Intrinsic was founded in February, 2000 with the identification of an unmet clinical need, one fundamental to the surgical care of over one million spinal patients each year. The need was recognized when the mother of the founder suffered a recurrence of sciatica, and associated pain and weakness in her leg, two years after a lumbar discectomy procedure. She was quickly re-operated at the same disc to remove additional material that had re-herniated through her previously ruptured disc. During the reoperation, the surgeon removed nearly all of her remaining disc fearing that otherwise the problem could occur yet again. It was here when the founder realized what surgical dilemma every surgeon is confronted with, as a result of the defect in the anulus: preserving the patient’s disc at the expense of a higher risk of reherniation.
Intrinsic Therapeutics was founded with this mission - improving the outcomes of spine surgery by preserving the disc and preventing recurrent symptoms. The company has since recruited world-renowned surgeons, scientists, clinical advisors and investigators, as well as leading investors in medicine and an unparalleled management team with extensive experience in bringing a revolutionary product like the Barricaid® to market. The unique characteristic that unites this team is a commitment to the responsible development and commercialization of medical innovation based on a sound scientific, clinical, and economic foundation of evidence.
Prior to Intrinsic, the founder had led the development and commercialization of new medical technology at a major medical implant supplier and was the inventor of numerous medical products. He understood that recurrent clinical symptoms and repeat operations were an indicator of unmet clinical needs, and that unmet needs were an opportunity for development of solutions to address them. What followed was months of research, interviews, and observations of discectomy surgeries. It became clear that recurrent symptoms following discectomy were common, and that new symptoms, such as accelerated disc degeneration and chronic low back pain, were disturbingly frequent problems as well. Many post-discectomy patients went on to additional procedures, some of which were repeat discectomy, but others were more invasive, such as fusion of the surrounding bones.
The founder discovered that most of these problems could be linked to the original rupture in the disc anulus, a hole that could not be closed surgically, and was therefore left open at the end of every discectomy. Unfortunately, like many joint tissues throughout the body, the anulus has a very poor capacity to heal, so once it is ruptured there is an ongoing risk that the nucleus within the disc will herniate through the rupture again, even years after the original surgery. Surgeons were forced to make a difficult choice – remove all of the nucleus to prevent more material from rupturing through the same hole, but risk accelerated disc degeneration, disc collapse and back pain, or remove only the nucleus that had come out of the disc, reducing the risk of degeneration and new back pain, but risking reherniation. The surgeon who operated on the founder’s mother had chosen to remove just the fragment in the first surgery, but had been forced to remove the remainder of the disc in the second.
What if the hole in the anulus could be closed? Then, the surgeon could prevent recurrence while leaving the remaining nucleus within the disc. This would potentially prevent reherniation while preserving the disc and preventing collapse.
Intrinsic Therapeutics has gone on to develop the Barricaid®, which is currently the only solution available to treat large anular ruptures in humans. Following its mission, the product has been rigorously studied, both in clinical trials and in post market registries, providing initial evidence that anular closure may indeed provide an improved outcome for nearly one million spine patients each year, as well as the national health care systems that support their care. Barricaid® is offering surgeons a method to optimize their discectomy procedure for patients suffering from disc herniation.