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Crospon Sells Through Distributor

Galway firm Crospon has secured its first overseas sale in an international agreement with distribution partner Medical Measurement Systems (MMS).

We have just shipped our first product last week to a hospital in Denmark,” said John O’Dea, chief executive, Crospon.

“We signed the distribution agreement in May with MMS. They are now selling directly to different healthcare providers or hospitals without our involvement.”

Crospon develops minimally invasive medical devices to monitor, diagnose and treat gastroenterological conditions.

O’Dea believes that the company’s flagship EndoFlip product offers significant improvements over existing treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

“At the moment the main treatment for GERD is pharmaceutical and many patients would prefer to go for the surgical procedure. EndoFlip is the first tool to help the surgeon better assess the problem,” he said.

O’Dea, who established the company in Galway in 2007, said the plan was always to use a distribution partner to bring EndoFlip to market.

“We considered working with distributors in each individual country, but went with MMS as one focal point. They have contacts with key opinion-makers in this space, and key early customers,” he said.

Crospon established an overseas office in California in February and plans to begin selling to the US market soon.

“We are still working through some clinical trials with the FDA, but we would be hopeful of getting that recognition this year,” said O’Dea.

The company manufactures EndoFlip at a production facility in Galway, where it employs 18 staff in research, administration and production.

“There is a lot of value in the manufacturing being done parallel to the product development. Most of the manufacturing team have been in place for the last year,” said O’Dea.

O’Dea is a veteran of the biotech sector in Ireland, having established and sold Caradyne, a biotech firm specialising in respiratory devices, before setting up Crospon.

He believes that a strong board can provide an all-important ‘independent eye’ to help guide early-stage ventures — Crospon has as its chairman MedNova founder John O’Shaughnessy.

Crospon secured investment of €3 million in early 2008, followed by an additional €500,000 boost in December. O’Dea said a third and final funding round was imminent.

“We are currently on what I expect to be our last funding round before we get to cashflow positive. We are working on bringing in between €1.5 million and €2 million by the end of September,” he said.

O’Dea said that getting the EndoFlip product to the market had taken longer than  expected.

“We got a lot of clinical input early and learned one or two important lessons. It was better to make the changes then, rather than after launching the product,” he said.