medicine economic model creates negative health outcomes

26 March 2019

Profit-driven production of antibiotics has held back the development of vital medical breakthroughs, according to a new report. Analysis from a leading strategy consultancy suggests that a change in economic model and new incentives could prompt pharmaceutical giants to develop cures to major diseases, which could be affordable at scale.

The much maligned pharmaceutical industry has long been criticised for its failure to focus on deep seated issues in public health. For instance, there is increasing concern around microbial resistance, with some bacteria now resistant to all known antibiotics. Combating that requires new antibiotics – but drug companies see little profit in the field, and therefore have not seriously invested in it. Another instance of concern is a focus on treating symptoms rather than curing the diseases themselves, with such treatments requiring long-term payment to mitigate symptoms, rather than one-time cures being delivered.

Cases like the so-called “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli – who received widespread criticism when his company obtained the manufacturing license for the antiparasitic drug Daraprim and raised its price by a factor of 56 (from US$13.5 to $750 per pill – underline the failing of this system to meet the needs of society. New analysis from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) seeks to challenge the current economic model and its inherent failures in favour of a model that creates greater social good while also generating steady reliable returns for pharma companies. The analysis appears in the firm’s ‘Aligning Economic Incentives to Eradicate Diseases’ report.

Different pricing model makes cures more accessible

One example is Hepatitis C. The disease is massively damaging to human life, with considerable negative impacts on patients and society. Treatments have existed for decades, which manage the virus but did not cure it. These treatments had significant side effects however, which saw people not complete rounds – which then resulted in expensive emergency care and secondary health costs.

In 2013 a treatment was developed that effectively cured the virus in 8-12 weeks. The treatment has few side effects and works in most patients. However, five years later fewer than 10% of people globally with the virus have had the cure – largely because of prohibitive costs. The ambition to remove this disease and its large negative drag on the lives of millions by 2030 is becoming increasingly unlikely. The issue is cost.

The current economic model used by pharmaceutical companies mean that early adopters pay sky high prices as the company seeks to recoup costs, with the price eventually coming down to levels at which a larger segment can afford to access the drug – before its generic releases sees mass uptake. This model creates considerable initial barriers, and long-term social costs.

The report subsequently proposes a different pricing model that would see the price of a new drug kept at a constant level for its lifetime but have that level set considerably lower than the current model - which is focused on recouping costs immediately. Under the firm’s model, within 12 years of the Hepatitis C drug’s discovery, up to 96% of the population could be cured, at a cost 30% lower than the UN model and with a cure rate almost 50 percentage points higher than the base model.

The PLA scenario has better social outcomes than the traditional model

A change in model would, according to the firm’s analysis for HCP, triple the number of patients cured within 2 years, reduce the number of liver disease deaths by 60%, reduce total costs to payers by 30% (due to fewer additional costs on healthcare systems), while creating higher and more predictable revenue streams for pharma companies.

“There are many barriers to curing this population, but the dilemma created by current pricing models is one of the biggest,” said Dave Matthews, a BCG Principal and study co-author. The firm adds, “The dilemma results because a high price per patient makes treating everyone prohibitively expensive while an affordable price is too low for pharmaceutical companies to earn back their investments.”

Matthews concluded, “Switching to a population-based model such as the PLA not only makes the cure affordable, but also creates strong motivation to identify, diagnose, and treat as many patients as possible before the license expires.”

Related: Ten year deal activity in pharmaceuticals industry stands at $2.4 trillion.