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M2D2 Finalists: Meet Conor O’ Shea, founder of ProDural

The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) is in the midst of its 2014 New Venture Competition. After weeks of pitches, fifteen finalists have been announced. These finalists have business ventures that M2D2 has deemed “disruptive.” With these fifteen blogs posts, MedTech Boston gives readers a glimpse of the innovators that made it this far in the M2D2 New Venture Competition.

Conor O’ Shea, founder of ProDural

Conor O'Shea

Conor O’Shea

Conor O’Shea created one of the teams that will move on to the next round of judging in the M2D2 contest. His company, ProDural, was chosen from the pool of applicants because of its true potential to disrupt medicine.

What is ProDural all about? This innovator describes his company in a MedTech Boston Q&A:

1. Briefly describe your technology.

ProDural is a novel, visual device for signaling needle entry into the epidural needle.

2. How does it add value to a clinical environment?

ProDural couples a clear visual indication that the epidural space has been reached, with tactile sensation when the pressure drop is detected. This can reduce false readings, as the clinician may fluctuate the applied pressure to determine when the epidural space has been reached. The contrasting bright surface of the diaphragm ensures clear visibility even in a dimly lit maternity ward. Finally, ProDural may reduce the steep learning curve associated with epidural administration as the bulging diaphragm allows teaching clinicians to visually determine correct placement by their interns.

3. How is it disruptive?

ProDural is consistent with traditional LOR syringes. This is achieved by integrating a visual indicator with the body of the syringe. By coupling the syringe with a needle probe, the device provides visual confirmation of entry into the epidural space by rapid and immediate collapse of an inflatable diaphragm whilst retaining the haptic feedback once the pressure drop in the epidural space is detected. ProDural represents no training deficiency as a proficient clinician can revert to the LOR syringe if ProDural is unavailable.

4. What is your target market?

There are over 800,000 US epidurals administered annually during labor, and a further annual 8.9M therapeutic epidural injections. Overall, this represents a US market opportunity of $80M per annum.  The immediate target market for ProDural is university teaching hospitals, beginning from key opinion-leading institutions (Cleveland, MGH) where the team have established contacts.  The facility to continue the traditional approach to epidural insertion was rated positively amongst key opinion leaders surveyed to date. The respondents were impressed by ProDural’s simplicity, low-cost, and ability to provide visual indication of entry to the epidural space.

5. What are your anticipated funding needs?

The M2D2 award will provide US patenting and IP expertise for the ProDural team. It may also be leveraged as a US base for a UCC start-up entity, facilitating business development and early entry for ProDural into the US market.


Congratulations and good luck to ProDural, and be sure to stay tuned to catch the other 14 finalists winners featured on MedTech Boston!

M2D2 will be hosting the 2014 New Venture Competition Showcase Event on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Novel medical device technologies will be presented, followed by a poster and networking session. The grand prize winner will be announced at the follow up winner’s ceremony on April 8th at the offices of Nutter McClennen & Fish in Boston from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Sony Salzman

Sony Salzman

    At MedTechBoston, we are sharing stories about cutting-edge medical innovation. As Managing Editor, I help coordinate our coverage of hackathons and company profiles. I also create content, update our social media and scout stories. I'm part of an ambitious group of people hoping to inspire a tech revolution in medical care.

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