ACTSI-supported OculoStaple Wins Again

Team members Drew Padilla, Mohamad Ali Najia, and Jackie Borinski

Atlanta Clinical & Translational Science Institute (ACTSI)-supported team, OculoStaple wins second place in the 2015 InVenture Prize at Georgia Tech. Team members Jackie Borinski, Mohamad Ali Najia, and Drew Padilla, all biomedical engineering majors at Georgia Tech, designed the six-inch OculoStaple surgical clamp for the correction of droopy eyelids. The project also won the top prize at the fall 2014 Capstone Design Expo, in which ACTSI’s Research Technologies funding supported for supplies and other materials needed to develop a prototype. 
 
Drooping eyelids, a condition especially prevalent in the elderly, is a functional issue that limits and blurs one’s field of view, making common tasks more difficult and unsafe, like driving. Usually during surgery, the physician must suture the inner eyelid and then free-hand cut away the excess muscle that causes the drooping. Problems with this arise because of the probability of error, in which many times they cut off too much, resulting in both functional and cosmetic problems with a shorter lid. Current procedures are also slow and pose much risk to the patient, possessing also the highest post-operative rates of any surgery in the United States.
 
OculoStaple, the easy, scalpel-driven cutting and stapling device can dramatically improve patient safety and reduce postoperative complications. The Oculostaple clamp cuts away the excess muscle that causes the drooping eyelid, while simultaneously sealing the incision. The device was extensively tested on ex vivo animal models and biomaterial tissue models, the results of which demonstrate promise for both patients and physicians. While it was designed specifically for the correction of droopy eye syndrome, there are also benefits of this sort of cut and staple design that could be applied to biopsies and gastrointestinal, laparoscopic, and ENT surgeries.
 
In February 2015, the ACTSI also awarded OculoStaple $3,000 to characterize, test, and produce bioabsorbable staples, an essential aim for undergoing FDA regulatory approval and bringing the OculoStaple clamp to market. The team also won a cash award of $10,000, free U.S. patent filing by Georgia Tech’s Office of Technology Licensing, and a spot in Georgia Tech’s startup accelerator program, Flashpoint as the InVenture second place winner.
 
“We greatly appreciate the support we received from ACTSI. We are fortunate for the mentorship and resources we have had access to over the past several months to enable our recent success. This support is invaluable in the pursuit of our ultimate goal of bringing the OculoStaple clamp to market to enable patients suffering from drooping eyelids to live safe, productive lives,” said Mohamad Ali Najia, co-founder and CEO of OculoStaple.
 
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