Richard (Rick) Mills
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As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information
In 1882, Ralph Waldo Emerson stated; “If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.”
In 1889, Emerson was credited with having said; “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor ...”
Today the common phrasing is of course a metaphor about the power of innovation - ‘Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.’
‘Better’ is a relative term. Every business, in every sector, is trying to build a ‘better mousetrap.’ Unfortunately, just like the over 4,000 patents for mouse traps, most are not better, they are just different in some small way.
As far as real mousetraps go there has never been, at least for most of us, a better way of killing mice then the spring loaded snap of the trap caused by a mouse trying to take the bait off a trigger plate. Sure, glue on a piece of cardboard might be an improvement for some who worry about getting their fingers caught (and don’t care about a swift humane kill), or maybe a ‘mouse house’ trap for those who get queasy and don’t want to see a dead rodent. But these are not big enough changes to want to make the majority of us change from the existing, perfectly capable technology.
Most often those who claim to have invented the better mousetrap, real or metaphorically speaking, haven’t - there just isn’t enough of a technological change to force consumers, businesses or institutions to want to or need to make a change. Call it incremental technology looking for a market.
The opposite end of the scale would be a change so great, a technological change so much more efficient, so much more attractive a switch is made without question – from 8-tracks to cassettes, to CDs. From black and white TV to color. From bulky poor quality movies on VHS tapes to slim, lightweight high quality optics on DVD’s. And of course programmable TVs with high def (and movies on demand) came along and kicked the crap out of the DVD market. These examples are all innovations that built upon an existing technology and truly created better mousetraps that were universally accepted as such.
Failing to create a clear competitive advantage, doing almost exactly the same thing as your competition, differentiating yourself by only a small tweak to the existing dominate market share technology is no way to succeed or even survive in business.
When you hear about a company touting ‘it’s better mousetrap’ ask yourself:
Better for who - do people really need or want a better mousetrap? Is this new mousetraps market growing, or shrinking?
Minimally invasive therapy
Minimally invasive therapy is becoming more and more common in hospitals. These procedures are performed through tiny incisions (instead of one large opening) or our body’s natural orifices. Patients, physicians, providers, and payers have wholeheartedly embraced minimally invasive therapy for many reasons:
- Minimally invasive therapy obviates the need for major open-surgery procedures.
- Minimally invasive therapy produces much less of the sequelae (a condition that is the consequence of a previous disease or injury) of open surgery procedures.
- Minimally invasive therapy leaves minute scars versus open-surgery procedures.
- Minimally invasive therapy results in shorter hospital stays and reduced outpatient treatments.
- Minimally invasive therapy results in a much more rapid return to normal activity.
- Reductions in length of hospitalization and the ability to return to work much sooner are economically attractive.
- Minimally invasive therapy eliminates the need for general anesthesia.
The endoscope is the main or central technological component of minimally invasive therapy. However, the limited ability of today’s endoscopy instruments to distinguish cancer from normal tissue is a well-documented problem.
Visible light, or what we call “white light” has been utilized in endoscopes for decades to guide the physician and surgeon so they can “see” the cancer in the organ of interest and subsequently for biopsy and in the removal of suspicious masses.
However, white light has visualization limitations for all cancer types because white light cannot pass through tissue or blood and cannot illuminate tumors beneath the skin surface.
If the surgeon does not remove all the cancerous growth and a few cancerous cells remain, or does not remove all cancerous cells at the margins, the tumor can grow back and spread or metastasize to other parts of the body.
Another major problem with endoscopes that utilize only white light is that malignant and premalignant tumors that are flat, or very small, may look similar to normal tissues. As a result a physician may not be able to identify some aggressive cancers. In order to be safe, physicians may have to collect random and repeat biopsies as the only possible way to ensure that cancer is not missed in high risk patients.
Imagin Medical’s (CSE: IME) (OTC PINK: IMEXF) Ultrasensitive i/Blue and i/Red Imaging Systems use white light in conjunction with the Company’s unique fluorescent wavelengths to radically improve the physicians ability to visualize (detect) cancer.
This technology is estimated to increase sensitivity to an estimated 5 orders of magnitude (100,000 x) more than white light alone.
Beginning in 2010, the FDA approved blue laser light to be used with various imaging agents, but only on a one-time per patient basis because of potentially dangerous side effects. This limitation generally restricts physicians use of imaging agents for the O.R. so they can take advantage of this one-time opportunity to operate immediately, if and when cancer is found.
With the increased sensitivity of the Company’s i/Blue Imaging System, the dosage of the imaging agent can be reduced by 99%, which means that physicians can not only perform procedures in the O.R., but they can also screen the same patient multiple times in the less-expensive office setting. The smaller dose of the imaging agent is absorbed by the bladder in minutes, versus one hour, improving the efficiency of the O.R. and the physician’s office.
Additionally, physicians using today’s standard blue light need to switch back and forth between the white light and blue light images, which is not necessary with the i/Blue Imaging System that blends both lights into one image.
The i/Red Imaging System, the Company’s next advancement, uses a unique red laser light to illuminate the cancer and requires no imaging agents at all. This breakthrough totally disruptive technology uses only the fluorescence produced by the body and tumor itself.
The i/Red Imaging System will dramatically broaden the market to all cancer specialists using any type of scopes.
The global endoscopy market is currently valued at $46B. Imagin will be initially focusing on a $500M segment of this market – bladder cancer.