This Weight Loss Balloon Can Be Inserted and Removed Without Surgery

Allurion Technologies has raised $34 million in new funding to continue growing internationally and eventually launch its Elipse Program in the United States.

08.01.2020 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash
Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

Intragastric balloon placement is a weight-loss procedure during which a saline-filled silicone balloon is placed inside one’s stomach. The weight loss balloon limits how much patients can eat by helping them feel full faster, leading to weight loss in the process.

According to the Mayo Clinic, weight loss balloons are typically inserted during a short outpatient procedure in the endoscopy unit. After putting the balloon inside a catheter, the doctor places the tube down the patient’s throat, eventually reaching the stomach. Then, an endoscope, which is essentially a tube with a camera attended, is also inserted in a similar way. This helps the doctor see the balloon as it is filled with saline.

The patient is sedated for the entire procedure and is free to go home usually within a few hours. The balloon lasts for up to six months and is removed with an endoscope.

Allurion Technologies, a HealthTech startup based in Natick, Massachusetts, USA, has developed a programme that inserts a weight loss balloon without any surgery, endoscopy or anaesthesia.

The company’s trademarked Elipse Program uses the revolutionary Elipse Balloon, Bluetooth-enabled weight loss scale and Allurion smartphone app. The Elipse Balloon is placed inside a pill attached to a thin tube. This capsule is swallowed by the patient during an outpatient procedure, and the balloon is filled with liquid through a catheter that is detached after the device is full.

After about four months, the balloon is designed to open and naturally pass out of the body without a removal procedure. By this time, the patient should be accustomed to eating smaller portions.

The wireless smart scale connects Elipse users to their physicians, allowing the doctors to monitor their progress and offer support in real time.

According to the company, patients have lost an average of 15 kgs (about 33 pounds) on the Elipse Program after 16 weeks.

“We have experienced exponential growth over the past three years and with two billion people around the world who are overweight, we expect our rapid ascent to continue,” Allurion co-founder and CEO Shantanu Gaur said in a statement. “We believe that our focus on a 360-degree consumer experience that delivers life-changing results has differentiated us from the competition and driven unprecedented demand. As a result, Allurion is now the leader in a new category with massive potential.”

The Elipse Balloon is currently available in Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Over 20,000 devices have already been distributed throughout 25 countries.

Allurion plans to submit its Pre-Market Approval (PMA) Application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) next year. In 2018, the startup had completed enrolment for ENLIGHTEN, its trial for FDA approval, in a mere five months

“Our experience to date with the Elipse Balloon underscores its potential convenience, ease of use, and scalability,” said Dr Rachel L Moore of Surgical Specialists of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, in a statement. “Unlike some other weight loss interventions, Elipse requires no endoscopy, which could make it very popular with both doctors and patients.”

Allurion has raised $34 million in new funding through securities financing and a growth capital term loan from Bridge Bank. The funding round was led by Novalis LifeSciences and Romulus Capital with participation from IDO Investments and Baxter International CEO José Almeida.

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