APOS Medical and Sports Technology Ltd., an Israeli company, recently announced that it has raised $ 8 million in venture capital funding for further development and marketing of its unique device designed for osteoarthritis treatment for knee pain sufferers. Pitango Venture Capital, a large VC firm also located in Israel, made the investment. The VC firm has a history of investing in successful technology companies, with over 120 investments since 1993.
The APOS device is designed to treat knee osteoarthritis by creating multi-directional instability. The device looks like a shoe with two half balls glued to the sole. APOS is an acronym for “All Phases of Step Cycle” and was developed by Dr. Avi Elbaz and Dr. Amit Mor in Israel. Development of the device has been underway for over 10 years.
The APOS device, which contains the semispherical balls, is attached to a patient's shoes. The platform's balls create an unstable gait, mimicking natural walking on uneven surfaces. While seemingly odd, the instability both relieves pain and strengthens a person's muscles. Patients use the APOS device for 30 to 60 minutes each day. As the patient uses the device, the instability forces the patient's body to a proper alignment, reducing pain. Also, the person's muscles are retrained, creating improved motion and increased function. The treatment is administrated by specially trained physiotherapists, and includes computerized gait analysis.
Clinical trials have shown that the device improves the patient's posture and walk, and relieves knee and other leg joint pain. The system was designed around the concept of functional rehabilitation. The APOS device simulates real life conditions, where many current techniques teach a patient to stand in a clinic. APOS 'designers attempted to simulate the way mammals rehab in nature.
APOS has conducted trials that have shown the platform can
* reduce the intensity of knee pain by 66% after eight weeks
* eliminate most lower back pain in 70% of patients
* enhance patient's quality of life by significantly improving joint function
Drs. Elbaz and Mor have seen over twenty thousand patients to date with the APOS device. Half of the treatments were delivered in Israel Additionally, in 2009, the company jointly conducted a commercial trial in the United Kingdom with Bupa, Britain's largest private health insurance company. As a result of the trial, the companies formed APOSTherapy, which is now a stand alone entity that is a member of the Association of British Healthcare Industries.
Dr. Mor, APOS 'CEO says, “The product has several applications. It can be used for stabilization, improve athletes' performance, and prevent knee injury.” The device can also treat knee damage caused by aging, or injuries from sports or accidents.
So far, APOS markets its product in Israel, Singapore, and the UK, where it operates with Britain's largest private health insurance company BUPA Ltd. APOS intends to use the proceeds from Pitango's investment to finance the launch of its device in other countries, especially the US, Germany, and Japan. APOS is currently seeking US FDA approval.