Q&A: Spinovations, a Pitch Challenge 2022 Finalist, Discusses Improving Spinal Surgery One Screw at a Time

Meet Spinovations, a team from Mount Sinai developing a screwdriver to enable minimally invasive spinal procedures. Spinovations will be pitching this technology at the annual Pitch Challenge on May 5! This team won the Innovation Showcase on April 20, where the Pitch Challenge finalists were chosen.

Team members: Ian Odland, Tyree Williams, Eugene, Hrabarchuk, Zaara Irshad, and Janvi Patel

Have you registered for the Mount Sinai Pitch Challenge? Sign up today and you’ll hear select teams present their healthcare solutions to a panel of judges for a grand prize! Register here.

Tell us about the technology. What kind of healthcare solution does it provide?

Spinovations aims to create a screwdriver that facilitates minimally invasive spinal procedures so the operating surgeon can plan and execute the surgery to their patient’s unique anatomy, instead of the limitations imposed by their tools. This technology aims to reduce surgical site infections, limit post-procedural back pain, and improve/hasten the patient’s post-procedural recovery process.

What inspired you to dive into this field of technology?

A vast amount of spinal surgery patients face a difficult path to, and recovery from, spine surgery. Many patients experience expensive procedures, damaging surgical site infections and back pain. Our team is composed of individuals passionate about the field: an aspiring spine surgeon, a medical student-engineer with extensive neurosurgical shadowing experience, a PhD candidate pursuing a career in orthopedic device innovation, a MHA student working in a spine pain management clinic, and a MSBS student who has experience in venture capital and conducts research in a spine lab. Finally, our team is guided by Dr. Tanvir Choudhri who has 20+ years of experience within the field in which he is uniquely situated to guide us in improving the space in which he currently operates. Each member of our team has immersed themselves in spinal surgery in a distinct and meaningful way, pushing our collective desire to move patient-centered minimally invasive spine surgery forward.

Why did you get started with MSIP’s entrepreneurial series?

Our team got started in the MSIP entrepreneurial series because we hoped to create technology that could get our innovative ideas scaled. Through the series, we learned to identify concrete value propositions and develop the foundation to support it. The series offers us a primer on how to accomplish our goals, while connecting us to industry professionals who can help accelerate our ideas. We are grateful this opportunity exists, and we look forward to the future value we can bring to patients and clinicians through potential partnerships.

What do you think distinguishes this technology from other Pitch Challenge teams?

Spinovation’s passion and motivation to develop a tool to advance spinal surgery success is what sets us apart. We are not afraid to fail. We strive to keep learning and listen to expert feedback along the way. We believe that, by partnering with clinicians and patients, we can develop technology that helps solve the problems they see in their practice, not the problems we think they have. Each of us has unique experiences within the spinal surgery space and by leveraging these experiences and connections we believe we can push toward a better future for spinal surgery.