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vBloc Therapy

EnteroMedics update on vBloc trained centers and physicians

Fifteen centres certified and nineteen physicians trained as of the end of the first quarter of 2015
Scott A Shikora has been named Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of EnteroMedics

EnteroMedics has announced that 15 centres have been certified and 19 physicians were trained in implanting and administering vBloc Therapy as of the end of the first quarter of 2015, supporting the company's goal of training 20-25 vBloc Therapy centres and physicians by the end of 2015. EnteroMedics' bariatric centre selection, training and certification process follows a defined protocol that includes rigorous centre qualification criteria and didactic and surgical training. Once the centre criteria are met, the company's field staff trains the surgeon and staff on vBloc Therapy, theory of operation, and programme implementation.  This is followed by procedure and system operation training and one or two supervised surgeries, after which the surgeon is certified. 

"Since receiving approval for vBloc Therapy in mid-January, we have been focused on identifying and training centers and physicians in key self-pay markets then working to integrate vBloc Therapy into their accounting and quality-assurance systems, a process  that can take 2-3 months per centre," said Brad Hancock, Chief Commercial Officer of EnteroMedics.  "In parallel, we have been developing materials and programs to support patient access to vBloc Therapy, including a partnership with a healthcare lending company, American HealthCare Lending, as well as hosting well-attended patient webinars to educate patients on vBloc Therapy and building resources to help patients navigate their insurance programmes.  These efforts have put us on track to begin US commercial implants this quarter."

The company recently announced that it has entered into a partnership with American HealthCare Lending to provide funding for patient access to vBloc Therapy, delivered via the Maestro Rechargeable System, for the treatment of obesity.

"American HealthCare Lending is known for providing innovative, affordable and patient-friendly financing options for healthcare-related expenditures," said Hancock. "This partnership will not only allow broader patient access to vBloc Therapy, but will also be an important resource to physicians in helping their patients gain access to this first-of-its-kind weight loss option."

Separately, Dr Scott A Shikora has been named Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of EnteroMedics, effective June 1, 2015.  In this role, he will lead the company's medical affairs, clinical and regulatory functions, he had previously served as EnteroMedics' Consulting Chief Medical Officer. 

"Dr Shikora brings extensive experience in bariatric and metabolic surgery, as well as  neuromodulation and clinical development expertise that will be invaluable to our clinical, research and commercial development of vBloc Therapy," said Dr Mark B Knudson, President and Chief Executive Officer of EnteroMedics Inc. "We are delighted to welcome someone with Scott's skill, reputation and acumen to the executive leadership team as we continue to execute our ongoing clinical and commercial strategies."

"vBloc Therapy is a game-changing obesity treatment that offers physicians an effective and unique way to deliver meaningful and durable weight loss using the safest surgical device option available," said Dr Shikora. "I am pleased to be formally joining EnteroMedics as we embark on realizing the full potential of this first of its kind therapy for both patients and payers."

"The strong reception of vBloc Therapy by patients, centres and physicians has reinforced our belief that this first-of-its-kind treatment option fills the gap that exists between behaviour modification or pharmaceutical options and anatomy altering and restricting surgery," added Knudson.  "We are pleased with the progress we have made with qualifying and training centres in the first quarter.  We believe we have a solid pipeline of patients, physicians and centres to support our goals during this initial, controlled phase of our commercialization rollout in 2015 and look forward to providing additional updates on our progress as the year unfolds."

Shikora has over 20 years of experience in the field of obesity and he is currently an Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.  Prior to that, Scott worked at Tufts Medical Center in Boston for over 16 years, where he was the Director of the Weight and Wellness Center, and Chief of the divisions of Bariatric and General Surgery.  He is a member of several medical societies and was active in leadership in the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition where he is a past president and former board member.  He is past president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and a former Executive Council member. Shikora is also Editor-in-Chief of Obesity Surgery and an Associate Editor of the surgical journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 

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