Next weekend, thousands will participate in one of Philadelphia's most popular races, the 10-mile Broad Street Run. Chief among their goals will be to reach the finish line at the Navy Yard having done no damage to knees, hips, and ankles.
The next day, Jeffrey O'Donnell will be at work, where diagnosing and treating such injuries faster and less expensively is the objective of his five-year-old King of Prussia start-up, Trice Medical. The company of 35 employees and $21 million in venture capital has developed mi-eye 2, a hypodermic needle with a small camera tethered to a Microsoft Surface tablet. With some numbing, it can be used on an orthopedic patient on an initial visit to the doctor to diagnose, for instance, a torn ACL or meniscus without the need for an MRI.
The mi-eye 2 costs about one-third what an MRI costs (reimbursement varies greatly throughout the country) and does not require a trip to a hospital or imaging facility, O'Donnell said. FDA-approved and on the market since the first quarter of 2017, mi-eye 2 has been used more than 3,000 times, primarily on shoulders and knees, with more than 10,000 procedures projected by the end of the year, he said.
That's the sort of success most new enterprises can only dream of, and the kind Philadelphia Media Network hopes to propel others into with its second Stellar StartUps competition as the city attempts to grow its reputation as fertile ground for emerging companies.
It's also why what O'Donnell said about his future plans should be a psychological boost to the local start-up community: "I'm here to stay."