Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

March 12, 2014

Taking an invention from dream to business success

TRAVERSE CITY -- Northport resident and retired vascular surgeon Arne Landé invented a device he believes could change the way diabetics track blood sugar and receive doses of life-saving insulin.

He created an artificial pancreas that would be worn on a diabetic patient’s arm and connect directly to a vein to constantly monitor blood sugar and disburse insulin when needed. Landé said it would be more accurate than the traditional finger-prick method, which relies on old data and gives a delayed response.

He’s patented the project, and now Landé, 82, is left with a big hurdle – taking the artificial pancreas from dream to business success.

“I kind of feel like I have an obligation to the world to get these things done,” Landé said. “These are huge problems that I think for years have been addressed in the wrong way.”

Peter Wilk is a New York surgeon known for his medical inventions. He has more than 300 patents, and said that while few patents end up reaching the market, the chance an individual patent has to become a consumer product depends on the idea.

“Diabetes (technology) is a very good thing to invent,” Wilk said. “You’re dealing with an enormous market. If it’s a good invention, he may easily be able to find people to bring it forward.”

Wilk’s patents have turned into inventions like the da Vinci robotic surgery system, a self-locking suture, a portable ultrasound machine and more. His inventions have spawned companies and departments within major companies like Johnson and Johnson.

“To develop an artificial pancreas would certainly mean forming a company and getting that company off the ground, hiring a CEO and a whole staff, then getting funding, which for an artificial pancreas would probably involve millions of dollars, then getting FDA approval,” Wilk said.

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