Inventor seeking start-up funding

Aspiring Dunedin medical device company CG Surgical is still searching for a suitor.

Chairman Philip Broughton said efforts to lure a New York merchant bank to take a stake had failed, but an "Australian entity" had expressed an interest which could provide funding for two years. "As one door closed, being the American door, another door appears to have opened." he said.

Mr Broughton said the board was assessing the proposal. CG Surgical, an unlisted public company is commercialising a titanium and Teflon clip developed by Dunedin toolmaker Richard Cathro.

The clip is inserted into the neck or lower back. Also known as a spacer block-and-clamp device, the spring mechanism stops bones pinching or putting pressure on the spinal cord which creates pain or discomfort.

By restoring the width of the cervical spinal canal, it reduces headaches, neurological and nerve function problems, the company claims.

Mr Broughton said CG Surgical had patented the device and was still seeking regulatory access to the United States where back pain has been reported as the second most common ailment and where $US1.1 billion ($NZ1.6 billion) a year was spent on treatment.

Japan is also seen as a market with huge potential.

Mr Broughtono said the company had settled on a final clip design, but further trials were needed which he hoped an outside investor would bankroll.

CG Surgical has previously received business-enterprise grants and was at one stage housed at the Centre for Innovation at the university of Otago.

Mr Broughton said John Galvan, formally the chief executive, was still retained as project manager and the companie's registered office was the office of accountants Poulson Higgs, of which Mr Broughton is a partner.

Strathmore Investments, the investment vehicle of the late Howard Paterson, owns more than 50% of CG Surgical.

Its directors are Mr Broughton, Mr Cathro and David Smallbone.


Neal Wallace

Otago Daily Times, December 2006