“Cut until it bleeds” is the rather crude and most effective treatment available to surgeons trying to debride deep infections occurring after orthopedic implant procedures and in people with infected diabetic foot ulcers. XTremedy’s mission is to successfully treat—and potentially prevent—surgical deep-tissue infections with pulsed field ablation.
The benefits of pulsed field ablation (PFA) have created a lot of buzz in the cardiovascular and oncology arenas. PFA creates electrical fields that selectively destroy certain cell types by electroporation, while leaving macro structures like bone and blood vessels intact. Now, XTremedy Medical is the first to carve out a commercial opportunity in applying this ablative modality to surgical deep-tissue infections.
The company was officially founded in Galway in 2020, but was conceived in 2018, within Ireland’s BioInnovate Fellowship. Participants of BioInnovate, the mission of which is to develop medtech innovators, begin with a thorough investigation of a particular clinical space, to identify important problems that can be solved with technology. Fellows then develop the solution to their validated problem.
During their BioInnovate experience, Lyn Markey, PhD, now XTremedy’s CEO, and Camille O’Malley (chief technology officer of the start-up) were assigned to orthopedics. In discussions with surgeons, they uncovered a relatively uncommon, but desperate complication of arthroplasty: postsurgical prosthetic joint infection. “We were struck by the amount of patient suffering attached to it,” says Markey, not to mention the costs of treating the patients, which can be double and triple of those of uninfected implant patients. These infections are also very common in foot ulcers and are equally difficult to treat, since the infection will require patients to undergo two or three surgeries and spend eight to 18 days in the hospital and will result in amputations in 10-20% of patients.