S1E8: 'Meet the Innovators' - Dr. Brian Courtney, Co-founder & CEO, Conavi Medical

“Conavi: Completing the Picture for Intravascular Imaging”

By Kayleen Brown, Executive Editor, MedTech Strategist Broadcasting Network


Meet Brian Courtney, MD. Brian is Co-founder and CEO of Conavi Medical Inc., a Toronto-based commercial-stage medical device company developing image guidance technologies for use in minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures. The market demand for image guidance is growing significantly due to a clear trend toward more minimally invasive approaches, and as Brian adds, “the paradigm of image guidance is one of the themes within personalized and precision medicine that is getting a fair amount of attention around the world.” Brian sees Conavi Medical as a soon-to-be cornerstone in the image guidance space with the objective “to make procedures that are established or emerging safer, faster, and with better outcomes.”

Brian, influenced by his technophile father, “wanted to do something that had some social good,” so he combined a successful clinical practice as an interventional cardiologist with his technical skills as a computer engineer and then “started designing medical devices.”

In 2007, Brian and Co-founder and CTO Aman Thind, PhD,  realized the importance of clinical, academic, government, and industry partnerships to develop critically necessary medical technologies, so decided to start a company with these partnerships as its foundation. Next, they “took a look at the competitive landscape and did a little bit of forecasting of where [they] would end up in terms of intellectual property and strategic advantage.” Finally, the duo locked on to image guidance and determined a clear advantage: “the development and the regulatory pathways, and the overall expense to introduce the technology is a little bit lower than would it would be for a new therapy.” “So,” Brian concludes, “it overcomes the issue of having to establish reimbursement in most jurisdictions.”

Intravascular coronary imaging is currently limited to intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) or Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), and separately, each provides an incomplete picture to the physician. Conavi Medical tackles this unmet clinical need with the world’s first intravascular imaging system Novasight Hybrid, which enables simultaneous imaging of coronary arteries with both IVUS and OCT. The system marries the resolution and contrast of OCT with the larger field of view of IVUS, ultimately resulting in a more robust and clinically-significant image.

Hot on the heels of Conavi’s first product, is the Foresight ICE system, which by using a single ultrasound imaging element can be manufactured at a lower cost and with both side and forward-viewing, provides a 360-degree field.  The system can also image in both 2D and 3D and is equipped with color Doppler to visualize blood flow and measurements. Both products have received 510(k) clearance are currently being used in the clinic.

After being selected as a finalist for the 2018 MedTech Innovator International Pitch Event & Stage Competition, which took place last April at MedTech Strategist’s Innovation Summit Dublin, Ireland, a global medical device investment and networking conference, Conavi Medical is well on its way to making a global impact. With the support of the industry and other partnerships, Brian maintains, “we are structuring ourselves to be an international developer and supplier of image guidance technologies.” He continues, “we are very thankful to partner with a premier [firm] in Japan and a premier [firm] in China to distribute our technologies and to manage our regulatory affairs in those jurisdictions.” With their first in-man clinical study coming soon in Canada, international success is closer than ever.

 From the entire MedTech Strategist team, we offer Brian and the Conavi Medical team congratulations and best of luck!


Author’s Note: MedTech Innovator is the premier nonprofit start-up accelerator in the medical technology industry.

Have comments on this post, or suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover in the Community Blog? Email us: blog@medtechstrategist.com.

Further Reading in MedTech Strategist:

  • “Technologies to Watch in 2018, Part 1 & 2” by MedTech Strategist’s Editorial Team

  • Start-Ups To Watch – Augmented Reality in Cardiology: “SentiAR: Intraprocedural, Real-Time Augmented Reality Enhances Catheter Ablation,” by Mary Stuart

  • Start-Ups To Watch: Diagnostic Imaging – “Infervision: Applying Deep-Learning AI to Imaging Scans to Improve Disease Detection,” by Mary Thompson

  • Start-Ups To Watch—“Genetesis: NonInvasive Heart Imaging Improves Process of Chest Pain Triage,” by Mary Stuart

  • Start-Ups To Watch—”Arterys: Smart MRI Software is Radiologists’ New Best Friend,” by Colin Miller

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